The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) - 3-Disc Special Edition

Genre(s): Science Fiction / Thriller
Fox || PG13 - 104 minutes - $34.98 || April 7, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-04-07


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Scott Derrickson
Writer(s): Edmund H. North (1951 screenplay), David Scarpa (screenplay)
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Kathy Bates, Jaden Smith, Kyle Chandler, Kathy Bates


Theatrical Release Date: December 12, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • 4 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Still Galleries
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Digital Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Surround 5.1), French (Dolby Surround 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Surround 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French

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.::THE FILM::.

There are only a few remakes that I consider to be better than their predecessors. The Grudge, The Ring, Assault on Precinct 13, and there are a few more of them. Yes, I actually rented the Japanese versions of the two aforementioned horror films one night and found them to be awful. Mainly because I had to read and I hate doing that in movies; Iím here to watch not to read. Anyways, the recent remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still is better than the original, but not by much.

Helen (Jennifer Connelly) is some sort of big-wig scientist at a university, and after trying to teach her class some scientific things, she returns home to her step-son Jacob (Jaden Smith). Helenís husband died a while ago and she is left to take care of his son by herself, and it has left tension between the two. Jacob doesnít call her mom but Helen and acts as rude as possible to her at every turn. The phone rings and itís the government calling and asking if this is Helen Benson and what her address is. She says it is but is confused, that is, until they show up at her front door and escort her to a facility.

At this facility there is a huge group of scientists of various natures that are also unaware of what is going on or why they were brought here. After a brief plane ride, they are brought to another office lecture room where they all learn that an object is going to collide with earth in less than 90 minutes. After the meeting, Helen sneaks into the bathroom to use her cell phone that she hid as though the military confiscated all such items before they entered the base. She tries to tell Jacob she loves him and to be safe, but Jacob blows her off and hangs up after a few seconds.

Fortunately for Earth, the impact is a dud. Well, sort of, as the impact was actually an object similar to a sphere. The object crash lands close by and the scientists, including Helen, are taken to it. They are all wearing protective suits and try to approach the sphere, and out pops an alien. However the incredibly smart army and police officers that are there accidentally fire a bullet which critically injures the alien and a giant robot known as GORT emerges. The robot manages to shut down everything in the area but comes back on after a few moments.

The alien undergoes surgery to remove the bullet and once thatís done a human form is shown and eventually talks to the staff there and reveals his name as Klaatu (Keanu Reeves). Klaatu says that he needs to speak to the person in charge, and since this is a time of emergency and both the president and vice president are unavailable he is forced to talk to Secretary of Defense Regina Jackson (Kathy Bates). Jackson attempts to explain to him whatís going on but dismisses everything that Klaatu tries to say. She wants to run more experiments on him but Klaatu tells her there is little time.

Jackson has Helen try to sedate Klaatu so they can do a polygraph on him, but Helen switches the needles so he is injected with nothing. Klaatu is wheeled in and escorted to a sealed area where he is given a lie detector test, but manages to mind control the guy giving it to him and steals his clothes and the code to get out of there. He escapes to a train station where he keels over from the bullet wound still in his body. The cops find his body and call Helen, since Klaatu says thatís his doctor, and she comes and picks him up. Sadly though, she brings her annoying kid with her that plagues this entire movie with his outlandish behavior and over-the-top acting.

Meanwhile, a state of emergency has been called by Jackson to locate Klaatu. A nationwide manhunt is issued for him but they donít know where to start looking. This gives Helen and Klaatu time to figure out whatís going on and what will happen to the Earth, even though Klaatu already has it in his mind what will happen. He leads them to a lake where a sphere that is smaller than the one in the middle of the city and it emerges. He says something to the sphere and it flies away, and Jacob is scared of the man and asks a bunch of questions. Helen once again grills Klaatu about whatís going on, but he says they must go and finish his job. Can the earth be saved? Is this one of those ďbe better to the EarthĒ type of films?

After having seen the original and remake, the remake is more of an updated version of the film that stays mostly true to the original. The special effects in this film are great, especially the last twenty or so minutes of the movie. The casting on the other hand is a bit iffy. Jacob is seriously the most annoying character Iíve seen in a long time, his character is just not likeable in anyway and brings down each scene heís in. All in all though, I found this to be enjoyable to watch, just not something that is going to be winning any awards in the future.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Commentary by writer David Scarpa: Scarpa does a great job on this solo commentary, as he points out many things you may have missed while watching the movie. I actually thoroughly enjoyed this commentary, although there is a bit of a dry spell here and there. Itís a shame though we donít get a Reeves track thoughÖ hopefully one day.

Deleted Scenes (2 minutes): One of my complaints about the movie was that it was too short, and I was hoping for a ton of deleted scenes. Sadly, there are only three (one of them is an extended version of another scene) and amount to absolutely zilch.

Re-Imagining the Day (30 minutes): The cast and crew talk about the original and how this is a ďsmart updateĒ from a film more than fifty years old.

Unleashing Gort (14 minutes): Probably the best special feature available, this takes a look at the robot monster known as Gort from the movie. The crew talks about how Gort came to be, and how he wasnít even named in the script at the start.

Watching the Skies (23 minutes): This takes a look at the paranormal and if there really is life outside of earth. While I didnít find it enjoying, Iím sure those who are into this sort of thing will love it.

The Day the Earth Was Green (14 minutes): The crew talks about how this was a ďgreenĒ movie and its connection with saving the environment. It drags on for a bit, but the start of this is pretty interesting to hear how studios are trying to be more environmentally friendly.

Finally, the filmís Theatrical Trailer, the Gort Contest Winners, as well as a Still Gallery and digital copy are available for your viewing pleasure.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Due to the video being watermarked, I canít rate the video. If a non-watermarked copy comes in I will update the score accordingly.

As you can hopefully expect, the Dolby Surround 5.1 track accompanying the film does wonders, to say the least. Surround use is extensively used the entire movie and as a plus it doesnít override any of the dialogue spoken. Dialogue levels are also constant and there werenít any issues with them being too loud or soft. While surround use is used a lot, I felt like there were a few scenes that didnít sound as good as they should have (the ones near the end in particular). All in all though, it still is a great track, but it could have sounded just a smidge better.



.::OVERALL::.

Even though it isnít the greatest film and runs too short for its own good, the remake is far superior to the original in every sense. The script is a bit ridiculous at times and the kid is the most annoying part of the movie, but past those issues, it is still a flick that can be enjoyed without diving too deep into it. The audio sounds phenomenal and the special features package is hefty enough to keep fans interested for a while. Donít stand still today, head on out and buy it. Just donít run into Klaatu on your way there.