Those of you who have been following along will recall that the original 1951 release of the “The Day The Earth Stood Still” was one of Townsend Brown’s favorite movies. The story is he shut his lab down for an afternoon so that everybody could go see the film together.
But it’s hard to imagine what he would think of the remake, which opens nationwide today:
So far, the reviews I have read have not been kind. Typical is this synopsis from A. O. Scott of The New York Times:
Long after we are gone, science fiction movies about our impending extinction will instruct whoever comes next that we were a strange, neurotic species indeed. We could not — cannot — get enough of fantasies of destruction, meant at once to inflame and soothe our fear of vanishing altogether. We know we have it coming, and a movie like “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” either in its 1951 version or in this “reimagining,” invites us to feel fleetingly bad about that even as we are encouraged to laugh it off. Any hope that the new “Day,” directed by Scott Derrickson from a script by David Scarpa, might also someday rise above its pulpy, corny, somber silliness rests mainly on the shoulders of Keanu Reeves. Those shoulders are perfect for filling out a dark, narrow suit, just as Mr. Reeves’s deadpan basso and permanently perplexed features make him an ideal Klaatu, as the space visitor is called. Klaatu’s job is to assist, calmly and methodically, in the extermination of the human race, a task he tries, with evident fatigue, to explain to his hysterical, violent would-be victims.
The good news I did not know until I looked at the clip on YouTube is that one of the stars of the film is Jennifer Connolly. Who needs plot, theme, or production values when you can sit in a darkened room and look at her for two hours… ?