The Day The Earth Stood Still - DVD Review

'if Director Scott Derrickson had given Reeves a bit more time to pontificate, rather than jumping to MTV-crowd pleasing set pieces and special effects, we could have been dealing with a dangerously good film'

The main reason critics have lambasted The Day The Earth Stood Still (TDTESS from now on, lest my hands become tired and drop off) is because it is a remake of the classic 50’s film of the same name, much beloved by critics and your Dad. So I’ll start my review with a caveat: I haven’t seen the original.

Therefore, that will be the only mention of it in this review and the new re-vamped TDTESS will get a fair hearing as a film in its own right.

And as a film in its own right I don’t think it’s actually all that bad. Keanu Reeves does his ‘mean and moody loner’ take on Klaatu but, happily, this is mean and moody loner a la The Matrix and Constantine rather than Street Kings and The Watcher. Klaatu is in perfect Keanu territory, with his icey treatment of the human race ideal for Reeve’s wooden ‘style’.

Aside him, Jennifer Connelly and Jaden Smith (who I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more of, him being Will Smith’s son and all) do perfectly adequate jobs as the stock characters of step-mother and step-son trying to negotiate a reconciliation amongst an impending crisis. Of the two, Smith perhaps occasionally wanders into stock ‘annoying brat’ territory a bit too much but then again, it is in-keeping with his character.

The film’s main issue, apart from any minor tweaks here and there is pace. I don’t think it’s revealing too much to say that the major arch of the film centres on Klaatu and his feelings for the human race based on what he sees and hears throughout his stay on Earth. His shift, however, from one side to the other, happened far to quickly for my liking and if Director Scott Derrickson had given Reeves a bit more time to pontificate, rather than jumping to MTV-crowd pleasing set pieces and special effects, we could have been dealing with a dangerously good film.

As it is though it’s still a good, if brief, movie that is ripe for re-visiting on DVD if you can’t make it into a cinema for summer blockbuster fayre. Fans of the original will probably never be swayed at the replacement of its original message with a wishy-washy environmental protection one but then if you can forget the 50’s and treat it as a film in its own right for our times you’ll be rewarded with a surprisingly good outing for Wooden Reeves and co.



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