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THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (2008)
DVD Review by David Blackwell
 
DETAILS:   104 minutes, audio commentary, deleted scenes, stills gallery, making of documentary, featurettes, theatrical trailer, didgital copy, 1951 version of film
VIDEO:  2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO:  English 5.1, French, Spanish Dolby Surround
Subtitles:  English, Spanish
 
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox/ Earth Canada Productions
DVD RELEASE DATE:  4-7-2009

If an advanced alien civilization came to our world and intended to destroy us, it is very certain we might have no chance. In the remake of the classic THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, energy spheres land on Earth. The US government thinks it may be an invasion and learn this could be the endgame for the human race. Keanu Reeves is the very alien Klaatu. His body may be human, but everything else is different. He has come to decide whether the human race is worth saving or should be destroyed to save the planet Earth. A lone scientist, Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly), decides to help Klaatu and she is fought every step by her step-son Jacob (Jaden Smith) who thinks he should be destroyed. In the original, the boy formed a relationship with Klaatu while the remake has the kid at odds with Klaatu (blaming the world for his death of his Dad and feeling like he is all alone).

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL remake offers a harsh reality where paranoia, panic, and the end of days is all too real if an alien race wanted to destroy us. Gort is a giant robot who can turn into a nanite swarm that can devour anything in it's path. The remake presents a choice that means sacrifice while the original presents a warning. The first version came out of the nuclear scare times of the cold War in the 1950s where the remake is all about the environment. THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL is definitely a much better film that THE HAPPENING. It also meets the basic rules of a remake- it has to offer something new and still be recognizable. The remake does both while leaving everything standing still in the end. Whether film goers and fans of the original will love or hate it is up to them.

The big problem that everyone has noticed is how the film ends. Klaatu doesn't deliver a message. The message is dropped at the end and making you wonder what was the point anyway of this remake. It provides more lead into the introduction of Klaatu before turning into a chase movie as Benson tries to convince Klaatu not to destroy Earth while Gort decides to become a swarm. Yes, I said swarm! Should Gort had more of a presence in this fim like the original? mAYBE. Do I miss the way the first one ended? yep. The remake gets caught up too much in the action thriller mode by the end.  It is a shame since the remake does have many interesting ideas. I wonder what Klaatu and Gort would think of the remake's ending. Would they think it delivered a message or just dropped the ball?  However, I did like the film better teh second time around since this remake is meant to be a little bit different from the original.  It does succeed on that front.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
Screenwriter David Scapra has recorded an audio commentary for the film.
 
The three deleted scenes amount to little things cut for pacing and don't add much to the film (stuff from near the beginning of the film).
 
RE-IMAGINING THE DAY is an intresting documentary that features interviews with cast and crew as they talk about Fox wanting to do a remake since the first film came out, the script, the casting, and the visual effects.
UNLEASHING GORT is a very interesting featurette as the discussion in redesigning Gort shows lots of concept art of how they could have changed gort before they finally figured it out that Gort's look was iconic and it had to reflect the look of the robot of the 1951 film.
 
WATCHING THE SKIES: IN SEARCH OF EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE features interviews from experts on looking for life on other planets (through SETI and the space missions)and a look at UFOS.
 
Also on the first disc are still galleries, the original theatrical trailer, and art from the Gort art contest.
 
On disc two is the digital copy of the remake for your Windows Media Player and iTunes devices.
 
Disc three has the original 1951 version of the film.  Too bad Fox couldn't have included a disc with extras and not just the film (even the disc says not for individual sale).
 
FINAL ANALYSIS:  The three disc edition is a little overbloated even though it is nice to have a copy of the original included (minus extras sadly).  I don't care about the digital copy.  However, the first disc is filled with nice extras and teh remake is better on a second viewing.
 
this DVD review is (c)4-9-2009 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com