I love old Sci-Fi movies and TV shows. There is nothing better after a hard day of writing than sitting on the couch and flipping the TiVo to some old Twilight Zone reruns or popping in an old classic like The Day The Earth Stood Still. I am partial to these oldies because the actors did just that, they acted. Even when a big tin robot named Robbie came after Leslie Nielsen in Forbidden Planet you could see the fear in his eyes and hear the timber in his voice.
What most movies today seem to generally consists of a decent storyline, the hottest people Hollywood can find (I don’t mind the hotties) and some horrible dialogue (Kevin Smith and Tarrentino aside). This is one reason I seldom travel to the theaters anymore. This is also the main reason why I shiver when I hear the word “remake”. When I heard that they were remaking The Day the Earth Stood Still with Keanu Reeves I was pretty excited. I read some insider intel and found some pretty cool looking screen shots. When I heard Scott Derrickson was directing (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Urban Legends; Final Cut and Hellraiser Inferno) and Edmund H. North (Screenwriter of the 1951 original) was involved I thought this might be worth a rare trip to the theater to see.
I was wrong on all accounts. This remake was bad, and when I say bad I mean fucking horrible. If you have the chance to NOT watch this movie then take it, please. Since the movie opened on Dec 12th it has only grossed 55.9 million and only ranked as high as #4, that should say something.
The new film followed the old storyline for the most part, with the exception of the most important part, which was the reason the aliens had come. In the old version the threat of humans spreading atomic warfare throughout the galaxy caused the aliens to come here and put us in our places, so to speak. In the new version there seemed to be no bones about using the fucking environment as the reason. Since every freaking idiot these days is “going green” the writers decided to play up that angle and use our disregard of mother nature as a reason for the aliens to destroy us. Worst idea ever. I am tired friends, tired of seeing this environment “crisis” used as a marketing ploy, money grab or a way to score an easy Nobel prize by solely blaming man (or Americans would be more proper) for things inevitably changing in the environment.
This of course was not the first movie to be ruined with this not so subtle undertone but it really destroyed this movie. I stomached the entire film, hoping for an upswing or nod to the original that never came. Even the iconic robot Gort has his role drastically reduced. To me the original was so good not for its plot line but because of the lack of special effects which in turn gave way for excellent dialogue and outstanding acting. Today Hollywood bombards us with special effects which takes away from the real acting, dialogue seems second in line behind appearance. It is like serving spoiled milk in a crystal skewer.
The lead female role was filled in with Jennifer Connelly who has become anorexic between now and A Beautiful Mind. Her acting was decent in Blood Diamond but completely one dimensional in this film. I truly think there could not have been a worse person cast for this role. From her disingenuise reactions to alien invaders and the end of humanity to her cold, emotionless relationship with her son. I personally liked her better with a little more meat on her bones.
In closing I will plead with you to not see this movie. If you decide to see it do me a favor and rent the original first then maybe you will see past the fancy special effects and digital blasphemy that Hollywood calls art. I will add the famous robot command words that the new film writers felt they needed to leave out of the remake for some stupid reason, the words that meant so much to save the earth: KLAATU BARADA NIKTO.