Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)


The day the earth stood still for me when I watched the movie of the same name. It was as if I watched a movie from the ancient past never mind the new effects brought in.Granted that I never saw the original, a sci-fi classic from 1951, this 2008 Keanu version was predictable enough in the first 10 minutes.

The idea that man is as much a problem for earth as they could be the agent of solution and new horizons, I guess, has been in the minds of many sci-fi writers from all over.Tom Cruise’s War of the Worlds should have taught me a lesson in lessening my expectations of these remakes.

Leading the cast is Keanu Reeves who plays Klaatu a powerful visitor from another planet with a mission of changing the earth or saving it.A big emphasis should be made that Klaatu’s mission is the earth and only the earth; man being the contagion.

The acting prowess of the former Matrix star remains the same.He looks, sounds, and acts the same as he did in Devil’s Advocate, Sweet November, Speed, and much of his movies.That cold annoyingly monotonous voice that he has removed all the mystery, power, and scary quality required in the character if Klaatu.He sounded like a surfer who came down in a glowing sphere.

Jennifer Connelly did a much better job as Helen Benson, the only person ever to understand how best to handle the all powerful alien.Son of Hollywood megastar Will Smith, Jaden Smith starred as Helen’s stepson Jacob. He did ok, I’m sure Will Smith would be proud.

Leading the supporting cast is Kathy Bates as the United States Secretary of Defense.She did her role well and I suppose so did the rest of the cast.

Unfortunately, I never saw the cast as a group or parts of a story.They were who they were.There was Kathy, Keanu, Jennifer and Jaden; then there was Roger Cross from 24 and Robert Knepper from Prisonbreak.And there was the guy, John Cleese, who was Q of the James Bond franchise. I distinctly remember Cleese giving Pierce Brosnan a few toys when he played Britain’s top fictional spy.

I don’t know if it’s fair to blame it on acting, but maybe a large part of it is casting; the other being the script or the director himself.Or just maybe I was just too bored; having had too easy a time to size up the character and the story.

The moral of the story wasn’t bad, the earth needs to be taken better care of.The Happening did a better job in the originality department albeit the ending sucked.An all powerful alien isn’t as impressive as it once was.Helen Benson’s character can be as simple as beauty taming the beast. If you want to be technical you can call it Klaatu devoid of all contact from his own kind had every chance of being assimilated.

It was no challenge at all.

The Day the Earth Stood Still 2008 could still work I think at least for the young, people who are newbies to the sci-fi genre. Also if you are not a critic of Keanu it could work. Maybe. . . .