By Da’Mon Guy
The Day the Earth Stood Still is an extremely disappointing remake of a classic film of the same name from 1951. This pillage stars Keenu Reeves (the Matrix trilogy, Street Kings), Jennifer Connelly (The Incredible Hulk, Dark Water), Kathy Bates (The Family that Preys) and Jayden Smith (The Karate Kid).
The Day the Earth Stood Still is about an alien who arrives on earth to warn mankind of his destructive ways but because of the violent nature of man he decides that in order to save the earth he must cleanse it of its biggest problem, mankind. Klaatu (Reeves) tries to warn mankind of the destructive ways. The movie opens pretty much the same as Klaatu and GORT arrive to a large brigade of US soldiers. After he is shot during his arrival then not being allowed to speak to the world leaders of earth, Klaatu must make his own judgment of human beings. He then bares witness to their self destructive nature. Once he witnesses this, he decides that in order for the Earth to survive, the existence of man must cease to exist.
The Day the Earth Stood Still is full of visual eye candy. The film tries to wow the audience with the updated technological advances that movies have made since the original debuted some 50 yrs ago but it butchers the story. The movie maintains the same premise of the original movie. It even contains most of the significant scenes that the original has. The message of the movie, however, gets lost in the “razzle dazzle” of the special effects. The great visual effects do not make up for what it lacks in terms of the plot. You never get the feeling of Klaatu's visit to Earth. While this version moves him on a faster pace it loses the connection that Klaatu made with the Bensons in the original film. That relationship was one of the key factors of the original film. This one never shows it. The relationship that he has with them is shallow at best. This version pales in comparison to the depth of the original film.
Keenu Reeves gives a dismal performance as Klaatu. He does an adequate job at making us believe that he is an alien. His short comings are the attempt to convince the audience of sympathetic side of this character. We never truly understand what he is supposed to feel when he finally “connects“ with mankind. Jennifer Connelly was equally disappointing. Her role as Dr. Helen Benson was unimpressive. The relationship between her and her son Jacob(Jaden Smith) was barely believable. This role was the beginning of consecutive roles as a troubled kid with a cute face for Jaden Smith. I’m tired of seeing this role for him already.
The original version of The Day The Earth Stood Still had a profound message about conflict, war, and the nature of man. The climax of the movie had a more distinct affect on the audience as we watched all of the technology stand still. This demonstration of power served as a warning when Klaatu delivered his message to mankind. This new version tries to achieve the same affect but those themes are not conveyed effectively. The amount of special effects negates the level of urgency of the climax. As the Earth stands still, we barely care. This movie proves that “bigger is not always better.”