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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Day I Watched The Silly Remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still

A couple of days ago I finally got around to watching the 2008 remake of the classic SF thriller The Day the Earth Stood Still. Nearly a complete waste of time from start to finish, the film does have one inventive and chilling conceit: that Klaatu Reeves arrives to save the Earth, and that his definition of "saving the Earth" means saving the planet itself, not its people. In the world of the film life-bearing planets are rare and precious, and since people are killing the planet Klaatu's confederation of worlds decides wiping out humans is the only solution. (Shades of "It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it!")

I suppose the re-imagination of Gort deserves some kudos as well. While evocative of the original films' classic robot, the 2008 Gort is composed of millions of nanobots capable of disassembling any matter they choose. In fact, only the scenes with Gort show any life at all; there's a rather chilling vignette in which members of the US military imprison the robot in a holding tank, only to discover that Gort was never a prisoner at all.

Unfortunately one clever moment and a half-decent recreation of an SF icon can't save this limp, fearful remake. Grievous errors in science, leaden performances, by-the-numbers direction and editing and an uninspiring score sink what could have been a worthwhile remake. Stick with the timeless original, and say "Klaatu Barada NIX!" to the 2008 version.

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