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The Day the Earth Stood Still

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Released in 1951, The Day the Earth Stood Still is one of the few science-fiction films from that era that can still play to modern audiences as something other than camp. Sadly, that can’t be said about Scott Derrickson’s remake. The storyline remains familiar: Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) has been sent to earth by a coalition of alien races to save the planet. Whether that includes saving human beings as well is of considerably less importance. It certainly doesn’t argue in humanity’s favor when Klaatu steps off his glowing space orb only to be greeted by unprovoked gunfire and imprisonment. But not everyone is so judgmental. The alien finds an ally in scientist Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) who helps him escape. At this point, the movie turns into a fairly typical action/chase film, with a useless subplot about Benson’s stepson (Jaden Smith) coping with the death of his father. Almost no time is spent developing characters or themes, as Derrickson tries to cover up the essential emptiness of his film with noise and spectacle. Stay home and rent the original instead. H

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