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A Reel Life film section

Summer 2008-9

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) movie review

Alien Visitor Revisited: Drugs, Lies and Violence

"National security? That just means what you want it to mean."

The spectacular arrival of extra-terrestrial visitors sparks a rapid response from the political and military forces, especially in the United States. Can a people who conquered without conscience expect better treatment from others?

A remake of the cold-war classic this film illustrates the point made many years ago by Philip Strick -- that science fiction tells more about the time in which it is made than the time in which it is set.

Contemporary America responds with extraordinary protocols, government mobilisations anticipating ill-usage and ready to respond to the possibility of a threat with the maximum fire power and the minimum of, for want of a better phrase, humanity and the spirit of good will.

Movie poster, The Day the Earth Stood Still; Festivale film review

Movie poster, The Day the Earth Stood Still; Festivale film review

12.12.08 is the Day the Earth Stood Still

Scientist: They didn't come here to hurt us.
Child: We should kill them anyway just to make sure.

A lovely scientist and single mother with, a child who has embraced the war-mongering ideal, must convince the visitors to Earth that the continued existence of the human race is not the waste of an otherwise good planet.

The heavy special effects budget outweighs the human elements of the film -- despite clear dialogue the spectacle distracts from the tale. The central premise of the story is that any species will only change (for the better) if taken to the precipice. Sounds like an excuse to keep the DVD player running and mind and moral compass left in the off position.

Pacey and interesting, although possibly not as thought-provoking and startling as the original. Two tellings so far haven't brought insight.

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by Ali Kayn
Due for Australian release 26 Dec 2008
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.

See also:

Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Just the facts:

Title: The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
Written by: David Scarpa (screenplay) Edmund H. North (1951 screenplay) 'Farewell to the Master' by Harry Bates (short story)
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
running time: 104 mins
rating: M

The Players: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Kathy Bates, John Cleese,

Official website:
IMDb entry

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