The Day the Earth Stood Still

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:43 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Day the Earth Stood Still
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Jaden Smith, John Cleese, Kathy Bates
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: 2008
Kiddie Movie: Only if you want them to be afraid of aliens. You know what, maybe they should go?
Date Movie: She will probably be bored and wonder why you took her to see this non-Christmas movie at Christmas-time.
Gratuitous Sex: Jennifer Connelly getting naked would have definitely helped.
Gratuitous Violence: The alien(s) are here to destroy us, so, yes, but not really in a “blaster” kind of way.
Action: There is some running away from the government forces who can’t seem to locate a hybrid car in the middle of nowhere.
Laughs: All of the product placement.
Memorable Scene: I liked Gort.
Memorable Quote: I really hoped for some nudity/sex with “Change his mind, not with reason, but with yourself.” Ba-chicky-ba-baaa! Sadly, none.
Directed By: Scott Derrickson

What did I learn from the movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still?” Was it that we should learn to love each other? No. Was it that we should respect the planet we’ve got? No. Was it that I really miss Keanu Reeves as Ted Theodore Logan? Well, okay, I do miss Keanu as Ted. But, simply put, I learned that if aliens show up, well, we’re screwed. Actually, it doesn’t even need to be a lot of aliens, just one alien named Klaatu with his giant metallic friend, Gort, and guess what, the human race is toast. We will be no match for the alien to heal himself after being haphazardly shot; Our Air Force, Marines, Navy, and Boy Scouts will be no match for the giant “Cylon” bad-ass (for those of you who aren’t into “Battlestar Galactica,” the Cylon reference is simply that Gort is metallic, with one red “eye”), who is able to zap and disable every weapon we’ve got; and all we can hope is that Klaatu is a sucker for a mom being a step-mom and a kid being a step-kid and the two of them finally realizing they need each other. And, oh yea, a Professor acting like John Cleese.

In other words, pretty much we’re screwed. And, oh yea, there’s nothing like blatant product placement to screw up a movie.

Now as far as the movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” I will go on record saying that I have not seen the 1951 original where it was the cold war bringing the aliens to destroy us, but for this 2008 remake, oh, to be topical, let’s make it about how we humans are destroying Earth with all of our anti-environmental ways (only one of a few planets capable of sustaining life in the universe, and therefore a valuable treasure in the alien world). It seems that in the 1920’s the aliens sent a spy to Earth to see how we were doing, but when Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) comes to visit in 2008, complete with his destructive friend, Gort, Klaatu meets his spy, Mr. Wu (James Hong), and Mr. Wu pretty much says we suck and deserve to die. Meanwhile, Klaatu has been befriended by Helen (Jennifer Connelly), who somehow is able to keep him safe from the government people hell-bent on destroying him, and Helen is having her own problems, trying to get her step-son, Jacob (Jaden Smith), to treat her like a mom.

You know, I could go into the entire “Giant orb crashes to Earth, we shoot the alien who seems to just want to save us at first, we try to torture the alien, nice girl helps alien get away, government hunts down alien, Gort monster shoots down a lot of things, Gort gets captured, Gort has a thing for diamond drill bits, Earth’s destruction has begun, alien realizes thanks to Helen, Jacob, and Professor Barnhardt (John Cleese), that maybe we can change, and yay, the Earth stands still for a bit, we are saved, but there is a huge mess of metallic bugs to now be cleaned up” synopsis, but really, why go into it a lot more because as much as there sort of seemed to be potential for this to be a decent movie with a feel-good message, I didn’t really like Keanu Reeves’ “I know your language but can only speak in brief sentences and will let three people decide the fate of the human race” performance, Jacob was good in his role as the step-kid who doesn’t respect his step-mom until a sentimental scene pulls them together, which would really fit in a different movie, and the only role I did like, complete with a great explanation of why the aliens should let us live, was delivered by John Cleese, explaining to Klaatu how we, as a society, change.

That, and oh yea, I should have kept track, but in terms of blatant product placement, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” was utterly disgraceful, from the “We use Windows to make cool documents fly around this touch-screen computer monitor/table,” to the visiting of McDonalds for the alien sit-down with their new McCafe servings, to even the wearing of a Citizen watch, well, this movie didn’t need any of it, and it really made me cringe every time I saw it.

There might be some who see the movie as a little bit of an escape, or maybe might like how the destruction of Earth is carried out, or the “Noah’s Ark” aspect of the aliens (they aren’t all bad), or dig the message of how we need to save the environment, but for me I was bored, sick of people telling me what kind of hybrid car to drive, and if Gort was such a bad-ass, how in the hell was the government able to capture him, let alone transport him to an underground bunker that isn’t really that secure? It’s 1 ½ stars out of 5 for “The Day the Earth Stood Still” from me. I might have to throw the original on my Netflix queue just to compare them, but I’m guessing it will be way-better, even in black and white, and I generally hate black and white movies.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!


MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:32 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Kevin Costner, Susanna Thompson, Kathy Bates, Joe Morton, Linda Hunt
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Universal Pictures
Release Date: 2002
Kiddie Movie: Nah. Leave them at home.
Date Movie: She might get a little scared and grab your arm.
Gratuitous Sex: One kinda sensual scene, but nothing bad, other than some jungle tribe women with their breasts exposed – kinda like National Geographic.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Only as it got dumb.
Memorable Scene: None.
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: Tom Shadyac

Dear Movie Promotion People,
Please stop telling me in your ads that this movie “has a surprise ending” that you shouldn’t tell anyone, it will astound you, it will make you inspired, or some other crap like that. You want to know why? Because then I, the person who sees a few too many movies, will be able to ruin the surprise ending myself because of the obvious foreshadowing that most likely will be in the film.

The Dude on the Right

I try sometimes not to pay attention to the foreshadowing in a movie, but when you tell me there is a surprise ending, it just makes it so much easier to find it. Such was my case with “Dragonfly.”

“Dragonfly” gives us Kevin Costner in another role where we wonder what might have possessed him to take the role. It’s not that it’s a bad role, it’s just that it is a role that doesn’t fit him, nor his acting ability. For this one he is a doctor, Dr. Joe Darrow to be specific, and his wife apparently dies in an avalanche accident in Venezuela. He’s having a pretty hard time with her death, especially with his atheistic ways and the fact that they didn’t find the body, but then things start happening. First we find the connection between Emily (Susanna Thompson), his wife, and the whole dragonfly thing. Now the good doctor has a dragonfly paperweight mysteriously role around in the bedroom, little kids in the hospital cancer ward have messages from Emily to Joe telling him to meet her at the rainbow, only where is this mystical rainbow? Then his parrot goes berserk, the little kids have been making drawings, and yes, eventually the Doc figures out where he should go. I could just go ahead and give the ending away, but I’ll let you go to the movie and see if you can figure it out before it happens just like I was able to do.

The problem with “Dragonfly” isn’t that it is a bad movie, I think it’s just that it tries too hard to push this message of Doctor Joe getting a message from beyond. Other movies have done it subtly, with great success, and the messages from the little kids when they have their near-death experiences is fine, but when the scene comes where Joe starts to pack away Emily’s stuff, then gets distracted by strange noises in the house, then comes back to the room and all of her stuff is back in its original place, it just took the movie to the wrong level and totally tosses out any credibility the movie was trying to have. And that’s too bad.

“Dragonfly” does have some potential, and the ending is touching, but I saw it coming a mile away. Costner does his best to pull of the role, but as the movie became more of a joke than something I could take seriously, well, it was almost too bad his performance was wasted, as well as that of Kathy Bates as his lawyer/neighbor, trying to help Joe through his wife’s death. The movie went for cheap “shock-factor” things, like the little boy, dead on the table, suddenly opening his eyes, and it really didn’t need to because the story was already there.

In the end I’ll give “Dragonfly” 2 ½ stars out of 5. Catch a matinee, or wait for the video, but just don’t expect too much.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!