ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Scott Derrickson

Starring:
Keanu Reeves/Klaatu
Jennifer Connelly/Helen
Kathy Bates/Regina
Jaden Smith/Jacob
PLOT-CRUNCH
An alien being (Reeves) that looks a lot like Ted "Theodore" Logan from Bill and Ted and his gigantic laser spewing organic friend drop by earth to let us know that we’re about to get eradicated. Why? Cause we’re a dumb and destructive species. We know that we’re setting ourselves up for Armageddon by abusing our planet and yet we continue to do it anyways. TAKE US OUT ALIENS! TAKE US THE F*CK OUT ALREADY!
THE LOWDOWN
I’ve never seen Robert Wise’s 1951 original sci-fi classic of the same name, the film on which this sucka is based on. Looks like I’ll be tapping it sooner than later though. You see after my screening of this remake I got to talking with some gents who were fans of the original and through our convo I figured out that what I didn’t get from this version, the original delivered in spades.

Now don’t get me wrong I did enjoy THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL on some levels. It was well paced; it put out a cool initial premise, a handful of nifty action/destruction scenes and on the whole I was rarely bored. Jennifer Connelly and Keanu Reeves made for inspired casting. Reeves was mucho efficient as the emotionless alien (dude looks great in a suit too) while I got lost in Connelly’s big blue eyes many o times. Both actors gave me lead characters that I was interested in and wanted to follow around. Scott Derrickson’s ASTOUNDING visuals came through gangbusters as well. I always dug the dude’s eye (Hellraiser Inferno and Emily Rose proved he had the juice) but he outdid himself with this one. The stylish shots and moody cinematography bowled me over and now that I think of it, was the main reason as to me having a decent time in my seat.

And a big pat on the ass goes out to effect team behind this one. I so boogied to the stellar designs (the alien bugs owned and it was nice to see that Gort worked out for the part) and the CG execution whooped me stupid more often than none. As a final point, the updated social message in this remake hit home. Where the original addressed man’s violence against his own kind (or so I was told) – this update covered man’s killing of the earth. In this day and age of “GREEN MADNESS”, of course that resonated with me. I actually expect to be seeing a lot more “we’re killing the planet” themed films in the near future. They’ll probably keep coming out on the big screen, right up to the day where we implode and whiter away.

Where the movie bummed me out though was in its pedestrian screenplay. It was clearly a film that was supposed to sport depth and substance. But it went about it in such a simpleton, face-value and one dimensional way that none of it had any impact on me. Same went for how the “alien” being was being convinced that we deserve to live. Either the alien was a dumbass or we the audience were expected to be the dumbasses in buying this drivel. Too freaking slim to be credible in light of the dire situation at hand. Last and certainly not least, Jaden Smith painfully followed in his daddy’s footsteps of being F*CKING MADDENING in a sci-fi film. His character was written as a KING KONG BRAT, his presence irritated me the whole way (the fact that he didn’t bring much to the storyline didn’t help either) and I can’t count the times I literally yelled out “shut your pie hole” at the screen. Yes I was talking to Jaden’s character. Kids today man… no respect.

All in all; this was my experience with THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL: I sat down, I watched it, was mildly entertained throughout, it ended, I looked back at it and the more I did, the more I forgot about it… what film am I talking about again? EXACTLY! See it on DVD.
GORE
Cuts and bruises aside, nothing to write home about.
ACTING
Keanu Reeves (Klaatu) had the right look, chops and feel for the role. Dug him! Jennifer Connelly (Helen) was credible and looked yummy great. The camera simply loves her! In IMAX, it loves her even more!. Kathy Bates (Regina) was on the ball as usual. Jaden Smith (Jacob) was actually good at what he had to do – too bad what he had to do was be a class-less, whining and rude brat, hence pissing me off non stop!
T & A
Can somebody tell me where Jennifer Connelly’s tits went? I miss them! Back to Career Opportunities I go! The ladies get a strategically positioned nude Reeves.
DIRECTING
Scott Derrikson blew me away with his stylish shot compositions, smooth camera movements and the oppressive atmosphere he and his DOP managed to inject within the film. Sweet!
SOUNDTRACK
Tyler Bates put out a bleak and menacing score that worked this one’s skirt real good.
BOTTOM LINE

Should’ve called this STARMAN meets WAR OF THE WORLDS blend THE DAY THE SCRIPT STOOD STILL. Cause beyond a strong idea, good actors, a couple of gnarly action bits and gorgeous visuals; this baby had little to offer. The depth, smarts and meat that this story begged for was painfully absent and that’ was a damn shame. Could’ve been something if the script was fleshed out further than the easy and obvious. And yes, I have to say it again Jaden Smith’s “nothing an early spanking wouldn’t have solved” role was not only trivial but GRATING beyond belief. I’d rather lock myself up in a mental ward filled with cackling loonies than have to endure that role/performance ever again…AWWW HELLL NO!

BULL'S EYE
Tyler Bates recomposed Bernard Herrmann's original score (found in the 1951 version) for this remake.

Both the original and the remake were based off the short story 'Farewell to the Master' by Harry Bates.

Jennifer Connelly was Scott Derrickson's first choice while Keanu Reeves was producer Erwin Stoff's first and sole choice to play Klaatu.

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