Friday, 2 January 2009

The Day The Earth Stood Still

I quite like disaster movies. Generally they follow a well tried formula.

A calm opening is followed by a sense of unease before disaster descends and then a hopeless situation is rescued at the last moment by a miraculous escape topped off by a happy ending. It all works so well. Your favourite heroes survive and the dastardly villains drop by the wayside. Occasionally a hero also is lost which can be quite annoying when it involves a blue eyed, blond haired cute male although even that is excusable if the loss occurs near the end so that you still get full perving value from the Adonis.

The Day The Earth Stood Still is a disaster film set in science fiction mode and is a remake of the 1951 film of the same name. This remake uses the same premise and even some of the artistic concepts of the original film updated with 2008 technology.

The unintentional star of this remake is Jaden Smith, son of Will, who gives the nominal star, Keanu Reeves, a lesson in screen acting. Admittedly, Jaden is playing a human whereas Keanu is not and I have to concede that Keanu's robotic acting style makes him a competent alien. Furthermore, Keanu's previously unrevealed capacity to speak Mandarin comes as a surprise.

As with most disaster films, TDTESS is best viewed with a blank mind. Any use of brains is a decided disadvantage as it simply highlights the implausible and inconsistent aspects of the plot. The film does contain plenty of technical mumbo jumbo to add weight to proceedings and the special effects are impressive without going too far over the top.

This remake makes do without the typical calm opening opting for unease from the outset and the ending is sufficiently vague as to leave plenty of scope for sequels. TDTESS is a message film that should interest Greens Senator Bob Brown although I doubt he will be adding the DVD to his personal collection.

All in all, quite a reasonable way to spend a mindless two hours but don't waste a beautifully sunny afternoon on it like I did.


  1. I must agree with your advice about not wasting a sunny afternoon.
    Richard Watts went as far as calling this film 'the day the earth fell flat', which I think is an apt description...

  2. This is a film which I kind of failed to notice much about until it had arrived, can't say I'm dying to see it but that may be because of the less than fond memories I have of studying the "Keanu Reeves School of Acting" in Media Studies in year 12!

  3. I was looking forward to this film but following your review I will push it down the list of "must see" movies. I will most likely see it but will wait until one very wet boring afternoon to do so.

  4. My friends who saw it said "Wait for it on Netflix". Sounds like you agree.