THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL
Exciting, Emotional, Intriguing
Release Date: December 12, 2008
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer
Connolly, Jaden Smith, John
Cleese, Jon Hamm, Kyle
Chandler, Kathy Bates, James
Hong, and Robert Knepper
Genre: Science Fiction/Thriller
Runtime: 103 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox/News Corp.
Director: Scott Derrickson
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Erwin Stoff, Paul Boardman and
Writer: David Scarpa
Address Comments To:Rupert Murdoch, Chairman/CEO of News Corp.
Peter Chernin, President/COO of The Fox Group
Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos, Chairmen/CEO
Fox Filmed Entertainment
20th Century Fox Film Corp.
(Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox Atomic)
10201 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 369-1000
The movie starts in 1928. An alien biosphere craft confronts a mountain climber in the Himalayas. Years later, a scientist named Helen, who studies astrobiology, is suddenly pulled from her home and from her stepson by Homeland Security for seemingly no reason at all. She is forced on a helicopter with other scientists. Eventually, the U.S. authorities tell her that an alien ship is heading toward Earth.
They bring Helen to Manhattan, just as the ship lands in Central Park. When the alien steps out of the ship to shake hands with her, he is shot. His giant protective robot, named Gort, disables all of the army’s weapons, hurting many of the soldiers.
The alien is whisked to a military hospital, where it is found that his eerie sci-fi movie appearance is merely a placenta adhesive, inside of which is a developing, full-grown human being. Hurrying to the hospital, the Secretary of State tells her staff that, any time where a more advanced civilization encounters a less advanced civilization, it kills or enslaves the less advanced civilization. When he awakens, the Secretary of State confronts the alien. The alien, whose name is Klaatu, wants to speak at the United Nations to all humanity. The Secretary of State, however, decides he needs to held in high security and interrogated. Helen does not like this idea and helps Klaatu escape alone. He finds her and the chase begins, with Helen, her estranged stepson Jacob and Klaatu running from the authorities.
Klaatu says he came to save the Earth. By his actions, it’s soon revealed that he came to save the Earth from mankind. Helen begs him to give mankind one more chance. Her friend, Professor Bernhard, explains to Klaatu that human beings only evolve at the point of crisis. Evidently, the same thing happened to Klaatu’s own civilization. They changed only when confronted by their dying sun.
Klaatu says he cannot stop the destruction of mankind. Many alien biospheres around the world are gathering animals to protect them from the deluge, like Noah Arks. The deluge is Gort, who transforms into millions of tiny mechanical insects that devour everything. So, the question becomes, will Klaatu destroy the world or will mankind change.
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL is an intensely thrilling movie. Like any big popcorn movie, there are some plot holes. Prof. Bernhard is studying the evolution of altruism. This amused the other critics at the screening.
That said, the characters are very appealing and emotionally involving. Jeopardy and danger are consistent throughout the movie.
Although the movie has a light environmentalist worldview, it is really Klaatu (who is willing to kill humanity to save the planet) who is the villain. And, it is Dr. Helen Benson (who shows love, understanding and compassion) who is the heroine.
There are several overt references to faith, images of people praying and crosses on graves in THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, many more references than the orginal. And, there are several clear, redemptive, sacrificial moments. These moments of faith and values confront the environmentalist storyline that explicitly proposes a mechanistic, naturalistic explanation of human advancement. Like WALL*E, this movie can be interpreted in different ways. All this is not surprising since the director proclaims himself to be a Christian while the other filmmakers express environmentalist concerns in the production notes.
The good news is that there is very little foul language and no sex in the movie. Klaatu, the alien, is born as a full-grown human being, so he is naked, but nothing salacious is visible. The movie does have lots of thrills and some scary moments. The most frightening are the little mechanical insects that burrow into people and destroy them from the inside out, with blood dripping from their noses and ears. Klaatu does heal a seveeral people, however, although he uses his advanced abilities, not spiritual power derived from God.
One could make an allegory that Klaatu is a Christ figure coming to judge the Earth after mankind has befouled and destroyed it. Regrettably, he doesn’t have the love, compassion and attachment to his creation that Christ had, so this analogy only goes so far. Even so, pointing out the analogy could get people into a conversation about who is the real Savior and the real Judge.
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL is one of the best movies of the year. It is worth watching by more mature audiences. However, please be media wise about the movie’s false environmentalist messages.
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL is intensely thrilling. The characters are very appealing and emotionally involving. Jeopardy and danger are consistent throughout the plot. Despite an environmentalist worldview and some references to evolution, the movie contains strong redemptive qualities of self-sacrifice, loving others, faith, prayer, and church. There is very little foul language and no sex, but there is strong, sometimes scary violence. This is one of the best movies of the year aimed at mature audiences. However, please be media wise about the movie’s false environmentalist messages.