The Day the Earth Stood Still

Dr. Helen Benson, an astrobiologist, is rushed to a top-secret national emergency in the middle of the night. Whisked away on a military helicopter, she meets other bewildered scientists forced to consult on the crisis. They soon find out that a U.F.O. will reach the Earth in a little over an hour, expected to hit Manhattan catastrophically. The object arrives, but instead of impact, it lands in Central Park. The giant, swirling globe of light and cloud enthralls Helen, who is part of the crew on the ground, but before she can make contact, an alien emerging from the mass is shot, and a giant automaton, Gort, stands guard by the craft after the assault.

Desperate to rescue the injured alien, named Klaatu, and find out why he’s on Earth, he is stabilized and is prepped to be aggressively investigated by high-level officials. With Helen’s help, Klaatu escapes the facility and sets out to save the Earth despite military action against him. As the world panics, Helen must help him save the planet before humans destroy it themselves.

The environmental message in The Day the Earth Stood Still is clear with this Scott Derrickson-directed remake. While the classic 1951 version is a cold war cautionary tale, this 2008 impressively effects-laden entry focuses on the human destruction of Earth’s environment. Both are based on the 1940 short story “Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates.  The film star’s Canada’s favourite action star Keanu Reeves as the stoic Klaatu; Jennifer Connelly as Helen, Jaden Smith as Helen’s precocious stepson Jacob; Mad Men’s Jon Hamm and Oscar winner Kathy Bates.

Review by Carolyn Mauricette


Keanu Reeves

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Canadian connection

Starring Keanu Reeves
British Columbia