Next year, Hollywood is going to start to remake silents. The advantage to Hollywood’s lack of imagination is you get re-releases of the original movie. The remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still comes out 12/12/08 so there is a 2-DVD Special Edition and Blu-ray disc of the original Robert Wise The Day The Earth Stood Still. Science fiction fans already have a copy of this movie classic but with a little luck more people will discover it.
If you already have The Day the Earth Stood Still on DVD, I really doubt the special features of this 2 DVD Special Edition are worth the buckage. They are a commentary track by Robert Wise and Nicholas Meyer (Trek II Khan), a commentary track by some film historians, an isolated score track, and new featurettes: The Mysterious Melodious Theremin (the musical instrument that makes the tonal sounds in the movie; a Main Title Live Performance by Peter Pringle on the Theremin (cool, really); a reading of the story by inspired this movie, Farewell to the Master by Harry Bates, and a Fox Movietone News 1951 segment.
DVD 2 of The Day The Earth Stood Still has some rather interesting short documentaries: Decoding “Klaatu Barada Nikto”, Science Fiction as Metaphor; A Brief History of Flying Saucers; The Astounding Harry Bates (a somewhat disorganized feature but kind of interesting); Edmund North, The Man Who Made The Earth Stand Still; Race to Oblivion; and a Pressbook and Stills Gallery.
The Blu-ray version also includes “Gort Command” an interactive shooting game (Somebody really, really missed the point of this movie!!!!) and Interactive Theremin where you can rescore the opening sequence.
There is also a longish preview of the new version of The Day The Earth Stood Still with Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Garner. The 2008 version seems to be much more violent, missing the point of the original, and to have lots of bells and whistles and special effects. As Harry Bates said of the original adaptation of his short story: It seems they kept the messenger, the robot, and the flying saucer but that’s about all the two, or three, have in common.
For those unfamiliar with this classic science-fiction movie: A flying saucer lands in Washington; a man comes out with a giant metallic robot; the man tells the Earth he is from another planet and if humans cannot learn to live in peace they are a threat to the universe and will be destroyed; the robots are the cops who patrol the universe and keep it safe.
It is a lot more complicated than this but you get the point. There is no doubt however the 1951 original is a great movie.