Movie Review: The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

Those annoyingly emboldened tree-huggers of America must be having one hell of a circle jerk over the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still. How lucky for them that another big budget Hollywood production has taken on their cause (The Happening being another that comes to mind)!

But let me get this straight, an alien comes to Earth and instead of annihilating mankind based off of our smugness and nuclear destructive desires (per the original The Day the Earth Stood Still) they want to destroy us because we’re smug and mean to the planet. This is an upgrade?


Roughly the only aspect of The Day the Earth Stood Still that was done properly was casting Keanu Reeves as the Klaatu, the extraterrestrial visitor. If the production team wanted someone who can, without an ounce of effort, remain devoid of emotion, Keanu was certainly their go to guy. He’s eerily expressionless and blank, as I would suspect an alien invader on a fact-finding mission would be.

Trying to pull on the human emotion strings and make the case for our survival are Jennifer Connelly and Jaden Smith. Jennifer is Dr. Helen Benson, a Princeton astrobiologist asked to investigate the giant alien snow globe that has inexplicably landed itself in Central Park and its passengers: Klaatu and his towering, one-eyed robot Gort. Jaden takes on the role of Jacob, Helen’s angry eight-year old stepson. Klaatu, already having a distaste for humans (getting shot at tends to do that to a fellow), finds himself in the middle of Helen’s and Jacob’s strained relationship. Thankfully for the world, their humdrum reconciliation is proof positive that people with disparate backgrounds can come together and love one another. Unconditional love and understanding apparently make good reasons to not mass exterminate a species.

As if.

If I were Klaatu, I would have kept the button pressed that put the alien’s impressive destruction plan into motion and sat back with a feeling of accomplishment or at a minimum unleashed Gort in a more pronounced way, allowing him to pulverize everything and anything. After all, Klaatu is supposedly from an advanced civilization and should know full well, that the endearing moments he witnessed are more fiction than fact. We’re not capable of change. We feign acceptance only when it suits our purposes (we can’t even do it when we’re faced with extinction). We deserve to be eradicated by some higher power, but not because we’re big meanies to the environment (I’m not going to debate the merits of global warming here) — we deserve to be wiped out because at our roots we’re all egotistical assholes consumed with our own agendas. They can start with some of my ex-girlfriends and a few of my old bosses. See what I mean?

Had a different turn been taken with The Day the Earth Stood Still, it may very well have been worth watching. As it stands now, aside from the high-tech wizardry from effects studio Weta Digital, there isn’t a damn thing worth remembering. Not even the underlying “Save the Planet, Save Ourselves” rallying cry makes its way out of the soundproofed walls of the theater. This timely update sadly does the original little justice — very little justice — and thus I strongly recommend watching the 1951 version instead.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
2 Star Rating: Bad


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The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.

'Movie Review: The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)' have 13 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 14, 2008 @ 1:07 am None

    Wow, just wow.

    If any alien race ever needed to destroy the earth it’s because of this review.

    To say what a movie should and should not be about is the dumbest thing I’ve heard of so far.

    “See what I mean?”

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 14, 2008 @ 7:52 am General Disdain

    “See what I mean?”

    No, I don’t. The problem with the remake is the original is so much better. Making going “green” the underlying theme of the movie is a political statement, little else. And I put on my philosopher hat to poke at the notion that an advanced being (who presumably knows a shitload more than us) would have been swayed by the cockamamee relationship between Helen and her stepson. Hell, he should have started the extermination with them (little Jacob gives Klaatu plenty of reasons).

    A lot more could have been done with the film to make it a whole hell of a lot better.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 15, 2008 @ 6:01 pm Scott

    Alright review but I think you are a bit harsh in your criticism. It’s not as bad as you make it out to be-I actually prefer this version to the original.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 15, 2008 @ 7:06 pm Norm

    This movie is a 5 shit pile! I was so disgusted with it that my wife had to hit me three times during the movie to shut me up. Don’t waste your money, not even if the government taxed someone else and gave you the resulting cash (after taking their cut)to buy your ticket!

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 16, 2008 @ 9:23 pm Claude

    I saw the movie and it is not bad at all. My understanding and this is what I felt: keep the 50th’s not to far away from us. Do you really thing that we have really changed that much, since then? Beside the technology? If we are capable of great things we are also capable of the lowest things. We are still short minded as we use to be and will always be like this…because we are human and humanity always repeat itself. We will be erase one day, either from an alien, a meteor or by ourselves, but earth will still be there and survive to us.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 17, 2008 @ 10:33 am Andrei

    This movie hasnt came out in Australia yet, but its got a really go twist, looking forward to see thing movie, especially with keanu inside it.

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 17, 2008 @ 2:07 pm JerseyMike

    This review appears to be a politcal opinion/statement or a reflection on mankind versus an honest review of the movie.

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 17, 2008 @ 3:54 pm General Disdain

    @ Claude,

    Agreed. But Klaatu knew the Earth would not survive mankinds latest transgression and he should have acted accordingly.

    @ JerseyMike,

    If the movie is making this reflection, can’t I in my review? The objective of the rant, was to point out the inconsistency of Klaatu’s decision and, of course, to wish ill on some past girlfriends…

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 19, 2008 @ 3:18 pm leduck

    I don’t have a problem with the fact that the movie went green; I have a problem that the “solution” of destroying humankind made so little sense in the context of the movie.

    So we’re mean to the planet– so what? So there’s a mass extinction and the planet goes on without us and the aliens still have another habitable world. The earth has certainly seen mass extinctions before. Why go to the bother of destroying us?

    The idea that we would make the planet uninhabitable for any kind of life was silly, and certainly not the argument that is currently being made concerning global warming.

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 20, 2008 @ 11:49 am Loren

    I think we would all agree on one thing. A movie can not satisfy the taste of each and every person. Some may find trillions of flaws in a movie, while others will hold it on a pedestal.

    The inconsistencies are there because we, as humans, are inconsistent. We are all different. You like the movie. Or do not. That is all you need to state. There is no need in arguing with others what is there to like and not to like.

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 22, 2008 @ 9:21 am JerseyMike

    @General Disdain – of course you can say what you want. It’s your review, rant away. However, if you go on some tree hugger rant and have displeasure for the human race in general that has nothing to do with the movie, well then you loose credibility. IMO


    @Loren – Go hug a tree or something

  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 19, 2009 @ 10:25 pm Rick Swift

    Love the Spam Protection btw, I was a Marine, I almost didn’t get to post this comment, heh.

    Anyway, I too was disgusted by a lot of things in the film, the message was boring and soooo two years ago, I half expected Leonardo DiCaprio to appear at the end in some half-assed public service announcement. Whatever happened to Woodsy Owl anyway? He was in your face, sure, but if he pissed you off, you could just pluck him – yes, I went there.

    Still, I saw this film in IMAX, and Gort was worth the price of admission, course I got in for free because I am part of the all powerful press, ha ha ha.

    Jaden’s character made ME want to shoot him, just to shut him up – and Jennifer’s character was just as annoying albeit with the opposite theory about Klaatu.

    Greatest moment of the film was when Klaatu met David Lopan from Big Trouble in Little China at McDonalds, and Keanu mangled Mandarin almost as badly as he has English. Can you name the big three product placements in the film, I just told you one.

  13. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 26, 2009 @ 1:33 am tox

    Yes, superior being, …, and as somebody mentioned, di Caprio and the end, and they should have kissed. I mean Kean with di Caprio, just to fulfill the logical expectations ;o) Why not an gay alien? I like science fiction, but this movie is for me dada-fiction.
    “The Day the Brain Stood Still”.

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