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:: The Day The Earth Stood Still

The danger with remaking a classic film like ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ is that the filmmakers are virtually trying to remake perfection, a fair task to try and achieve and one that unfortunately the team behind the remake have fallen well short of. While some parts of the new film work well, others drag the film back into the ‘average’ category.

The film still tells the basic story told in the original 1951 classic. Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) comes to Earth on a mission, only this time the moral behind the story touches on environmental issues rather than revolving around The Cold War. The United States straight away treat him, and the large robot that arrived with him, as a hostile. Through Defense Secretary Regina Jackson (Kathy Bates) the army are ordered to capture Klaatu and torture him for information; however one scientist, Helen Benson (Jennifer Connolly) believes Klaatu and helps him achieve his mission. Unfortunately her step-son, Jacob Benson (Jaden Smith) who misses his father (a solider killed months earlier) decides to help his country and work against Helen and Klaatu.

The Jacob character is the first thing that makes this film so annoying to watch. The character has no redeemable features and unfortunately Jaden Smith’ acting performance is well and truly below par, meaning the Jacob character becomes just as annoying as Jar Jar Binks.

The second annoying thing about the film is all the product placement show during the film, including a whole scene that revolves around ‘McDonalds’, this is somewhat hypercritically as the film’s main storyline revolves around making this earth ‘environmentally friendly’… so it was a mistake to get corporations to put money into it. It is fairly obvious that Microsoft put a little into this film as well.

Story-wise ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ holds up, but it is not the big action-blockbuster that it has been promoted as; drama-thriller yes, but the big explosions so prominent in the trailer only make up a few seconds of screen time in the actually film. The dramatic parts of the film do allow Jennifer Connolly new found freedom in her role, but even she is overshadowed by Keanu Reeves who steals the show as the stoney-faced Klaatu. This would have been a difficult role to play and Reeves pulls it off with style.

Director, Scott Derrickson, does a good job drawing the line between the drama and the action to be found in this film, but his work is spoilt by some really poor CGI that literally is a waste to watch in IMAX.

While the environmental message found in ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ is a worthy one, this was unfortunately a film doomed before it was even released because there was absolutely nothing they could do to outclass the original.