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Science Fiction - The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) Blu-ray

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The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) Blu-ray
Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal
Directed by Robert Wise
Fullscreen / Black and white
Originally released 20th Century Fox 1951
Fox Home Entertainment 2008
92 minutes

The Blu-ray version of The Day The Earth Stood Still comes with a Gort shoot-em-up game DUHHHH !!!!  This Robert Wise movie is undoubtedly one of the greatest science fiction movies. It is both exciting and low on special effects. The Blu-ray edition of this movie (released to coincide with the Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly seemingly much more violent remake, re-DUH) includes some new special features but nothing worth getting if you already this DVD.

The Day The Earth Stood Still on Blu-ray is a puzzling release. The format is 4X3, this is a black and white film so I doubt 1080p will change anything, and the special features menu with its minuscule yellow lettering on off-white background is hard to read and unnecessarily complicated to navigate. The Gort shoot-em-up game is from the original ColecoVision cartridge.

Review of Blu-ray 3-Disc Special Edition with both 2008 and 1951 versions

One of the special features on The Day the Earth Stood Still explains how it plays on the psychosis of the early fifties. It does little to explain why it is still fascinating but I believe it has to do with how this classic is simple but not simplistic and with some of its humor.

The story is very simple. Klaatu (Michael Rennie), a messenger from space comes accompanied by a robot to meet the world’s leaders. He wants to tell humans they must learn to live in peace. Human belligerence is becoming a threat to others in the universe. If humans do not learn to live in peace they will be destroyed. We also learn the galaxy is patrolled by Gort, a robot peace force.

Klaatu befriends a young boy and his widowed mother (Patricia Neal) and through the boy learns a bit about humans. Eventually, Klaatu loses patience and gives Earth a rather strong but peaceful demonstration of how serious he is. Things get a little complicated after that.

Another special features on the 2 DVD special edition and Blu-ray version of this movie reveals what every science fiction fan knows: The Day the Earth Stood Still is a parable. Other special features include a feature about Harry Bates, the guy who wrote the story this movie is loosely based on and a reading of that story, commentary tracks including one with Robert Wise and Nicholas Meyer (Wrath of Khan), and a feature about the Theremin, the instrument used for the saucer sound cues.

The Blu-ray version includes the DUH game and a chance to rescore the movie.

Richard Lanoie

Kindle DX, Free 3G, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 9.7" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology