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The plot of this “re-imagining” of the 1951 Science Fiction-Classic is similar to the original story. The alien Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) visits Earth because the alien civilizations are concerned about humankind. The reason for the aliens’ concern has been updated – in 1951, it was fear of mankind spreading their wars to the galaxy. In the 2008 remake, the aliens have decided that humankind needs to be wiped out because it is destroying the ecosphere of Earth, one of just a few planets in the galaxy which can support life.
Like in the original, Klaatu is shot by a trigger-happy soldier at first contact, survives but is kept imprisoned and not allowed to speak to the United Nations, while Gort (updated from a tall man in a silver suit to a giant CGI-robot called G.O.R.T. “Genetically Organized Robotic Technology” by the government) guards his spaceship – a huge semi-transparent sphere instead of the wobbly flying saucer of the 1951 version. Klaatu escapes the government and mingles with the people to evaluate mankind, even if the verdict seems to be already spoken. Cold and detached at first, the longer Klaatu is in contact with Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) and her annoying stepson Jacob (Jaden Smith), the more emotional and humanlike he becomes, and the more he develops second thoughts about destroying all mankind.

The role of the emotionally detached alien Klaatu is, of course, perfect for Keanu Reeves. Other noteworthy appearances are made by John Cleese as Professor Barnhardt and Jaden Smith, alas in Jaden Smiths’ case, his appearance is only noteworthy because he acts so obnoxious that you almost wish the aliens will destroy mankind just to get rid of him.

But even worse than Jaden Smith is the script – the movie feels like at least three or four different versions of the script have first been shred to pieces, and then pieced together into one unholy ghoulish version lacking any coherence and pacing. A handful of FX-moneyshots can’t save the resulting mess of a film.

It’s a shame this classic movie didn’t get the update it would have deserved.

Keanu Reeves as Alien Klaatu in The Day The Earth Stood Still  Jennifer Connelly and Keanu Reeves 

The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008) Movie Trailer

The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) Movie Trailer

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