PCR past banners
Now in our ninth calendar year!
PCR #455 (Vol. 9, No. 50) This edition is for the week of December 8--14, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The Day the Earth Stood Still"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

"The Day the Earth Stood Still"  by Mike Smith
Time Warp Toy Box '08: Part 2  by ED Tucker
They Were Who We Thought They Were? .... Give That Man A Raise! .... Graham Harrell .... Arena Football: Dead Or Alive? .... Barry Melrose At It Again .... Nfl Picks .... ....  by Chris Munger
Oscars .... Greedy Bastard .... Dead .... Next Year's Series .... .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For Should Have Gone To...  by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2008
Archives 2007
Archives 2006
Archives 2005
Archives 2004
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
Email PCR

20th Century Fox     
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Jaden Smith and Kathy Bates
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 43 mins

Why us? Why is it that every time an alien or space ship or runaway asteroid head to earth they make it a habit of making the good ol’ US of A their first stop? And always someplace well populated. Is the desert not secret enough for them? And seriously, don’t other countries have huge land areas that can easily accommodate a space ship or two? OK, I feel better.

India. 1928. A group of mountain climbers are….well….climbing up a mountain. After setting up camp for the night one of the men (Reeves with a beard) is drawn outside by an unusual sound. Climbing up a few feet he finds himself face to face with a large, glowing sphere. Curious he touches it. Next morning he seems fine. Except for the small scar on his hand. Flash forward 80 years later. A group of the nation’s top scientists, including Helen Benson (Connelly) have been summoned to an army base in New Jersey and are told that a huge “something” is on a collision course with earth and is scheduled to hit Manhattan (see what I mean) in the next seventy eight minutes. Talk about short notice. While our military readies itself a large, colorful sphere, MUCH bigger then the one in India, lands in Central Park (here we go again). Surrounded by our army, a being enters and approaches Helen in friendship, only to be shot by a trigger happy G.I.

Based on the 1951 screenplay by Edward North, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” is a hodgepodge of famous faces in famous places asking one thing: can’t we all just get along? Connelly and Smith play mother and step son, a modern nuclear family without the dad, killed recently in Iraq. Like most 10 year old boys, Smith misses his pop and is very moody because of his absence. Connelly plays Helen as the most cautious of moms, scared to let her son try to grow up, especially when he’s wary too. Smith (who was so good opposite his father, Will, in last year’s “Pursuit of Happyness”) really has nothing here to do except pout. And he’s so unsympathetic that you don’t really care if he gets “introduced” to the new guy or not. As Klaatu, the mild mannered yet easily upsetable visitor, Reeve is very straight forward and unemotional, more like the “robot Ted” from “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey” then a highly sophisticated “visitor.” The rest of the cast, including Bates as the secretary of defense and Kyle Chandler as a government flunky fare much better, as does “Mad Men” star John Hamm, who seems to have a pretty promising career ahead of him.

The special effects are fine, though not as spectacular as one would expect from a film depicting the possible end of civilization. And the giant monolith that is sent along for the ride to protect Klaatu resembles “Iron Man,” both in look and actions. At least the filmmakers tried to add a reminder of what a great movie should be. Too bad nobody took the hint. On a scale of zero to four stars I give “The Day the Earth Stood Still”


This week's movie review of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.