The Day the Earth Stood Still
starring Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Kathy Bates, Jaden Smith, John Cleese and James Hong
screenplay by David Scarpa
directed by Scott Derrickson
Based on the screenplay by Edmund H. North and Harry Bates, this is good science fiction. I like science fiction when it is good, which it rarely is. Of course, it is a re-make of the 1951 movie directed by Robert Wise. It compares rather well. In 1951 a robot alien visits the Earth with the message that humanity must learn to livein peace or else be destroyed as a danger to other planets. In this re-make, Keanu Reeves tells us that we must be destroyed because we are destroying the Earth, one of only a few planets capable of supporting complex life, and that that cannot be allowed. Reeves alien character is named Klaatu - no, it isn’t the secretive 1970s band that everyone thought was The Beatles clandestinely reunited (or, maybe that was just me). When Klaatu says that he has come to “save the Earth,” it is interpreted with typical human hubris as meaning that he has come to save humanity. But when the true meaning is revealed, I thought to myself, “Aha!! I hate it when they stick this contemporary environmental crap into a good old story. I guess it’s inevitable, though, just to keep the story relevant. I’m happy when it’s done successfully, which this film does.