The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008, Science Fiction) – 6/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Keanu Reeves: Klaatu
Jennifer Connelly: Helen Benson
Jaden Smith: Jacob Benson
John Cleese: Professor Barnhardt
Jon Hamm: Michael Granier
Kyle Chandler: John Driscoll
Kathy Bates: Regina Jackson
Producer: Erwin Stoff
Producer: Paul Harris Boardman
Writer (Original Screenplay): Edmund H. North
Writer (Screenplay): David Scarpa
Director: Scott Derrickson

Day the Earth Stood Still, The (2008)

Earth is stunned when a spectacular globe arrives from outer space and lands in Manhattan’s Central Park. The American’s welcome their visitor by shooting him and carting him off to be prodded by boffins. After stabilising him, a human form emerges and requests dialogue with the world’s leaders at the United Nations.


This is a barely satisfactory version of a near-perfect science-fiction movie (made in 1951 by Robert Wise) that doesn’t make any sense as Keanu Reeves comes to Earth to speak to the world leaders (though he was misinformed, apparently John Cleese is the king of the world) and gets told he can’t. Without the option of dialogue, he has to instigate plan B (from outer space) and destroy humankind so they can’t destroy Earth. Of course, he SPOILER changes his mind but without reason. Without reason, the story collapses. One critical decision that ’50’s movies understood is that giant robots are brilliant (because we can identify with their recognisable shape). We get the giant robot but then we get a giant cloud for a weak climax. It is good / interesting that the kid isn’t the preternaturally wise, understanding innocent, Keanu’s casting was a great call and the director paces the movie very well but the makers would have done much better telling the exact same story as the original. It had reason.

This movie contains one unexpected gory scene, violence, unpleasant scenes and non-sexual nudity.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.



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