I really wanted to hate the Keanu Reeves version of The Day The Earth Stood Still: The 1951 original with Michael Rennie and Patricia O’Neal needed no updating or remake. Still, there is a lot to like about The Day the Earth Stood Still 2008. It is not that bad a DVD and probably better if you are not familiar with the original.
The Day the Earth Stood Still 2008 brings many interesting changes to the original story and to some characters. The female lead, Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) is now a more decisive character with a more modern, feminist approved career. Klaatu’s first encounters with humankind are more complex. The story itself is no longer a make peace or else: it is not about making peace and or else has already been decided. Gort is also a bit more interesting.
Keanu Reeves’ Madame Tussaud wax museum copy stars as Klaatu, an extraterrestrial being sent to earth because of the negative carbon footprint of humans on the planet. Jennifer Connelly plays Dr. Helen Benson, the single mom with a kid originally played by Patricia Neal. Jaden Smith (Will Smith jr) is the kid and the token Black character in the movie aside from a couple of soldiers.
Unfortunately, ol wooden face Reeves’ lack of any sentiment makes it impossible to really connect with his Klaatu character. The movie also has really smart ideas that manage to tear down any willing suspension of disbelief at the same time. Revealing these would be spoilers so a minor example will have to do: Klaatu learns the reaction his arrival has caused by watching the TVs in Grand Central Station, the very same Grand Central Station where no one recognizes him even though every possible law enforcement agency has an APB on him.
The Day The Earth Stood Still 2008 could have been a better movie if Klaatu had been played by a better actor, the director had not decided to direct special effects instead of actors, and the story held H2O.
This DVD makes for a decent night’s entertainment but no more.
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL two-disc DVD is presented in widescreen format (2.35:1 aspect ratio) with English 5.1 Dolby Digital Sound and Spanish and French Dolby Surround with English, Spanish and French subtitles. Packaged with the original 1951 version of the film.
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL special edition DVD is presented in widescreen format (2.35:1 aspect ratio) with English 5.1 Dolby Digital Sound and Spanish and French Dolby Surround with English, Spanish and French subtitles. Packaged with the original 1951 version of the film.
Bonus features include: Deleted Scenes Re-Imagining “The Day” Featurette Unleashing Gort Featurette Watching The Skies: In Search Of Extraterrestrial Life Featurette The Day The Earth Was “Green” Featurette Commentary By Writer David Scarpa Still Galleries and Digital Copy for portable media players
Special Edition Blu-ray Three-Disc Features:
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL BD is presented in widescreen format (2.45:1 aspect ratio) with English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio and Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital with English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Cantonese Korean and Mandarin subtitles. Packaged with the original 1951 version of the film.
Bonus features include those above plus the following:
Klaatu’s Unseen Artifacts: The Day The Earth Stood Still Picture-In-Picture Track
“Build Your Own GORT,” BD-Java Game