You could tell he wasn't Playin' by the look on his Grill

I didn't bother going to watch the Keanu Reeves vs Jennifer Connelly alien- invasion- as- social- commentary joint The Day the Earth Stood Still when it came out in theaters, but I figured it would be good enough to watch on television.
I figured that unless they had some game-changing special effects, there just wasn't going to be enough going on in this sci-fi remake to get me to put down cash.

it was the right call. Don't get me wrong, I'm not here complaining about the acting. I actually enjoyed watching Keanu's detached alien messenger of doom squaring off with the pleading micro-biologist played by Connelly. Jaden Smith's character was pretty awful, but I'm not a big fan of whining kids in movies, especially when their only purpose in the story is to eff things up for the protagonist. all in all, the acting was good enough The special effects were fine also, capturing some of the cheesiness of old-school sci-fi while leaning on typical CGI disaster movie effects.

Unfortunately, I just found the story kind of illogical. This film works really hard to paint human nature in really broad strokes, but also (unintentionally) shows the supposedly super-advanced aliens making mistakes that make them seem like they're not all that smart either (if you want to send a messenger to talk to the UN, why land in Central Park?).
Having said that, I enjoyed this movie. I watched it for the second time on satellite today, and while the holes in the plot get bigger with each viewing (for the record, everyone in the government and military in this movie is a grade-A dumbass), so does my enjoyment of the powerful-yet-vulnerable alien played by Reeves. maybe i have a problem with authority, but I get a kick out of watching him use his electromagnetic powers to escape from capture and leave the countryside littered with the limp bodies of feds, soldiers and cops. anyways, if all that doesn't make it clear enough, here's my recommendation: watch this movie if it's on television, or rent it or download it ONLY if you can avoid watching it very closely... it can't stand up to close inspection. it's great for netflix or cable if you like, but don't pay for it.


mk said...

Brother samax,
Jayden smith's character unfortunately fit stereotypes but was necessary in how they told the story.

The story isn't illogical, it is another hook on the original. In the original short stort, klaatu is the slave or servant of gort, and he displays fallicy. the hook being, since gort is the master, klaatu's inefficient actions are forgiveable.
The issue isn't about knowledge, but wisdom. In the first movie, klaatu has a relationship with gort, and they are here to leave a message to humanity.
In this film, klaatu is here to save the earth, not humanity. He is here to judge humanity and thus relate to gort his recommendation on what needs to be done to humanity. The agent that was here to make an initial assesment like in the original film is "lo pan" from big trouble in little china fame; and, he says to eliminae humans, though he wishes to die with us for reasons he can not explain.
And, it is a great test.
Humanity failed to show respect or show inteligence in handling beings more powerful or knowledgeable than them[the military]. Humanity failed to show kindness towards each other[the train scene].
In the end, Klaatu left because he judged that humanity will not destroy the earth, when he saw the human spirit which the other agent told him about. But, you notice, the animals and plants taken are not coming back. The "aliens" will obviously integrate all the lifeforms they took from the earth which excluded humans only, on some planet.
Central park is the closest place you can land a ship that size near the united nations. And, the aliens want to see if humanity can be left on the earth, so a good test would be to see if humanity would guide their representative to speak to all humanity and humanity failed to do so.

samax said...

thanks for your comments mk.
i never watched the original, and if i have to watch another movie to get the plot, that gets a demerit.

obviously, the aliens were willing to work with the human race, or Klaatu wouldn't have changed his mind. I just thought the plan showed a lack of understanding that was not evident in all the supposed analysis and insight into human nature they implied in the story.

The ship could have landed anywhere they wanted to land it. it never actually touched the ground, it hovered. the other spheres burrowed into the ground, or submerged into the oceans, rivers and swamps. they could have landed it on the roof of a skyscraper if they wanted to.

it's not totally irrational for people to be terrified and violent when confronted with what could easily be perceived as an attack. do you run up on stray dogs? no, because they might try to bite you. not because dogs are evil and violent, but because they will attack to defend themselves.

but i don't have a problem with characterizing humans (and the American government or military in particular) as violent and reactionary, i just thought the film was sloppy about it. the government and military did everything wrong. EVERYTHING. there was no subtlety at all to the power-drunk secretary of state.

it's the kind of overstated point-making that doesn't convince. it will get a "mm-hmm" from someone who agrees with it, but is not stated elegantly enough to be all that compelling.

the aliens could have easily revealed themselves in a non-threatening way. Let's say i've been watching you for years and i'm deciding whether to attack you and kill your family or to be your friend. so i introduce myself by breaking into your house while you're sleeping to see how you'll react. that would say a lot more about me than about you.

as it is, i'm probably gonna get shot. now because i (the alien) am more powerful and smarter than you, i'm not worried about that. but it doesn't mean it was the best course of action, or that you were wrong to be afraid and overreact. if i (the smarter, more powerful party who is aware of you, while you didn't know i existed) was really interested in communicating, i probably should have called first.

but like i said, i enjoy the movie for what it is, but i didn't find it to be that tightly constructed. for all it's high-minded posturing, it comes down to 'might makes right', and if that's the case, the secretary of state's little historical analysis was right, and they weren't any different from us.

Arkonbey said...

While we're all doing long comments:

Your recommendation is a lot like one I gave a friend once. Though, the Nameless Movie was so on the edge of bad, my caveat was:

"...if you happen to be channel surfing and it is on, it wouldn't be all that bad a movie to jump back to every now and then. But, don't pay for it or go out of your way even a little bit to see it."

My friend took that to mean "head to Blockbuster immediately" and left me a relatively nasty voicemail about my terrible movie recommendations.

samax said...


yeah, i was talking to my best friend on the phone after i wrote this, and he slapped down any attempt at assigning merit to this movie. he was convinced that it was 100% garbage (which is affected by the fact that he paid to see it, in my opinion).

lots of my friends (although the friend in question is not one of them) are movie snobs, who's 'superior' knowledge of 'film' has long since rendered them incapable of enjoying anything except sundance/arthouse type movies. so i get my opinion trashed often enough that it doesn't even bother me anymore!

mk said...

:) brother sanax, I like sundance and art movies as well, so you can add me to the list:)

I enjoyed the film for the special effects. I cant stand most remakes anyway.

And, I agree that they made their points not as clear, or at least the points I think they are making.

And, that is where I disagree with you. Yes, klaatu and gort say might makes right, but they are not here for us. They are here for a planet which in all earnests, needs a police person to protect it from humans in reality for it.
Although, I don't imagine the deputy would be dressed again in the johnny pnemonic outfit[from johnny pnemonic to the day the earth stood still, keannu reeves has mostly worn the white shirt, business black jacket and pants, so sad]

samax said...

mk, i can't put you on the movie snob list if you liked this. they ONLY like arthouse films. only once you lose the ability to enjoy movies for what they are can you be on the movie snob list. they would reject your application.

sorry, you're just gonna hafta settle for being a regular movie lover like me. LOL!

mk said...

:) hahaha!
ah well, move over brother samax, I need to sit down and watch this nonsense:)

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