The Day the Earth Stood Still

Rated 2.0

In this remake of the 1951 sci-fi classic, a meteor-like object heads toward Manhattan. Among the scientists dispatched to handle the emergency is a recently widowed astromicrobiologist (Jennifer Connelly). The meteoroid, not surprisingly, is actually a ship. This being 21st-century America, police and armed forces promptly encircle it, and when an alien (Klaatu, played by Keanu Reeves) cautiously approaches our wide-eyed heroine, its hand outstretched in friendship, a sniper promptly shoots it in the chest. Turns out this alien is an ambassador of sorts, a “friend of the Earth.” The aliens have a plan for our planet that doesn’t include us. After seeing all the recklessness and stupidity encountered by Klaatu, who could blame them? The makers of films like Independence Day understand the notion of caring about someone and thus caring about their fate, and they took the time to flesh out characters, rather than just placing them in stereotypical circumstances and expecting us to relate by reflex. Here, director Scott Derrickson and screenwriter David Scarpa don’t do this. As a result, The Day the Earth Stood Still is visually exciting but far from compelling. Feather River Cinemas and Tinseltown. PG-13