Published Dec 15, 2008Remaking a classic film is a delicate undertaking, an attempt to breathe new life into a familiar and beloved story, a balancing act between pleasing fans of the original masterpiece and entertaining modern audiences with a refreshing take on old themes. The original 1951 The Day the Earth Stood Still has withstood the test of time and is still an entertaining, thought provoking and poignant masterwork of science fiction 57 years after it was released in theatres.
The new version of The Day the Earth Stood Still is so unbelievably terrible that it almost manages to reverse time and taint the original film with its many layers of suck. This horribly failed attempt to resurrect a sci-fi classic that didn't need resurrecting in the first place is 10,000 types of stupid, each indescribably stupider than the last, resulting in a Gordian knot of stupidity so infinitely stupid that Forest Gump would finally have to admit that, "Yes, in fact, The Day the Earth Stood Still is exactly what stupid does!"
The original film tells the tale of Klaatu, a mild mannered alien being who lands on Earth, discovers both the horror and beauty that humanity are capable of, and decides to teach the human race a lesson by briefly halting all electric power, except for the airplanes in the sky and hospital life support machines. Humanity is humbled and given a chance to mend its ways.
The new The Day the Earth Stood Still, which should more appropriately be titled The Day The Earth Stood Still Mega Extreme Ultra Redux: Al Gore Edition, replaces the heart, plot and thoughtfulness of the original film with one-dimensional characters who behave in absurd and irrational ways. A stiff and emotionless Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) is sent to destroy the human race, while the film features an eco-green theme that is about as subtle as Klaatu's updated companion Gort, who is now a 50-foot tall robot that shoots lasers out its eyes and turns into a swarm of nano-roaches that eat metal.
A few homages to the original film only serve to remind the audience that they are watching an abomination of unimaginable magnitude. The only way this remake of a sci-fi classic could be any worse is if, in the end, Klaatu walked up the stairs to the Lincoln Memorial and discovered that President Lincoln had been replaced by a monkey.
Long before the credits roll you will want to scream "Klaatu barada nikto," partly because the madness must be stopped and partly because nobody involved in the production saw fit to put that phrase in the film! If this is the best that humanity can come up with then we deserve to be wiped out by alien forces. (Fox)