Day the Earth Stood Still, The

How do you make a Sci-fi movie these days? 1 oz super powerful aliens, 1 oz environmental message, shake well, garnish with nanomachines.

Everything goes to hell the day astrobiologist Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) summons the Goblin King to take her son (Jaden Smith) away. Instead, she gets Klaatu (Keanu Reeves), who doesn't take the child, but rather decides it’s time to wipe out humanity to preserve the Earth. He doesn’t even sing about it, which is kind of a bummer.

Klaatu shows up in a rubber organic space suit, and some idiot decides the best way to communicate with a brand new life form is with a bullet. This pisses off a giant Sentinel thing and sends out a wave of pain, giving the unarmed people a chance to medevac the alien before it molts into Keanu Reeves. Klaatu then has a meeting  with the Secretary of Defense (Kathy Bates), who finds that while he’s not openly hostile, he doesn’t recognize that Earth belongs to humanity. Turns out all this polluting we’ve been doing is bad, and somewhere there is a council of beings who aren’t too happy about it, as the number of planets in the universe that can support complex life is quite limited.

The fact that this never seen council even thinks that shows the screenwriter did his job. The dialogue is sharply written and well delivered, and they also didn’t do anything stupid like cast Tara Reid or Denise Richards as scientists. It’s pretty fascinating to see a believable sequence of events that may surround an alien encounter. This is embodied in the performance by Kathy Bates, who accuses the alien who just landed on earth-you know from another galaxy-of violating U.S. air space. Yeah. Not seeing the big picture. The second time she says that historically, when two civilizations meet, the more primitive one is either enslaved or destroyed. Now you’ll pardon me, but if a super-advanced alien race gave us the option, I’d vote for enslavement and immediately begin planning a Spartacus. Pick you battles, I say. But I digress.

So Klaatu meets with his contact, an operative who has lived on Earth for 70 years and the dude pretty much says, "yeah, wipe out humanity, except that I lurv them, and you’ll never understand." This conversation is mostly in Chinese, and Reeves shows that his accent is quite impeccable.

The rest of the movie is more or less Klaatu learning what love is so he will spare humanity from a nasty death by nanomachines. There are a few veryeffective scenes, and some more good acting from Jaden Smith, but really it's just sitting through one boring-as-crackers effects sequence after another to see how they arrive at the conclusion we all know is coming. So while It's is pretty well done, it has a heavy-handed seriousness (John Cleese even makes an appearance that doesn’t involve being funny). but with the right crowd you’ll probably be able to pull some laughs from the material. Professional Cavalcaders only need apply.

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