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New movie reviews for Eagle County

Charlie Owen
Vail, CO, Colorado
cowen@vaildaily.com
Special to the Daily
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As a remake of the cult-classic sci-fi film, this version of “The Day The Earth Stood Still” isn’t nearly as good as the original. As an updated revision, its themes of human self-destruction, over-consumption of the earth’s natural resources and America’s unfriendly environmental policies are as timely as ever. Unfortunately, the 2008 version of the movie pussyfoots around the issues in an effort to please audience members who can’t be bothered to think about ecosystems or lowering carbon footprints while at the same time trying to make us feel guilty about the way we live our lives. In what other movie can you have a hyper-intelligent alien race come to Earth to warn us about global warming while at the same time making product placements for McDonald’s and expensive SUVs?

But that’s exactly what happens. An alien named Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) is sent to our planet ” which we later find out isn’t our planet after all ” in human form to warn us of our impending doom at the hands of a superior race. Apparently they’re tired of watching us destroy one of the few planets in the universe that can support intelligent life, so they’re going to make sure we can’t do it in anymore by wiping us out.

Astrobiologist Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) befriends Klaatu and helps him escape from our government, thinking he’s on our side when it soon becomes clear he may not be. Kathy Bates plays Secretary of Defense Regina Jackson who wants nothing more than to see Klaatu contained so the government can “extract” answers from him about why he’s here and what his plans are.



Unfortunately, anybody out to hurt Klaatu has to deal with Gort, a giant robot sent to earth to protect Klaatu from violence and to eventually become the agent of destruction for humans all over the planet. But in the meantime it’s up to Benson, and her stepson Jacob (Jaden Smith), to convince Klaatu that humans can change if given a chance, that it’s never too late for a race of people to learn to do the right thing.

Aside from some cool special effects involving Gort in a fight against tanks and jets, and some creepy scenes with the emotionless Klaatu, the film is exactly what you’d expect ” a PG-13 remake without bite. It’s dark and bland with only a few action scenes to save the movie from completely sinking into a sea of boredom. The acting is generally atrocious. Why the usually stellar Bates signed up for a movie where she is outacted by Will Smith’s 10-year-old son is beyond me.



“As you wish, Mr. President.” Come on. With lines like that in the script, she should be ashamed of herself for even considering the role. And poor Connelly is just way too talented to even be involved with this project, but she does her best not to outshine the rest of the cast anyway.

If the commercials with the giant robot make this movie too much for you to resist, you can at least watch the original to get a frame of reference. “The Day The Earth Stood Still” is a mediocre remake of a classic that goes heavy on special effects and light on the important stuff ” like a script and a meaningful stop-destroying-the-earth-before-we-no-longer-have-a-planet-to-live-on message.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.



Rated: PG-13

Directed by: Scott Derrickson

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Jaden Smith, Kathy Bates


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