Category Archives: the day the earth stood still
One of the finest actresses of her era, Patricia Neal was noted for performances in The Fountainhead, the original The Day the Earth Stood Still, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hud for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress, and one of my favorite films, A Face in the Crowd.
She was also a star of Broadway and television as well, winning awards in both arenas. As well as the parts she did play, Neal was also noted for those she did not – she turned down the role of Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate and was unable to play the mother in “The Waltons” for health reasons.
Her personal life was plagued by both health problems and drama. Her affair with the much older and married Gary Cooper caused a feeding frenzy in the press of the day, and her turbulent marriage to author Roald Dahl ended in divorce after thirty years. These events however are overhsadowed by all of her good work over the years for various charities.
We have another one of the greats of Hollywood. Patricia Neal will be missed.
To my mind there are only a few reasons for a remake. The update – the film needs a retelling because the original is dated and makes less sense because of it. Technology – the special effects can now be done better because the technology has arrived to do so. And finally, a new twist – something so original, some new factor that spins the first version on its head, hopefully to a superior fashion. The Day the Earth Stood Still for 2008 does none of these.
The remake twists the original story in a new direction, a politically correct green one. The human race is killing the Earth, so aliens (well, only a couple, really) come down to set things straight and exterminate the pests (us). Really, not the best of plots, a bit of a cliché with some light global warming seasoning thrown in, but that’s what the producers have done to us this time.
The cast is a mixed bag with Kathy Bates revisiting the evil well for her role as a maniacal Presidential aide and Jennifer Connolly completely wasted except as eye candy. This must have been one hell of a paycheck for Ms. Connolly. One can only hope she learns to pick better roles in the future. Keanu Reeves for once is half-way decent as his emotionless monotone is perfect in this version of Klaatu. He’s likable, and there’s not many things he’s in of late that I can say that about.
The highlight of the original film, the robot Gort, is a badly animated CGI creation in this one. And while it’s the best thing about the remake it barely appears, and when it does it becomes a bad special effect that makes the film version of Galactus from Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer look positively lovely. Boo. Hiss. And I mean that from my heart.
When a remake is this far off the mark, so different from the look and flavor of the original source material, I say why even retain the name? This is much like the American Godzilla or the more recent Wanted. To the producers – if the source material wasn’t what you had in mind, why pay all that money for the film rights? Give it your own title and keep all the money.
Suffice it to say, don’t see this if you’re a fan of the original. It will be barely watchable for you. Not a great movie, a horrible remake, but a decent watch for those who don’t care about classic film.
Posted here mainly so you won’t have to go see the pointless remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, take a sneak peek at the trailer for X-Men Origins: Wolverine here. Yes, that is Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth, and Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. And yeah, that’s the Blob, and oh baby, yeah, that’s Gambit. This might be worth it.