The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008/Fox Blu-ray w/Digital Copy and basic Blu-ray of 1951 Original Film
+ separate DVD-Video version)
Sound: B+/B- Extras: C-/B* Film: C-
I had hopes that with a director like Scott Derrickson of The Exorcism Of Emily Rose, the 2008
remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still could have been a rare and
pleasant surprise; a big commercial film with a point that was smart, yet had
all the fireworks of a blockbuster film.
Considering how old the original is and the odd ways it has dated, plus
the fact that I again state that I am no fan of the work of Robert Wise,
thought it could work. When I heard
Keanu Reeves was being cast in the Michael Rennie role, I thought that could
work and he is not bad here at all. So
would the surprise pull through?
reason I was optimistic is because writer David Scarpa had written the
underrated The Last Castle with
Robert Redford and James Gandolfini, but the result of this update is a very
mixed bag that eventually collapses into silliness, desperation, some
condescension and has plenty of missed opportunities because the studio tried
to make a film that would appeal to everyone and landed up appealing to nobody.
Connelly plays the scientist who does not know what is going on yet, but soon
will know more than most. Kathy Bates
plays the serious government rep and John Cleese (in a great serious turn)
plays a scientist who is wiser than most.
What should have also worked is Jaden Smith in the privileged child role
from the 1951 film, but his character is underdeveloped, becomes very
problematic and his performance collapses as he has little to do. Smith proved he could act in the underrated Pursuit Of Happyness, but his part
never adds up, especially when he becomes precocious.
money is often on the screen and the appearance of a larger, deadlier Gort is
nicely done at first, then that is ruined by a few twists so dumb that you get
to the point of no return and the film is a loss. Don’t say you were not warned.
2.35 X 1 digital AVC @ 26.4 MBPS image is a little weak throughout, in part
because they stuck al the extras on one Blu-ray and because this is a slightly
weak shoot as shot in the Super 35mm film format. It even had some issues when blown-up for
IMAX presentation, but is consistent, clean, somewhat colorful and only the
grain and slight motion blur hold it back.
The anamorphically enhanced DVD is very pale by comparison and much
harder to watch. The DTS-HD Master Audio
(MA) lossless (with D-BOX motion bass feature for those who have it) 5.1 mix is
the highlight of the disc with consistently good sonics, little distortion,
gone surround activity and a soundfield that is state-of-the-art, yet lacks the
character of the best mixes of late and does not stay with you. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the DVD is also
aggressive, but no match for the DTS lossless.
*Extras include that original film, which gives this set a
higher rating than it would otherwise have.
Minus the 1951 classic, you get the Digital Copy version for PC and PC
portable devices of the remake and can read more about the original on Blu-ray
at this link:
the 1951 Blu-ray here is missing all the extras of the separate Blu-ray edition,
does not quite look as good as the other Blu-ray and the fun sound effects of
Gort in the menus. Other extras include
BONUSVIEW picture-in-picture capacity exclusive to the Blu-ray, a feature
length audio commentary by Scarpa, six making of featurettes, Deleted Scenes
and multiple stills sections. It is a
shame it does not work, but some scenes do and show us how good this might have
been if things had worked out better.
- Nicholas Sheffo