Production Quality: A
Negative Elements: B
Positive Elements: C
Comments: The Day the Earth Stood Still was a misfire. The human race is about to be exterminated by a coalition of alien civilizations that believes humans are killing the planet Earth. It is going to happen soon, and humans are helpless to stop it. This crisis appears to concern the actors in the movie, but I found it very easy to watch their plight with ambivalence. Movies are at their best when they stir our affections: fear, love, hatred, joy, etc. Movies that fail to do this are either not my kind of movie (a matter of preference) or they are far from the best that movies can be. Since sci-fi is right down my alley, I judge the latter. The effects were fascinating to watch, but there was little else to commend it.
Oh, for the good old days of rising-Cold-War-tension plot lines--that would have hit the heart! This was in fact what the original 1951 flick tried to capitalize upon, and it hit at the heart of humanity's hateful problem of violent selfishness. Today's "re-visioning" ties into the modernistic fetish of preserving the earth at the expense of human life. No matter how environmentally conscious one should be, nature's priority over human existence is an extreme, modern reversal of the created order--the logical conclusion of confused priorities. Now, admittedly, the movie's producers were aiming to produce more money and fun than enviro-preaching and repentance. But I still cannot give the premise a pass. While Biblical environmentalism may be neglected, it still has man at the top, and no alien has the right to trump that. Stupid aliens!
So these were the weakest elements of the movie: 1) The storyline and style of presentation did not create suspense for the viewer. When there is no tension to be resolved, the resolution is irrelevant. 2) The choice of "environmentalism" as the crisis felt manufactured and unrealistic. As a thematic proposition, it defies the common sense of even the most ardent environmentalists (no matter what they say). 3) The transformation of the alien from executioner to savior was too easy and unconvincing. The mother's argument was "we can change!" Her proof was that she loved her child. That is a silly, underwhelming non-sequitur. Nothing was argued or proved to Klaatu in support of that proposition. Stupid aliens! I don't think this movie is worth watching once. That's a shame--because I love a good sci-fi flick.
In Memory of Steve Crawford, who also loved a good sci-fi flick, was looking forward to this film, and would also have been disappointed. Visit one of his favorite websites here: www.outpost31.com.