Alright, so we are moving on to the Sci-Fi entry of our Calendar cycle and watching a film that has been on the BMT radar for years. Mostly this is due to its star, who is bad movie royalty. That’s right, we’re watching The Day the Earth Stood Still starring Keanu Reeves. It was released on December 12th, 2008 beating out the likes of Exodus: Gods and Kings, Love Don’t Cost a Thing, For Richer or Poorer, Home Alone 3, The Golden Child, and Delgo for a place on the calendar. Wow! That’s a murderers row. I’m actually surprised that we ended up going with The Day the Earth Stood Still for December 12th. Delgo is one of the biggest bombs in film history and has terrible reviews to boot. It’s a good thing though because our calendar is lacking in Sci-Fi. Without further ado, let’s go!
The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) – BMeTric: 48.6
(Pretty boring BMeTric plot, but look, we found one! It’s been a while, but this is a movie which starts basically above its eventual mean rating and moves down. If you remember the regression plot 6.0 to start is pretty much the crossover point, so while this is well within normal expectations we could be seeing a bit of a Transformers effect. A movie which gets a bad reputation which drives its rating downwards (unusual for bad movies). The amount of votes this movie got is also startling, for such a giant domestic bomb I find that a little strange.)
Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Strange visitor from another planet arrives on Earth in a giant sphere and adopts human form. The government and the military respond with hostility and weapons but super-smart biologist Connelly makes a personal connection with the alien – though her young stepson (Smith) isn’t as easily won over. Pallis remake of the 1951 classic turns Klaatu into a cipher and dissipates the impact of the story.
(Having already watched the original in preparation for the remake I’m not sure I like that they seem to have merged the female lead and the mathematician into a single character (Connelly). I feel like that dissipates the impact of the story.)
(Daaaaannnnnggggggg! They made it a straight action film. That’s unsurprising, but the original is more like a Hitchcock film, so I was kind of expecting and hoping for a suspenseful thriller. Oh well.)
Directors – Scott Derrickson – (Known For: Sinister; The Exorcism of Emily Rose; BMT: The Day the Earth Stood Still; Deliver Us from Evil; Notes: Officially in the Marvel Universe fold as he is directing and writing the Doctor Strange film.)
Writers – David Scarpa (screenplay) – (Known For: The Last Castle; BMT: The Day the Earth Stood Still; Notes: Has been attached to write a Daredevil reboot and currently involved in writing a Cleopatra film.)
Edmund H. North (1951 screenplay) – (Known For: Patton; The Day the Earth Stood Still; In a Lonely Place; Sink the Bismarck!; Damn the Defiant!; One Night of Love; BMT: The Day the Earth Stood Still; Meteor; Notes: Won a screenwriting Oscar for Patton. Died in 1990 at age 79.)
Actors – Keanu Reeves – (Known For: Keanu; The Neon Demon; John Wick; The Matrix; Point Break; The Devil’s Advocate; Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure; Dracula; The Replacements; The Matrix Reloaded; Constantine; Speed; Something’s Gotta Give; Much Ado About Nothing; Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; The Gift; A Scanner Darkly; My Own Private Idaho; Parenthood; Dangerous Liaisons; A Walk in the Clouds; The Private Lives of Pippa Lee; Man of Tai Chi; BMT: Knock Knock; The Day the Earth Stood Still; Even Cowgirls Get the Blues; Exposed; The Watcher; Johnny Mnemonic; Chain Reaction; Generation Um…; Feeling Minnesota; 47 Ronin; Youngblood; Hard Ball; Notes: Obviously huge actor in the BMTverse. Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2005 for Worst Razzie Loser of Our First 25 Years; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2002 for Worst Actor for Hard Ball, and Sweet November; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Supporting Actor for The Watcher; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1997 for Worst Actor for Chain Reaction; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1996 for Worst Actor for Johnny Mnemonic, and A Walk in the Clouds; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1994 for Worst Supporting Actor for Much Ado About Nothing;)
Also starring Jennifer Connelly (from BMT classic Winter’s Tale) and Kathy Bates – (from BMT Classics: Tammy, North, Failure to Launch, Valentine’s Day, and American Outlaws! She’s a secret BMT legend!)
Budget/Gross – $80 million / Domestic: $79,366,978 (Worldwide: $233,093,859)
(Fairly successful for what it was. Opened with a reasonable $30.4 million and then dropped like a rock.)
#8 for the Environmentalist genre – Movies concerned with the cause or promoting it.
(Anyone else find it funny that the waves seem to follow Democratic presidents almost perfectly? Doesn’t bode well for those fearing a Trump presidency, looks like environmentalism in film is out at the moment. This one came literally at the peak of environmentalism oriented films)
#117 for the IMAX (Feature-length) genre
(I almost didn’t even generate this one, but this is amazing! First how it just goes up and up. Second, because of how stable the monetary output from IMAX movies has been. If only all the genre plots had this much data too, so smooth and nice to look at.)
#21 for the Sci-Fi – Alien Invasion genre
(The big peak around ‘95 is obviously Independence Day. Seems like a rare case because this movie kind of came right as the genre was rising. We are coming down from a big peak (like Battle Los Angeles, Skyline, and Cowboys and Aliens from a few years back), but I’m wondering if the new Independence Day pulls a Jurassic World whether we might see that trend change a bit).
#8 for the Sci-Fi Remake genre
(I love the remake categories because you can see the “waves” as remakes are used in between (presumably) times in which more original properties are made. This is kind of messy, but as usual this movie comes as the back end of one of these waves, although the money always seems to be there for the sci fi remakes maybe. We seem to be entering one of the short troughs at the moment perhaps)
Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (40/191): Heavy on special effects, but without a coherent story at its base, The Day the Earth Stood Still is subpar re-imagining of the 1951 science-fiction classic.
(That’s funny that they remade a classic film (that clearly has a coherent story) and seemingly removed or ignored the story in favor of special effects. That sounds like a terrible idea.)
Poster – The Day the Sklog Stood Still (D-)
(Dear God. The only thing good about this is the green and blue tone. Otherwise this is an absolute disaster. Only didn’t get an F because it’s not the poster for The Avengers.)
Tagline(s) – 12.12.08 is the Day the Earth Stood Still (F)
(That’s an F, as in fuck that noise.)
Notes – Renowned astronomer Seth Shostak was hired as a consultant on the film. He reviewed the script several times for errors, and gave suggestions for making the scientists less dry: “Real scientists don’t describe an object entering the solar system as ‘notable for the fact that it was not moving in an asteroidal ellipse, but moving at nearly 3*10 to the 7 meters per second’. More likely, they would say that there was ‘a god-damned rock headed our way!'” He also noted the scientists should refer to one another by a first name basis. (This could be our jobs I feel like. Because he isn’t wrong. I never walked around calling my coworkers doctor. The notes make perfect sense, although probably would seem comedic and strange in a Sci Fi film).
In the original movie, Gort was 8 feet tall. In the remake, he is now 28 feet tall. (Which seems like a strange move to me, just why? It begs the question).
In Harry Bates’ short story ‘Farewell to the Master’, upon which the movie is based, the last line revealed a dramatically different angle. It reads: “‘You misunderstand,’ the mighty robot had said. ‘I am the master.'” (yeah, and the original adaptation totally ignored this as well… obviously the new one wasn’t based on the story. It’s based on the film, duh.)
Keanu Reeves recorded the line “Klaatu barada nikto” twice, and one recording was played backward and spliced with the other (which was left normal) to make the overall dialog sound more otherworldly.
According to the filmmakers, John Cleese was the most difficult choice in casting as he was primarily noted for comic roles. Cleese felt that at his age, a dramatic role with subtle humour would be an easier role to play rather than another manic old man.
The film was primarily filmed in tones of green and blue, the Earth’s natural colours.
Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel