Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

Extremely Trashy

Sorry, I meant to review this last week but it just didn't happen, ya know? I've been working on some other shit and there was just no way. But whatever. I'm doing it now.

Remake of the sci-fi classic has Klaatu coming down from the sky and getting picked up by a bunch of scientists. With the help of a scientist (Jennifer Connelly) and her obnoxious step-son (Jaden Smith) he escapes from those who would do him harm and then goes about instigating the annihilation of the human race. Bastard. Jennifer must teach him how to feel empathy so he doesn't wipe everybody out.

I wanted to like this movie. I honestly did. I gave it my best shot, even telling Mr. Blue to shut the hell up when he mocked its early stages. And though I did think there was some cool stuff (which I will list presently), I thought they wasted it on a total piece of crap.

I mean, the point of remakes as far as I'm concerned is to fix all the shit that was wrong with the original, and the original Day the Earth Stood Still is an extremely flawed film, but instead, they just created a bunch more logic problems.

The cool stuff included: the film opens some time in the twenties in either the arctic or Mt. Everest, where an explorer (Keanu Reeves) finds this big space orb. We are lead to believe that the alien assimilated his DNA and basically cloned him when it came back eighty years later. Although, it does open up the question, why would they do that? Also, they apparently sent James Hong down to Earth around that time too, so... why? WHY?!

The other thing I found cool was how G.O.R.T. (they turn Gort into an acronym for genetically organized robotic techonology or something) turned into, like, this all consuming mass of Nano Robots. They did some cool stuff with that, too.

But overall, the film is marred first by the fact that everything is fucking CGI. Yeah, some of it looked cool and I admit they wouldn't have been able to do a lot of it without the CGI, but it still really bugged me. I hate that shit.

Then there is the script which was painfully bad. I shit you not. It made me wince. I can't think of any examples of the shitty dialogue, but I had a habit of pre-empting what they were going to say just because it was so predictable. This fact was not aided by the casting of two of the least emotive actors in movie history in the lead roles. That was pretty much the last nail.

As much as I like Jennifer Connelly, she really does suck. Not quite as much as she has in the past, but still, it's pretty bad. And why the fuck did they have to include the kid? The relationship between her and him was even more vapid than the Klaatu-kid-Patricia Neal relationship in the first movie, if such a thing is possible. And it's been done so fucking many times. They pretty much just copy-pasted dialogue from other shitty movies. Arg.

Also, though I get why they cast Keanu Reeves (it's because Keanu and Klaatu actually hail from the same planet), he would have made a way better Gort. Unfortunately, the only thing he ever had going for him was his cuteness - he's not even that charming - and now that the skin is sort of sliding off his face there isn't much reason left to watch one of his movies. Although this movie wasn't nearly as embarrassing as The Lake House.

And another thing: the really blatant product placement bothered me. It bothered me a lot.

Overall, I kind of liked the film's attempted pro-environment message, and the fact that they didn't really turn it into a shitty action movie, but they just did that so sloppily it didn't even count. It meant well. But dammit, it should have fuckin been cool. It was like The Invasion. Both are movies which had every right to be fucking awesome - like, you would actually have to try really hard to screw this up, and yet they both ended up being total suckfests. Fuck.


Directed by:
Scott Derrickson. Written by: David Scarpa, based on the 1951 screenplay written by Edmund H. North. Starring: Jennifer Connelly, Keanu Reeves, Jaden Smith, Kathy Bates, Robert Knepper, John Cleese, James Hong!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Moderately Trashy

Re-watched this old thing in order to contrast/compare with the remake and decided to review it just for the hell of it. Yay.

Classic SF flick in which a space dude (Michael Rennie) comes down to Earth for the purpose of telling mankind to stop their violent and destructive ways or else the space confederation is going to come down and fuck up everybody's shit.

I couldn't help but think about Childhood's End by Arthur Clarke, just because I filter every fucking alien contact movie through that now, including Contact, Starman and E.T.. You know, E.T. is just one of the fucking Overlords. That book retroactively ruined my childhood. How appropriate.

Anyway, yeah, it was kind of good to see this movie again just because the last time I saw it I was probably about six and didn't think it was that interesting. Sure, I thought Gort was cool (who wouldn't?) but all that weird shit where Klaatu wanders around Washington was sort of dull.

I find that marginally more interesting now, although now I see all the little problems with this movie (which I hoped would be remedied in the remake, but I'll get to that in a minute). First of all, the kid is fucking annoying. I mean, really fucking annoying. It's sort of hard to deal with the annoyingness of the kid. I hate kids in movies anyway unless there is a really definite purpose, but that little bugger really pushed the limits of tolerance.

Second of all, the people in this movie are way too calm about everything. I mean, nobody seems that phased that an alien came down out of the sky and got a cap in his ass, they just run him over to the hospital and patch him up. I would have expected no less than a vivisection, but, you know, that's why I'm not in charge of Interplanetary Foreign Policy. You don't make a lot of friends that way.

There's this other scene in which Klaatu (cunningly disguised as a dork. Naw, I joke, I actually thought Michael Rennie was pretty hot. But then, I'm sort of into dorks, so...) just randomly shows up in this house and the people are all like, "Okay, whatever". Not "How the fuck did you get in my house you perve?" And, you know, Patricia Neal was way too lax about letting little Bobby hang out in a graveyard all day with this creepy stranger. Ah well, I guess he's just trustable.

Anyway, there are a bunch more logic problems such as, (Mr. Red and I were discussing after the fact) why didn't Klaatu just get back on his ship after he got shot and tell the folks back at mission control to just fucking waste the planet? Or you know, conduct meetings with Earth's leaders via phone. It all seems weird.

But yeah, otherwise this movie was pretty good, wholesome entertainment. Michael Rennie is really cute and there's aliens and stuff so that kept me interested. Also, I still find Gort majorly cool. And shouting "Klaatu Barada Nikto" at family dinners is always fun. Woo woo.

If you thought I was hard on this movie, just wait until I do the remake.


Directed by:
Robert Wise. Written by: Edmund H. North. Starring: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Billy Gray, Sam Jaffe, Hugh Marlowe, Lock Martin.