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Stood still by the world’s worst movie remake

Bad day on Earth: Keanu Reeves befouls the memory of 1951 classic sci-fi film

Posted: December 11, 2008 8:30 p.m.
Updated: December 12, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Jennifer Connelly and Keanu Reeves star in the world's most irritating remake, "The Day the Earth Stood Still."

 
I'm angry.

Yes, I think I've finally reached my limit on bad and unnecessary movie remakes. This is not a new phenomenon, but it seems recently more and more are being ripped off from superior films.

And I think I've been very tolerant, sitting through pale imitations of better originals such as "The Manchurian Candidate," "The Invasion," "Poseidon," "Psycho," "Planet of the Apes," "The Heartbreak Kid," "The Shaggy Dog," "All the King's Men," "King Kong," "Alfie," "War of the Worlds," "Yours, Mine and Ours," "Cheaper By the Dozen," "Thomas Crown Affair," "Lolita," "Gone In 60 Seconds," "The Producers," "Hairspray," "Father of the Bride," "Bad News Bears," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Halloween," "Flight of the Phoenix," "Mr. Deeds (Goes to Town)," "The Exorcist" and "Around the World in 80 Days."

Hollywood it seems is also so bereft of ideas that the industry even remakes bad films into worse ones, i.e. "The Fog," "Amityville Horror," "The Alamo," "Fun With Dick and Jane," "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "The Hills Have Eyes" "The Longest Yard," "Walking Tall," "Stepford Wives" and "Prom Night."

What is it that makes actors, directors, writers and others that they can produce a movie better than Alfred Hitchcock or John Ford or Stanley Kubrick or Robert Rossen or William Friedkin or Sam Peckinpah or John Frankenheimer or John Waters, among others?

Is it lack of any original concepts or just plain gargantuan ego? Some say the updating of technology adds a lot to these new versions, but I cannot agree.

It takes more than just massive doses of CGI to improve an original work. All I can say is that I am more than tired of watching these new individuals try to massage their own bizarre fantasies.

But, as a man of peace, I was more than content to go along with this Tinsel Town charade safe in the knowledge that I can still find the motion pictures these bad re-dos were based upon.

However, with the release this week of "The Day the Earth Stood Still," starring Keanu Reeves, I can no longer contain my smouldering anger.

The original 1951 film, directed by Robert Wise (who won Oscars for "West Side Story" and "The Sound of Music, told the tale of an alien craft landing in Washington, D.C.

A suave extraterrestrial, Klaatu (Michael Rennie, "The Robe") informs the human race to cease the nuclear arms race and to stop all the fighting or the planet will have to be destroyed.

He is backed by a huge indestructible robot named Gort, so people start to fall in line.

The picture also starred Patricia Neal (who won a Best Actress Academy Award for "Hud" in 1963), Sam Jaffe (nominated for "The Asphalt Jungle"), Hugh Marlowe ("All About Eve," "Meet Me in St. Louis"), Billy Gray ("Father Knows Best") and Francis Bavier (best known as Aunt Bee on "The Andy Griffith Show").

There are many reasons why this newest version was the straw that broke my back. First of all, it stars Keanu Reeves. Second, it changes the whole nuke premise to a showdown on global warming. Politically correct and Keanu Reeves - what's next, Al Gore in the lead role in E.T.?

Here, Reeves plays a sleepwalking Klaatu (think Mr. Spock meets Steven Wright on downers - even more low key than Reeves usually appears onscreen, if that's remotely conceivable) who tells the nations of the world that they are ruining the Earth and if they do not knock it off, bad things will happen (being forced to watch this tripe is punishment enough).

Even the inclusion of two past Oscar winners, Kathy Bates (as a disbelieving Secretary of Defense) and Jennifer Connelly (failing the Patricia Neal role completely) does not help.

Even former Monty Pythonite John Cleese subbing for Jaffe isn't enough. Including the son of Will Smith (who plays one of filmdom's single most annoying, obnoxious moppets ever) is an even worse move, as is making the all-powerful Gort from the first film has replaced his death ray with a bizarre way of destroying monuments such as Shea Stadium and the Eiffel Tower, among other landmarks.

Another major problem I had was the who "ark" sequences, where numerous otherworldly craft land in different locations while animals throw themselves onboard.

Oh. Let's face it, I had problems with just about every aspect of this movies.

Then, just when he's about to wipe out everything, he hears some Bach and sees Connelly hug her hellish spawn of a son.

Does this change anything? Well, you'll have to see the film to find out any more than this.

Although I don't recommend paying to see it. Instead, wait for it to come out on DVD, have someone else purchase it and then you can borrow it. Of course, only if every other motion picture ever made - in any era by any species on any planet - somehow disappears.

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