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Public Service Announcement

If you were planning on seeing The Day the Earth Stood Still and haven't yet, save your money. Don't go. It's abysmally bad. It doesn't even have the good sense to be so bad that it's entertaining. No, instead it keeps threatening to become something meaningful, so that when it ends you're left going, "Wha-What?!? That's it???" Correction: the movie doesn't really end; the credits simply start rolling. This movie had no redeeming features — well, except for Jennifer Connelly; she's always a redeeming feature — not even the special effects, which were gratuitous and anticlimactic. I admit that part of the reason I wanted to watch this movie was to see Giants Stadium get pulverized, but this was done with no more fanfare — less, perhaps — than when the protagonists pull into MickeyD's for a meal. When the film flashed a credit for "science adviser" at the end, a couple of women snickered and quoted one of the more ridiculous bits of techno-babble from the film. Pathetic. This one's a real dud, folks. Save yourself those couple of hours you'll never be able to get back and watch the original instead.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 28th, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
Movie Viewing
I've almost gotten through another whole year without watching movies in theaters. I'm trying to recall when I last went to the movies. Was it to see Lord of the Rings: Return of the King?

I had already heard that this remake of the classic "Day" was a big loser, so you haven't given me any reason to break my string of movies not seen. Your review actually reinforced my initial impression: why the hell would anybody want to do a re-make of The Day the Earth Stood Still? I guess the answer is that they were delusional.

The original had its defects. Special effects either didn't exist or were even more poorly done than for other movies of the period. The pace was plodding, as if they had a half-hour story to tell in ninety minutes. But the movie introduced one new idea, that robots could become enough smarter and more capable than humans that they could be put in charge, an idea that was mostly ignored elsewhere. It's an idea that deserves to be explored again today, now that robots have advanced so much more rapidly than expected.
Dec. 29th, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Movie Viewing
I believe the original was also the first to treat aliens as potentially friendly instead of invaders.
Dec. 30th, 2008 04:09 am (UTC)
Re: Movie Viewing
No. In the original movie, the alien (singular) has to go into hiding to secretly pass along his message to the few who will listen. As soon as he reveals himself, he gets killed. And if there was hysteria, it was fully justified by the actions of the alien and his robot. The alien was able to pass as a human but was unable to get anybody but a pre-teen boy to listen to him, then the boy's mother.

Agreed, the movie didn't treat all aliens as senselessly hostile, the way so many movies have. Humans were trespassing on alien territory (space) and were told they would have to either give up the space program or join the alien equivalent of the United Nations. The alien and his robot were met with irrational hostility for the most part and only very grudging acceptance by the more rational toward the end of the story.

Nor would I say the alien attitude of "join us or stay home" was all that friendly. It was just less violent than some portrayals.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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