REVIEW: The Day the Earth Stood Still

The hubby and I used to take our kids to the movies on Christmas Day because our extended family traveled and it was often just the four of us for Christmas.  A lot of good movies came out Christmas Day, and they gave us a lot to talk about. Our children are grown now, and Christmas is much busier for us since we travel to see them, but we finally made it to a movie last night.  We chose to see The Day the Earth Stood Still.

I have seen the original movie, but it’s been a long time.  You can find a synopsis of the original story line here.  In the original, Klaatu, the alien,  warned earthlings not to extend their use of the atom bomb to outer space.  The original movie was made in 1951, and the atom bomb was still fresh in everyone’s mind.

The new movie is a little different.  Klaatu comes, not to warn earth, but to destroy the earthlings who have kept such poor care of it.  He tells Helen Benson, a professor of microbiology, that there are very few planets in the galaxy that support complex life forms, so it is imperative that Earth be saved.  Man is such a poor steward that the planet’s only hope  is for humans to be destroyed.  If  that happens, man’s  influence on Earth can be reversed.  Klaatu thinks that all of humanity is  destructive, and certainly the force with which his visit is initially met convinces him of that.

Fortunately, Helen shows Klaatu a different side of the human race, both because she helps him and because of the care she shows for her stepson.  An alien “spy,” who has lived on Earth for seventy years, also impresses Klaatu.  He does not want to go home because he loves humans, as imperfect as they are.  So, although the earth does stand still since Klaatu stops all generated power, human beings as a race are saved.

The hubby and I liked this movie.  It was true enough to the original to maintain the integrity of the plot.  Its special effects, of course, were quite different from those of 1951, but it is the story that kept us watching.  No matter how full of faults the human race is, Klaatu saw something in us that is worth saving.  Isn’t that what we all want to believe?


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January 2009
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