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Film Review:
The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008)
Reviewed by Taras Wolansky

This is a cheesy-looking remake of the 1951 classic starring Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal. An alien visitor (Keanu Reeves, who is really terrible) arrives in New York's Central Park with a Message for the world.

Good, even adequate SF disaster films make a point of establishing verisimilitude before introducing the strange stuff. This one is in "movie world" from the start.

For example, I cracked up when the scientists referred several times to an object approaching the Earth at "three times ten to the seventh meters per second." Instead of simply saying "30 million meters per second," or more usefully "30,000 kilometers per second," or even (more significantly) "one-tenth the speed of light."

Jennifer Connelly plays an astrobiologist who is brought in by the government when the aforementioned object is detected. (As the object can be expected to vaporize when it hits, why they need an astrobiologist at all is a mystery.) Instead of calling her on the phone and sending a car, the script has the government virtually abduct her.

The scenes in which Reeves and Connelly talk remind me of the Monty Python skit about Mr. Neutron.

As I'm writing this review on my BlackBerry while the movie continues, I don't have a chance to go into more detail about how stupid it is. And how stupid Klaatu is here: he never meets any head of state, or even explains what is at stake, but nonetheless insists that the world had its chance and failed. The SETI League needs to start an Alien Anti-Defamation League!

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