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Keanu Barada Nikto

December 24, 2008

If you’re a fan of classic sci-fi, you can probably tell I recently went to see The Day the Earth Stood Still (remake).  I’ve waited a few days to cool down before writing a brief review.  The operative phrase here is ‘fan of classic sci-fi’, meaning that if you want to modernize a remake, then modernize the remake.  Instead, the producers just created Day After Tomorrow II, masquerading as a remake of TDTESS.

I did appreciate attempts to explain how an alien being goes through the process to take on a human form in order to communicate with the species.  I suppose it does make sense that Klaatu would have a flat, almost deadpan personality since the subtle nuances of human emotion would be difficult to comprehend.  Let’s also go out on a limb and give Reeves reasonable marks for a good performance in this regard.

I also appreciated the chalkboard scene reappearing in the remake as that was one of my favorite scenes in the original.  Speaking of appearing in the original, the producers have been rightfully skewered in reviews for not making the safe phrase ‘barada nikto’ more prevalent in the remake.  That’s kind of like making a Superman movie without the ‘S’ symbol on his chest.

Supposedly, it’s there, right after Klaatu is shot by the dumb-ass military (didn’t they see the original?), just before Gort starts to open a can of cosmic whoop-ass.  But, it was mechanically dubbed in a manner that is almost unrecognizable.  And, some research indicated that it was not even in the original remake script.  How can you even approach a remake with this attitude?

Also gone in the remake’s script is the fundamental concept of the original in that it is the human’s potential to spread their destructive tendencies into space (and hence other planets) that is the reason behind the alien’s intervention.  Very timely in the original as it tied the fear of nuclear proliferation into the birth of the space age.  Also possibly timely in the remake given the plans to return to the moon and use that as a base of operations for both mineral extraction and missions to Mars.

Instead, Klaatu just swoops into NY ready to start the extermination process.  Just get rid of those pesky humans.  But wait, let’s check in with my homie that’s been here for a few decades just to see what’s up.   Well hold on there … if he’s been here all that time, couldn’t he just file a final report while Klaatu was en route (or before he left)?   And what up with the meeting at Mickey D’s?  If you want to exterminate the humans, forget GORT, just let them continue eating McFood.  Might take longer, but it will get the job done.

And, this time around, GORT is named by the humans, not the aliens.  Apparently, he’s been taking steroids since the 1950’s as well and can decompose himself into nanobots.  Pretty iteresting, but not enough to overcome some of the terrible characters (i.e. the kid – you know what I’m talking about if you wasted $$$ on this flick) and what is probably the worst sci-fi remake since Lost in Space (which should have never been remade in the first place).   The Earth ‘standing still’ was implemented almost as an afterthought in the remake instead of the high point of the original (in which it was brilliantly implemented).

So, if you are a fan of classic sci-fi and have not seen the flick, then I just gave you the safe-phrase (Keanu Barada Nikto) and saved you from some disappointment.  Spend your money this Christmas season on helping someone in need instead of this flick.  Maybe it will keep Klaatu and Gort away a while longer🙂

  1. December 24, 2008 at 11:17 am

    too late, i went & saw this last week (just had to). i completely agree w/your review especially the II bit, that freaking kid (what parent, step or otherwise, raises an obnoxious twit like that) & WTF was up w/that old guy alien operative, like what was the point of all that.

    on the plus side it forced me to order the original just to get the taste of this out of my mouth.

  2. December 25, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Thanks for the heads-up! Was pretty tempted by the fact that it’s playing in IMAX here, 3D I think. But hey, the original was just on cable, so TiVo caught it. Maybe I’ll watch that this weekend!

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