Starring: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connolly, Kathy Bates, John Cleese, Jaden Smith

Director: Scott Derrickson

Screenplay: David Scarpa, Edmund H. North

Cinematography: David Tattersall

Original Score: Tyler Bates

Running Time: 103 mins.

Two things you need to know regarding my review of TDTESS, 1.) I’m a big Keanu Reeves fan and think he’s highly under-rated as an actor, and 2.) I’m well aware this is a remake but have never seen the original, nor know any details about it so couldn’t tell you how different or similar each is. The only thing I do know is each has a giant Robot and the immortal words “Klaatu baradu nikto” (whatever it means) are uttered!

So The Day The Earth Stood Still 2008, held back from critics until its release, which is never a good sign, but, my hopes remained upheld and from the trailer footage i had faith we were in for a thrilling sci-fi special effects spectacular, something akin to The Day After Tomorrow meets Independence Day. Alas it turns out, the signs were two thirds right, while not the disaster that may have been expected it is a very much under whelming filmic experience that never quite reaches its peak, in fact it was more The Happening meets Neo from The Matrix!

Many would argue Reeves was born to play the role of an alien, the vacant unblinking expression, flat delivery of lines etc etc. and the truth is yes he can do all of these things evidently very well, and are a perfect fit for Klaatu, the alien whom has inhabited Reeves body. One of the very few things the film has going for it is, ironically, the humanity Reeves brings to Klaatu, we can believe in his plight. You see Klaatu has come to destroy the Earth in giant orb with a giant robot and millions of bugs that descimate all before them.

It all starts well enough, the prologue, the build up to the orb landing, G.O.R.T. shutting all technology down, problem is the build up is for nothing, and that is the films biggest flaw, it simply feels like the build up to an action packed climax that never happens. Not a single scene could be classed as an action scene, a huge problem when your film is being pushed as the new Independence Day. No gun fights, no alian attacj, the closest we get are some perfectly passable shots of stadiums and building turning to dust, an effect that was done so much better in War Of The Worlds.

Of the cast, aside from Reeves who makes the most of his character Connolly is less irritating than usual but is simply the mother in peril, and Jaden (son of Will) Smith, shows that maybe he has inherited his dads talent, demonstrating how to act on the right side of cute without being annoying. John Cleese pops up for a pointless two minutes while Kathy Bates barely registers. In fact the whole thing seems pretty much on auto-pilot, no sense of urgency or spectacle is ever neared, bringing me to the comparisons with M. Night Shyamalans god-awful The Happening. Obviously this isn’t anywhere near THAT bad, not much is, but it shared that films lack of narrative drive striving for an answer to apocalypse from what seems like very little danger! Though thankfully robots and bugs are slightly more creepy than the wid and trees!

 On the bright side Director Derickson delivers some good shots, and as I said before the effects are good given the film hardly had a record breaking budget. But surely in this post-Lord Of The Rings day and age we deserve more than naff Christmas films and weak Summer cast offs, quite frankly The Hobbit cant come soon enough to rescue the festive season!


I wanted it to be good, I wanted to love it, but it simply feels like the firt twenty minutes of a much better film spread to 100 minutes, with pap filling the gaps and a smattering of good (albeit, seen-it-all-before) effects! Keanu makes a good alien though, but we already knew that.