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Friday, December 12 12:00 AM ET

Trailer Review: The Day the Earth Stood Still

By Brian Briggs

Fans of classic sci-fi films please avert your eyes.  You do not want to see the horror that is upon you.  They remade The Day the Earth Stood Still (a movie so geeky it made it into The BBook of Geek movie section), and the only saving grace is that you will hardly recognize it from the original.

Kung Fu
I know Kung Fu

They did get one thing right.  When casting an actor to play the wooden Klaatu from the original, only two names came to mind, Hayden Christensen and Keanu Reeves.  Keanu has the alien in a human body shtick down pat.

In the original, Klaatu the alien lands and is promptly shot.  He tries to warn us that if we keep up our violent ways on Earth then the aliens will destroy our planet.  The only excitement comes from the killer robot Gort who decides to destroy the Earth anyway, until Helen tells him the secret passphrase to turn him off.

Set to the backdrop of the cold war, and tapping into the worries of a nuclear apocalypse the original had a quiet power.  With no cold war, and an astronomical budget, the remake has been retooled into a modern special effects extravaganza.

The trailer opens with Jennifer Connelly stuffing a cell phone into her bra.  She's a reporter and what she's about to see will bore her to death (she'll play games on the phone to keep her entertained).  The military has captured an alien occupying a human body, who knows of an impending attack on Earth.  They've connected him to a polygraph machine to see if he's lying about it. Yeah, that's going to work.

Gort
Have you seen this killer robot?

Then we get to the special effects extravaganza portion of the trailer.  A giant globe emerges from the sea; the dark cloud from Lost engulfs a semi-trailer and football stadium, the giant globe lands in Central park.  It looks cool, but people familiar with the original will be understandably confused.

Then Keanu poses a paradox to Jennifer Connelly: "If the Earth dies, you die.  If you die, the Earth survives. I always lie, and Gort always tells the truth.  The killer robot is behind the first door."

Speaking of Gort, don't blink or you'll miss him (which I did the first time through the trailer).  Shouldn't he be playing a more prominent role in this movie?

Reviewinator

Trailer Quicktime
Starring

Keanu Reeves
Jennifer Connelly

Director Scott Derrickson
Official Site Link
US Opening

December 12, 2008

Rated PG-13
Genre Classic Sci-Fi Remake
Explosions 1
Weapons Handgun, assault rifle, all-destroying black cloud
Man Quotient

2.5

Trailer
Déjà Vu
Dude, Where's My Plot?
Geek Factor 85%
See Trailer? No
See Movie? No
Follow Up Pending

Fun with IMDb: From the director of Hellraiser: Inferno, the star of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the star of Trans Neptune: or the Fall of Pandora, the Drag Queen Cosmonaut comes a movie based on a movie directed by the guy who directed Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Ending Prognostication:  I've seen the original, but that doesn't give me a clue how this one ends.  Jennifer Connelly sacrifices herself to save the Earth.  It can't possibly end with the Earth being destroyed, can it?

Conclusion on Trailer:  Interesting special effects, but the acting is bad.  Those familiar with the original will be throwing their hands in the air and shouting "WTF?"  Those unfamiliar with the original will be shouting "WTF?"

Conclusion on Movie: There's no chance that this one will be good.  Keanu will have no trouble portraying the wooden Klaatu, but that will only make the movie worse.  Most geeks will hate what they've done to this sci-fi classic, and leave the theater wishing the studio had just left it alone. Most non-geeks will be disappointed that neither Jennifer Connelly or Keanu Reeves ends up naked.

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