EDITORIALS

Sunday Discussion: The Day the Earth Stood Still - Original vs Remake?

by
December 7, 2008

The Day the Earth Stood Still - Original vs Remake?

For no particular reason, I decided to do things backwards. I watched Scott Derrickson's The Day the Earth Stood Still remake first, then went back and watched Robert Wise's original The Day the Earth Stood Still. And a funny thing happened - I really disliked the original, a lot. There I've said it, and it'll probably instantly discredit me from writing about movies forever. Derrickson's remake is by no means a perfect film, but I gained a lot more appreciation for it after I saw how horrid and cheesy the original was. Sure it was a great film for its time, maybe, but it's no longer 1951. And in 2008, watching it for the very first time, I wondered how anyone could still enjoy it and yet stomp all over Derrickson's remake?

Spoiler Warning: The following article may contain spoilers related to both films.

Maybe I just grew up loving the spectacle of movies more than the story; Home Alone and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were the films that defined me and my generation when I was a kid. That doesn't discredit me, that just means I have an opinion that may differ from everyone. And I tried to sit back and enjoy the original, I tried to appreciate it for what it was and compare it fairly to the remake. But they just did so many things better this time around. In fact, I even think that if the people who made the original movie in 1951 were making it today, it would've turned out a lot worse than Derrickson's version.

The Day the Earth Stood StillIf you want to talk about cheesy, just count the number of times the kid mentions "gee whiz" or "ah swell" in the original. Sure that was how kids spoke at the time, but you don't hear little Jaden Smith saying things like "OMG" or "like, you know" in the remake. Even the message in it is so much more poignantly conveyed. In the original, Klaatu stands on his ship at the end, makes a muddled statement about saving humanity, and flies off with the understanding that they'll be "waiting for our answer." There was no real threat. In the remake, there's a brilliant scene where John Cleese explains that only on the brink of chaos, do we actually change. And the threat was very real this time. It wasn't until Klaatu saw what Cleese's character had mentioned and understood that humanity was worth saving that he called it all off.

Speaking in terms of acting, Keanu Reeves is a much better Klaatu than Michael Rennie. Reeves' Klaatu has so much definition and is very out-of-place on our planet, whereas Rennie's Klaatu is just like any other typical human. There's nothing that makes him distinct or makes him alien in any way. With Reeves, you can tell he doesn't really fit in his body, he's completely emotionless, and is using that human form only as a way of connecting with the people of Earth. In the original, Rennie comes off as just another human with the same emotions and sensibilities as any other actor. And claiming that it was just good "at the time it was made" is not a reasonable excuse for bad acting.

Here's where I'll say that maybe if I was alive in 1951 and saw this, I would've been impressed, too. And maybe I'd have that undying attachment to it, because it probably would have reshaped the way I look at science fiction forever. But in reality I wasn't alive then, and instead I have learned to appreciate modern movies, albeit remakes or not, for their attributes that make them so great today. We just have so many other amazing sci-fi movies to now compare the remake to, that it seemingly looks pretty bad. But if you simply compare the original to the remake, I believe the remake stands out more for so many better reasons. It's a much more solid, much more fascinating and much more intelligent movie than the original, and I'm sorry if that breaks the hearts of fans of the original or stirs up some sort of sci-fi controversy.

What's really getting under my skin on this is that everyone holds the original in such high regard, yet they can easily tear apart the remake. Have any of them even watched the original recently? It doesn't really stand up to time anymore and that's exactly what I felt when I watched it. I don't believe judging classics by what they achieved when they were released is the best way to judge every movie. If that were the case, then why aren't we judging other modern movies in that way, too? The special effects weren't even that great for its time because just 12 years earlier, the land of Oz had come to life in The Wizard of Oz in full color, nonetheless. So I'm still wondering what made the original such an amazing achievement?

The Day the Earth Stood StillLastly, I want to make the claim that in the remake, the message in it is not necessarily about our environment. Here's where I think some brilliance shines through with the remake. Never does Klaatu ever say why the humans are destroying Earth. He only claims that we are destroying our planet and that if we die, the planet survives, and if we don't, the planet dies. To me, like the original, this message has somewhat of an open interpretation. Because the world is wrapped up in our environment right now, that's what everyone assumes he is talking about. But it could be something else. It could even be violence, since the movie consistently shows clips of chaos and looting and violence breaking out all over the world.

As far as I can recall, never once does Klaatu or anyone in the remake ever mention the environment or that certain things (like cars or factories) are causing the Earth to die. He just mentions that humans, and humanity, are killing Earth. I thought it was brilliant that screenwriter (David Scarpa) allowed for this kind of open interpretation, even though most naive moviegoers won't think about it. They'll instantly connect it with the environment. In the original, they also allowed for a similar bit of interpretation, but it connected with the time that the movie came out because Klaatu actually mentions atomic power and violence as his concerns. And at the time, that's what people were afraid of the most. And if I must make the comparison, the message in the remake is so much more brilliantly conceived than that of the original.

I understand that most people won't agree with me and that's fine. Movies are always subjective and this is only my own opinion. However, if the least I can do is convince you to go into Scott Derrickson's The Day the Earth Stood Still remake with more of an open mind, then I'm satisfied. And once it hits theaters next weekend, I challenge anyone to fairly compare the original The Day the Earth Stood Still to the remake and provide some actual legitimate reasons why one is better than the other. And if you compare the remake to every other sci-fi movie ever made, then you also must compare the original to every other sci-fi movie. I'd like to be convinced that the original is true classic, because I don't believe that it is.

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  • http://www.aldonn.com Aldonn
    People just like to hate things. Makes them think they are cool.
  • Scott McHenry
    I understand exactly what your saying, I agree.
  • Anthony
    I just rewatched the original over the weekend and i loved it as much as the last time i saw it. then again i kinda grew up with it and the original war of the worlds (and im 21 weird). As for the remake i'll wait to judge it until i see it this weekend. I'll admit i am a bit apprehensive about it...
  • http://screenrant.com ScreenRant.com
    Oh, I can't wait to see how this thread plays out, Alex. :-) You can't necessarily judge a 50+ year old movie by today's standards - especially sci-fi films. - Believe it or not, that's how kids talked back then. - How about this movie couldn't exist without the original preceding it? - How about the metaphor of post-nuclear angst and the Cold War in a science fiction film, making people think about things from a different perspective? - The "real world" approach to a sci-fi film, one of the first "serious" ones done up until that time? Using your criteria, eventually "Casablanca" or "Citizen Kane" will no longer be considered "great." Of course you may already consider those two films to be less than "awesome" since they're so old and, like, you know - in black and white and stuff. Vic
  • TERRY
    I'm all for disaster movies, and I think The Day the Earth Stood Still looks tremendous. It'll be huge, no doubt. But it's not a remake; it's a film of the same name! It carries over none of the original's message, or meaning. Most people will think the movie was amazing, because they never saw the original. And that's not say it won't be amazing, but it's a bit of an insult to call it a remake, when it's simply another disaster movie, that carries nothing over but names and a very small portion of the plot from the original.
  • http://tinyurl.com/kentonspill Kent
    Hey Alex, no you didn't lose your credibility when you said you liked the new film more... you lost it ALL when you spoiled the movie for me with no warning. Thanks for giving away the details about John Cleese and Keanu and why characters did things I didn't know they did. Fucking brilliant movie. How long have you been writing? Seriously? How long? You're in your early 20s right? And you have one of the most read movie news sites on the net, yet you pull some amateurish bullshit like that? Dude, hang it up. SERIOUSLY! Hang it up, or make sure you learn not to spill major plot points in a fluff article you wrote on a sunday night a week before one of the most anticipated movies of the winter comes out... good job, seriously...
  • http://www.filmschoolrejects.com Neil
    Alright Billington -- you know I love you like a brother and we're friends, but I just can't go along with you on this one. First of all, there seems to be some disconnect for you in the way you see older movies. You can't exactly judge a film that old on the merits of special effects and compare it to anything made today. For one, the comparison is completely unfair. That would be like saying that a film critic from the silent era wasn't as insightful as you are today because you have a flashy website. Secondly, I think you're failing to recognize that its not just about the technical achievements of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), it is about how it influenced the entire science fiction genre. This is a film that significantly influenced Arthur C. Clarke, who went on to write 2001: A Space Odyssey and countless other films. It helped birth an entire era of space and saucer-man films, an era of sci-fi that heavily influenced people like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, two men who've created some of the definitive space movies of the modern era. On top of influencing other films, it was also culturally, historically or aesthetically significant. It is said that this film helped inspire Ronald Reagan to talk to Gorbachev about uniting in the event of an alien invasion. That is some real world shit. Personally, I'm glad you liked the remake and I too hope that it turns out great. But to say that the original was horrid and cheesy in comparison is simply unfair. No matter how many times they remake it, and no matter how great the remakes are, there will never be another film like the '51 original. That said, I would still like to make out with you, if the offer is still on the table. :P
  • Houseman
    What other than environmental concerns could it be? Anything else is us just killing each other, isn't it?
  • boris van der ree
    The fact is, the original is not better to anyone here than the remake. You are entertained more by the new version because it is tailored to our present-day tastes. The original was better when it was released, because the people of that time appreciated it more for its technical brilliance and its later influence on film. Taste is relevant. The original is iconic because it was the original. Fox wouldn't remake it unless they knew the novelty of the original hadn't worn out. This new movie is for the now. As an 18 year old having seen the original, I can only predict that I will enjoy this movie more, but still appreciate the original for, just that, its originality. So I agree with Alex's opinion, but I think he's basing his judgment on the wrong ideas.
  • Darunia
    Absence of nostalgia makes remakes better. It's a fact. It's also a fact that it's a Keanu movie, and critics will just try to find an angle to trash it, and the angle of holding up the original to some super high standards is perfect.
  • Mikw
    Am I the only one here agreeing with #6? Come on, you blatantly blurt out some integral plot info without even the slightest of spoiler warnings?
  • Jesse
    Dammit spoiler warning first you jerk.
  • bat
    Modern Gort looks like Silver Surfer's and X-men's Cyclop's love child.
  • Christopher
    Spoiler warning? On a remake of a movie made in 1951? Are you serious? That's like telling an english teacher, "Old yeller gets shot at the end."
  • http://dropscience.wordpress.com/ Brian J. Kim
    ****ADD A SPOILER WARNING PLEASE**** Your beef seems to be with other reviewers yet instead you decide to shit all over the original. No one is going to convince you the original is good because you already hate it. Every reviewer has his or her own criteria for reviewing films, whether they be in the historical landscape or just at the moment. Yeah, some people will hate the remake just like you hate the original. No one is right or wrong here. No one is going to convince you the original is a classic because they don't have to, it's a fact. The only statement of fact is that the original was, is and always will be a classic science fiction film that influenced countless people and is ingrained into their psyche for the rest of their lives. That's a fact and no matter how much you want to complain about other reviewers that fact will stay the same. You may not like it, that's fine but your opinion doesn't somehow take it off it's pedestal because it already earned that pedestal. Just because you hate it doesn't mean it's not a classic. It's a classic, indisputable. I just hope your next article isn't about how you hated The Godfather so because you hated it it's not a classic. I hope this isn't going to be a reoccurring theme where your opinion is so powerful it can take the "classic" label of a film that's earned it.
  • http://blog.spout.com Kevin Kelly
    "Home Alone and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were the films that defined me and my generation when I was a kid. That doesn't discredit me, that just means I have an opinion that may differ from everyone." Dude. Alex. Yes, it *does* discredit you. It certainly doesn't give you the right to speak for a whole generation. Those were just movies you liked, nothing more. I've seen those films as well, and they certainly didn't define anything. This is a pretty piss-poor argument. "I just grew up loving the spectacle of movies more than the story..." So, what you're saying is that story doesn't matter to you. What matters is bright, shiny objects. If the above statement doesn't discredit you, then that one certainly should. This statement would instantly discredit anyone who blogs about film. Hell, why even put a story in there at all? You'd probably really love "Laserbeams, Explosions and Boobs, Part 2." Would it rate a 10 on your site? I'm imagining some kid just like you in 2058, talking about how much "The Dark Knight" sucks because it was filmed back in the dark ages of cinema before Virtua-Sensurround Helmets featuring Wireless Brain Interfaces became the normal way to watch movies. Vic's comment about "Citizen Kane" or "Casablanca" is so very true. The medium is the message. The journey is the destination. It's all about the story.
  • http://www.getthebigpicture.net Colin Boyd
    The real question is not how one compares to the other, but whether the sci-fi and story depicted in the new film is better by today's standards than the effects, visuals and narrative technique in the original vs. other films of its day. I'm going to say no, because there weren't new science fiction films in theaters every month in 1951, at least not major motion pictures. For its time - and remember, this is four years after Roswell and right in the middle of a UFO craze in the United States, with sightings reported incredibly frequently - The Day the Earth Stood Still not only tapped into a newsworthy subject with more gravity than just showing us a Martian attack, it was also miles beyond what anyone else was accomplishing in the same field technologically. Is Star Trek complete rubbish because the sets look cheesy and Capt. Kirk's judo chop wouldn't knock over a Dixie cup? No. It's a product of its time. You certainly can't knock it for not being modern enough when it was ahead of the curve already. By your argument, films are like new cars: They depreciate over time, replaced by newer, sleeker models. Gee, I can't imagine what will happen when another Batman movie comes out and makes The Dark Knight completely obsolete.
  • http://www.aytemir.com Tschai
    John Cleese. He's in it also. Thanks for spoiling that one...
  • http://www.latinoreview.com El Guapo
    I'm searching for that e-mail conversation we had months ago Alex, where you told me you had seen the original...
  • Heckle
    I Would like to apologize to everyone who read this post. It's all my fault. I txt'd Alex over the weekend and told him i watched the original for the first time and enjoyed it. He just couldn't understand how i thought it was good and said he was going to write an article about it. And i still do think the original was good. Yes it was corny and all but it did have a message about the world we were living in at that time. The world had just gotten out of a messy war and people all over the world were not getting along. And to top it off we had technological advancements that threatened to destroy ourselves. I'm sure also at the time the studios were under some sort of control by some review board that made the language stale and the outfits even worse. However the effects for that time were something. I actually was amazed at the scene with the ship landing and how it was done. Once or twice i found myself thinking....how did they do that? Because i couldnt think of the tech they might have back then. Like when Gort melts the tanks and big guns. I must say though i didnt read the whole thing because i saw SPOILERS coming up in it....Alex...seriously....do white text.....or something to hide this stuff. Don't ruin it. Anyhow...sorry for the article.
  • mercy
    I had problems with the original and I have problems with this remake, which I have also seen. But I do also prefer the remake to the original. The remake was great in its 1st and 2nd act, but (for me) falls apart in its muddled problematic 3rd act and especially its ending. For my review (unfortunately spoiler-hoked), please link to http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0970416/board/flat/124466383
  • Skamps
    Ok, here is the deal people. Its the day the earth stood still...really...REALLY?! When was the last time you heard that movie hit a top movies of all time list? I think Alex was just trying to say that the problem with being a "classic" is that you leave room to be outdone. If the remake outdid the original than it doesnt matter if the original was a product of its time, it is no longer topical. A lot of people cling to the term "classic" as if it was their security blanket. I think more brilliant cinema gets overlooked every year because somebody is always comparing it to the past. As far as spoilers go, who cares! If you read it than its your own damn fault. To crucify someone for an online article shows more about YOUR character than anything else. Goodnight, Grow Up, And GOODLUCK
  • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
    Neil - Why NOT?! Why do I have to situate myself back then? This movie doesn't stand up to the test of time, I'm sorry to say. And like I said in the article, this isn't the 1950's, and I'm not suddenly going to "pretend" that it is just to say I could enjoy what is supposedly a "classic." Explain why this film is so important to us TODAY, to NOW, or else your arguments are losing some of their validity because you weren't alive back then either... You make some good points, but I don't think you can ONLY look at classic films in the time they were created. Secondly, I recognize that this film, at its TIME, inspired people like Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick and George Lucas, but that doesn't mean that I have to enjoy it. As you certainly know, appreciation and actual enjoyment are vastly different things Neil. I think you're missing my point... Maybe I stepped too far over the line in saying that in direct comparison to the remake it was too cheesy, but even on its own, it was not a good film for me personally. I can respect what it influenced, but I personally think by itself, it is not an amazing movie, and I was not entertained by it. And just because of these values you mentioned, I'm not going to simply sit back and call it a classic when I honestly did not like it. #15 - No, in fact, I love The Godfather a lot. And I love Wizard of Oz. And I love Metropolis. This is not a recurring theme. And I'm amused by the fact that people think I hate so many movies when I'm always accused of loving too many of them. So in turn, every time I don't like something, I get shit for it, too! Out of all of these comments, it's #9 that makes the most convincing and valid points. The only other point that I'll make is that everyone still seems to mention that the message of the original, and how it was a metaphor about the situation at the time and the Cold War, is what makes it such a classic. And I am in turn trying to also argue that that is a reason why the remake is just as good. For example, my interpretation of how it's not specifically an attack on the mistreatment of our environment is referenced because I think it does a great job of putting out a message VERY relevant to our time as well. So I guess the comparison that I'm trying to make is that if the original can have that importance, than so can this remake, so give IT a chance, too! There are a handful of movies that can still be watched today, by someone who has never seen them before, and instantly be loved. This is not one of them. I don't believe that you have to go "back in time" to enjoy these kinds of movies. If it's a true classic, and was great back then, it should also be great now, no matter what.
  • http://blog.spout.com Kevin Kelly
    Skamps, Uh, no. Did you fail at reading? I know it's hard. Here's a summary, right from Alex's article. "I really disliked the original, a lot." "I even think that if the people who made the original movie in 1951 were making it today, it would've turned out a lot worse than Derrickson's version." "If you want to talk about cheesy, just count the number of times the kid mentions "gee whiz" or "ah swell" in the original." "In terms of acting, Keanu Reeves is a much better Klaatu than Michael Rennie." And so on, and so on. And as far as The Day The Earth Stood Still (which means the original) being on any lists, try this cool thing called "Google." Just this year the American Film Institute voted it the #5 science fiction film of all time. Let me repeat that, of all time. http://www.afi.com/10TOP10/moviedetail.aspx?id=50072&thumb=3
  • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
    Oh and the funny thing Kevin, is that I love 7 of the other films on AFI's Sci-Fi list. So how could it be that, in my opinion, those 7 can stand up to the test of time but TDTESS cannot?
  • Agonystes
    This was a remake to a 57 year old movie people. Spoiler warnings are needed if you are eight years old and your only theatrical knowledge consists of Spongebob, and developmental learning videos. Don't chastise the man for not liking the original. It IS cheesy. It can't be outdone. All we can hope for is a movie that does the original justice and puts a more modern perspective on the story. There are not a lot of 16 year old kids out there that are clambering over each other to watch a movie made in 1951 unless they are aspiring film students. Get over yourselves. John Cleese??? Your pissed that you know John Cleese is in the movie? If you go to IMDB you will notice he is the fifth listed cast member. Also here's a thought. If you don't want to know anything about the movie, how about you not search out reviews on it,.. go watch it for yourself,.. and then make your own important opinions online. Now war of the worlds??? That remake SUCKED. Good review Alex -Agonystes
  • http://dropscience.wordpress.com/ Brian J. Kim
    I meant the recurring theme of egoism. You not enjoying the original film is fine. You not enjoying the film suddenly stripping it of it's "classic" status is not fine. It is a classic. Accept it and don't dispute it because it is indisputable. That's all I was saying. You want people to see it with an open mind? Cool, I hope they do too. You wish reviewers weren't so harsh on remakes? Heck I do to. You want to get these messages across by shitting on a classic film and deeming that since you don't like it it's not a classic? No, I don't like that and please don't make this a habit.
  • P
    Sheesh! Everyone seems to take everything a little too seriously. Alex just said that it was his opinion. I believe that a movie shouldn't be considered a classic if it doesn't stand the times. Just like a good song will never be old, so should a good movie. There are many. many great movies that have outlasted their generations. WHile it had a nice concept and great technical achievement for it's time, it was a movie that you always wanted to see done with the right technology and acting. Spiderman had to wait until technology was ready for it. Whatever! Lol! Just enjoy life erybody. I'm gonna enjoy this movie next week!!
  • http://www.latinoreview.com El Guapo
    Sunday Rebuttal: The Day The Earth Stood Still - Original vs. Remake?: http://hellotxt.com/l/YgZ2
  • tw
    crucify him for having an opinion that he bothered to explain to you pretty clearly and politely. internets.
  • Icarus
    Well, now I just want to watch the original so I can be reminded of how much I love it. The internet was made for arguing, articles like this are the fuel that keeps the machine rolling.
  • wetworks
    Everyone knows reviews are based on opinion, so why do so many of you have your panties in such a bunch. I read this site all the time and see Alex crucified for liking too many movies; now you're all riding him because he doesn't like one. Oh wait, I see, he doesn't like one that YOU like. Here's an idea, start your own site and only review the movies you like the way you want. Otherwise, read it for the opinion and different perspective, contribute constructively (meaning hold back the hostility) or sit this one out (discretion is the better part of valor, it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open your mouth and confirm it, or some shyte like that.) I don't necessarily agree with either side on this. I haven't seen the new one and the old one has long been forgotten. Perhaps that points a finger in favor of Alex's opinion, for I vividly remember scenes from other "classic" movies and can quote many at the drop of a hat. My only real problem with any of this is Brian J. Kim's repeated use of the word "indisputable" (#15, 27.) Dude, I don't think that word means what you think it means. When labels such as "classic" are placed on anything, even if 1000 reviewers agree and only 1 doesn't, they are still based strictly on opinion, taste and preference and they are Always disputable.
  • Tom Shafer
    My take on the remake is that other than the names of the primary characters, it's a completely different movie. The first was written as a cautionary tale of Cold War fear and militarism. The remake, an environmental advocacy piece. So, why not just use a different title and character names and save yourself the inevitable comparison? Because it's a comfort for the producers to say, "It's a classic sci-fi story that's been updated to our sensibilities and technology." If that gets the movie through production hell and (possibly) gets a few more curious people in the theaters to see it, fine. I'm still of the opinion that there are enough "new" stories (either adapted from literature or from the minds of enterprising script writers) that we don't need to retread old ground. However, I'll critique the new TDtESS on its own merits.
  • Lopretni
    An emotionless alien stuck in a human body... what a perfect role for Reeves.
  • Itri
    I agree with Alex, sort of. I still like the original, BUT, it certainly is not a classic compared to so many other films released from the decade, especially when better films like Forbidden Planet get pushed under the rug when Sci-Fi classics are discussed. And the original Time Machine. Such great movies.
  • jimmy
    Totally disagree. Your comparison of Klaatu acting is based on the production quality (scenery and background sound that defines emotion) and somehow that makes you give Reeves the edge.
  • Sam
    Good review. I like the original but never thought it was a flawless movie. Since the remake was announced some die hard fans of the original started a sad campaign against the project, bashing everything they could. And they behave like if the original was the second coming of cinema, and it ISN'T! Has many flaws, the storyline doesn't 'stand still' as they think so. As for Keanu, the guy is much better actor than people give him credit for, Michael Rennie was WOODEN in the original movie and when wannabe fanboys knew Keanu was cast as Klaatu, knowing that Keanu's main characteristic is the subtle acting, they started to act as if Michael Rennie was something he wasn't: expressive. He was no Lawrence Olivier like some make it to be, and Keanu is a perfect cast choice. But... NOOOO! How dare we imagine that the emperor has no clothes! How dare we stat that a remake hated by them from the get go is actually a good and fair movie! Now those wannabe critics will base everything in their pre conceived ideas about Keanu and the original do take the minimum credit the remake might have. How mature.
  • http://screenrant.com ScreenRant.com
    Hey to all you "it's not a spoiler 'cuz it's a remake of a 50 year old movie" people: What are you, kidding me? How about before these remakes came out you gave away plot details or the ending: John Carpenter's The Thing. Ocean's 11 Thomas Crowne Affair etc. A remake can be different enough from the original to definitely make spoilers and issue. Vic
  • http://www.myspace.com/kevjohnphotography kevjohn
    Alex, I didn't read the entire article or any of the previous comments (just trying to avoid spoilers) but I'll chime in anyway. I saw the original a few years ago, on Turner Classics I believe. It was indeed a classic, but it was bit slow and dry IMO. It seemed to fit right in with fear, paranoia, and xenophobia some of the other great sci-fi films of the time, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Incredible Shrinking Man (beware the Eddie Murphy remake coming in 2010!!). This Earth Stood Still remake, and I'm basing this only off of the trailers I've seen, looks like a modern sci-fi film with tons of action and special effects. It appears to bear very little resemblance whatsoever to the original film, which is fine because the times have changed. This film won't be benefiting from a general hysteria over some little-understood threat like the Soviets or nuclear weapons. It won't be able to build some sense of dread about not really knowing who your neighbor is. Instead it looks like it'll just thrown some more eye-popping action at us. I may sound like some old sentimentalist who hates all things modern, but damn I can't wait to see the new version. My eyes need popping too after all.
  • TheGuyInThePJ's
    Thank You, Alex. Most film website jockeys would be afraid to write an article like this because of the backlash they'd receive from their peers. But not Billington. And though I can't agree with your opinion on the original "Earth Stood Still"(my opinion is much closer to Neil's from FilmSchoolRejects), I can say that you're one of a kind Alex... not many people can truly voice their opinion fearless of the repercussions of their inner-circle.
  • reevesfan
    to #36 -- have you seen the remake yet? what the hell are you talking about? reeves has been sharing his method of getting into character and explaining how DIFFICULT it was for him to act like he had no emotion. he has just been complimented on giving off the air of being a REAL alien trapped inside a human body whereas Rennie didn't do this. watch the film before you diss keanu or any other actor, jerk. and can you people read? there is a spoiler alert.
  • Robbie Robertson
    Home Alone was spectacle? How old are you, 20? Missed out on the real good stuff of 'our generation' like Back to the Future? As for discrediting yourself, you did that a long time ago.
  • Robbovius
    While I wasn't actually alive when the Orig came out, (i was born in 1955) I remember the fiorst tiem I saw the movie and I definitely remember the "Red Scare" mentality of the adults in my world ( and many of the other "Red Scare"-ish B, C and D, movies) , and if anything, the original was more a metaphor for those times, than a sci-fi classic, in the way that Forbidden Planet, and the Gene Barry War of the worlds are, so I sort of agree with Alex, though I still like the original DtESS, even iof its mostly nostalgia. ...and, the original Day isn't nearly as cheesy as Earth Versus the Flying Saucers.
  • cody
    This isnt even a review hes just comparing them, everyone needs to stop bitching and smoke some weed.
  • http://www.feoamante.com Feo Amante
    "With Reeves, you can tell he doesn't really fit in his body, he's completely emotionless, and is using that human form only as a way of connecting with the people of Earth. " Yeah, I've always felt that way about Reeves acting. But how is it any different from his role in all of THE MATRIX movies? JOHNNY MNEMONIC? POINT BLANK? and so on. I watch the trailer and think, "Heh! This is a walk in the park for Reeves!" Hell, Keanu could be the robot in the next TERMINATOR movie.
  • Terry Lee
    While I enjoyed the original (I don't hold it on a pedestal or anything) I get where you are coming from. Kudos for saying what some people won't. There are so many people who do not enjoy "classic" movies who simply pretend to. If you do not like it, you do not like it. It's not a crime to not enjoy a film.
  • Kayvan Ghavim
    Um, I think you need to take your ADHD meds and sit down, and calmly watch the original again. If you can't see the brilliance of that movie, then you simply don't understand what a story is. You are not arguing against THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, you are arguing against storytelling in movies.
  • wm
    Just a little rant. Wow...thank god this version leaves it for open interpretation. Thank god we don't have to worry about violence and wars in this version, since they don't happen anymore, like in the original. And half the people that will see this movie won't give a shit and say it was stupid because they couldn't come up with anything intelligent to say about it. They may be seeing if Keanu looks cool, or if he sucks. The original was more about getting a message across, not hi-tech sci-fi. Fuck off, Alex. Do you really watch these movies? Please tell me you just read the back of the DVD cases and maybe I'll forgive you.
  • Dan
    I disagree with the statement that the original doesnt stand up to time anymore. I have not read most of the article for fear of spoiling the new one, although i feel like the damn commercials for it have shown way too much already. But the original is a classic. You can't just bash classic movies because it doesnt hold up to the times. its the message of the movie and not what some little kid keeps repeating. i am guessing you do not watch many black and white movies because this article is written by someone who cannot appreciate old films. i usually love all the articles on this website, but this one was terrible.
  • Tim "Cloverfield"
    Alex....(sigh) as a HUGE fan of the orginal and can appreciate it for what it is and since it scared the SHIT out of me as a kid, I challenge you to look up what the "Cold War" was. Dammitt, that is what the orginal was all about. You personally let me down on this one. Like was posted before with so many classics of the past....no they don't stand up in the 21st Century? That is just plain Bullox! And BTW, just viewed again last night in antcipation of the 12th. Freaking Brilliant!
  • D-9
    Kevin Kelly # 24! Thank you! Great job! Every film student knows this Mr. Alex. It is common knowledge. Let alone most fans of the Cinema, and it's history. TDTESS- NUMBER FIVE OF ALL TIME! What a sad day for FS.net. And Feo, shut the F*** UP!
  • http://www.feoamante.com Feo Amante
    The Keanu Reeves fan has spoken
  • avoidz
    Agree with #16 - you just lost a lot of your movie credibility with these comments, Alex.
  • Lucius
    The original is completely dated and BORING! Nice write up! Kudos for having the courage to post your opinion against the GEEK GESTAPO that populates the movie sites nowadays. DARE to say otherwise and they say you have no credibility. I bet some of them do prefer to watch Independence Day than the original TDTESS most of time but will NEVER admit it! Bring it on the remake and Keanu's Klaatu! Bring the future!
  • Josh
    Ok, so I take a Science Fiction class at school. And we talked a lot about The Day The Earth Stood Still(1951) before we watched it, and I was excited because I thought it would be amazing, but actually it wasn't as amazing as so many people and critics say. Yes, it's good, but not that good. I think the new remake looks way amazing, and since it looks more Apocalyptic(like it was wishing the old one to be, but it wasn't at all), I think I'll like the new one better because of the Apocalypticness(not a word I know). So, I'm not ever gonna pick on anyone who likes the remake, most likely because the CGI looks too good to pick on, judging from the trailer. But I'll see this weekend if the new one is good or not, and if I like it better, my science fiction teacher will kill me for saying it.
  • Ajax
    Personally, I have to agree with Alex. With the original, I felt that the filmakers wanted to make a good sci-fi film with an interresting message. However, when watching the film, I felt unsatisfied. It is like the filmakers were telling us to be nice with each other, but we never knew why. We never saw the other aliens, we never saw any of their destructive powers (except the balckout, which was hardly scary), or the effects of what we would do if a war did happen, and Glort was just a man in a suit, and not a destructive robot. I felt that the ending was tacked on, and somewhat preachy. People then, and now, need to be drawn into a film with spectical, so that we can learn the message the makers wanted us to know. In my opinion, the original failed in that. Although I haven't seen the new film, I am now definitely excited to see it. Don't hate on Alex if you haven't seen the new film yet! Oh, and Klaatu in the original was too nice. Not. Scary. Or. Imposing. At. All.
  • Oskee
    One thing that u are failing to realize is that the remake will obviously be better than the original. What comes forth first will never be better than what comes after. The remake built off of the foundation of the original so of course the people behind the film will study it and rectify any mistakes that were made before. That's what makes the original a classic. There aren't too many films u can hold to today's standards. If you reworded your argument you would have a stronger more valid case. I saw the original and it was good for its time and I will see the remake and appreciate the fact that there was an original in the first place to make a remake off of.
  • avoidz
  • http://www.feoamante.com Feo Amante
    #57 Oh brother. As for what's "Obvious", Hollywood history doesn't support your theory about remakes.
  • scrooge
    Humbug Alex! Feo is the ghost of Christmas Assholes!
  • http://www.feoamante.com Feo Amante
    Ahh... the keyboard courage of anonymity.
  • Nut-Meg
    well you are, you hate everything that is good.
  • http://www.feoamante.com Feo Amante
    Really Nut? And what "everything" am I hating? I don't even hate Reeves, I just accept him for what he is. But perhaps you know of some acting awards of his? Besides the six separate Razzie Nominations for acting? Keanu has more Razzie nominations than Tom Green. Hell, he has more than even Uwe Boll. So clue us in to some of this everything I hate that is so good.
  • Josh
    Yes, it is true, Reeves is not such a great actor, but hey, I'm sure he'll do great in this one lol. And that's all that matters really, is how well he does in this one. Because I don't like him. ^_^
  • Tim "Cloverfield"
    Good job 57. feo, why do you have to pick on a HS girl? Just plain wrong.
  • reevesfan
    Keanu is a great actor. His style is not all that unique either. Watch Clint Eastwood sometime. And guess who has the most Razzie noms? Angelina Jolie. Keanu has never won one. He just got a Bambi award in Germany for best international actor. If you watch Devil's Advocate or Thumbsucker and say he can't act, I'll beat you on the head with a piece of Al Pacino's spit-covered scenery.
  • red & green Buttons
    feo does not HATE everything, I am sure he thinks trash like Tropic Thunder and ANYTHING with Seth Rogen has value. Happy Holidays.
  • lumière
    saw the remake yesterday on a preview, and did enjoy it a lot. as a modern blockbuster, it does stand up, but it also had a large number of overt influences from other, modern films. watched now, the original is clunky in terms of acting, but the story is killer. the world was going to end at any moment when it came out. fingers were poised on buttons on both sides of the superpower divide. America was 11 years away from the Cuban Missile Crisis, when matters really came to a head. people were very scared. you cannot underestimate, Alex, the effect that had on people worldwide. i do agree with other posters that just because you don't like an older film in terms of acting and FX does not detract from its classic status. ****SPOILER WARNING**** nowadays, people are bothered, but they are not scared about the future of mankind in the same way that they were in '51; they don't think they are all gong to be blown up by the atom bomb in 5 minutes. it does not, cannot, have the same emotional effect. the 'remake,' if it can be called as such, benefited from an enjoyable performance from Reeves that is much better than Rennie, for sure. i was surprised at how little mass destruction and carnage there was in the new film. it barely registers as a disaster movie, it's more cerebral than that. an understated cameo from Cleese offset the irksome presence of Will Smith's brat. the FX were an interesting diversion from the norm in such films, but there was still rather a lot of overt references to The Matrix, Cloverfield and War of the Worlds (2005). still, if you haven't seen it yet, it passes a couple of hours entertainingly enough.
  • http://www.feoamante.com Feo Amante
    "Cloverfield, Just because someone writes like a high school girl, how am I supposed to know that they are, in fact, a high school girl? #66, You do NOT want to go over to FS: Keanu Reeves To Become a Samurai in 47 Ronin They are just trashin' the boy over there! #67 Well see, there you go. TROPIC THUNDER does have value! And so does Seth Rogan. Tom Green? Not so much. But this message board isn't about me, it's about that damn Alex trashing the original TDTESS. So let's go back to piling on him! Yeah! [Sorry Alex, but its either you or me, pal! And it can't be me, I'm too pretty! :-) ]
  • feohatestheworld
    Besides her posts in the past where she was called a pussy, the clever answer and the mere fact her name is Meg. Clue? Good for you #68 and #49. Personally Rogen is weak, TT was, well if not for Downey, can't see the value. Stood Still, this film from what I have read, looks to be worth the 12 bux. "Feo hates this World and others like it" Plus we have all seen fraud web sites before. Have we not? And if you did not treat other posters like crap, ( like I seen and read before) here on First Showing, then maybe we could stay on topic.
  • http://www.feoamante.com Feo Amante
    #70 Not that I live on here reading every post. Does the fact that her name is also Nut mean she's insane? Clue? What fraud websites are you talking about? And where do I treat other posters like crap (like you have seen and read before)? I bet you can't find one. But hey, thanks for keeping me popular!
  • Ostilad
    Rock on, Alex. But next time remember a spoiler warning, will ya? All your points do sound valid.
  • http://pursang.wordpress.com Pur Sang
    Haven't seen the original , but the remake sucks big time.
  • sobercity300
    Feo the Fraud? YEA!??? Find one? I have a bunch of posts where you ran me off! FEO FRAUD! You are a Fraud, your site is a fraud, the quotes you have on your site are FRAUDS! Check my sites out sometime. FEOisaFRAUD.com or Era-gant-assamante.net feo and ineedattentionsobadirunofffansofmoviesbecuaeiamadickanddisagree.org Lot's of fake quotes and interviews. Just like YOURs!!
  • http://www.feoamante.com Feo Amante
    Ha! I remember your apology on this FS- First Look: Oliver Stone's Complete White House Cabinet #18 "OK sorry Feo, that was insensative." -sobercity300 And this FS- An American Carol #75 "Wow Feo….you are the man! I am your humble servant. But Pink Floyd and Phil are Nutz!" So what are you up in arms about now? And how did I ever do anything to you ever? Sheesh!
  • James Rigelow
    Wow. Quite interesting read. I like that you stand up for what you believe to be true and quality. Not like these elitist bastards on other sites. Here is an obnoxious example: http://chud.com/articles/articles/17390/1/REVIEW-THE-DAY-THE-EARTH-STOOD-STILL/Page1.html How I hate these elitists that call you out without any reasonable rebuttal. I hope you can stand up to that guy. Cheers and keep up the good work! James
  • JFDT
    This movie was awesome! Its been such a long time since I've walked out of the cinemas and felt like I was really apart of the film. I came home and the movie has been on my mind ever since. The last movie that did this was The Dark Knight. Haven't seen the original, but the remake was great! Nice Alex, Nice
  • Josh
    Yes, ok, I watched this film yesterday, and I liked it a WHOLE lot better than the original. The themes applied more to today's viewers than before, so it should've made more of an impact on us. And Gort was awesome in it! And Klaatu was sweet, and a little creepy. That's what I like. lol. And this film also made me think about it a lot like The Dark Knight did. ^_^. The CGI was great, and the story was amazing, acting was pretty good, and it had great ideas. I'm glad it had new themes as well as themes the original had. Nice movie.
  • http://www.skonmovies.com/ Sean Kelly
    I not going to defend the original, since I haven't seen it, however I would think that saying that you didn't like the original because it was "cheesy" is a bit of a cop out. I've seen my share of films that were definitely cheesy, but I still like them.
  • Brad Theissen
    Awful review, by a kiss ass reviewer. Give back Rush's drugs. The remake left me wanting more plot, more character development, more Klatuu, less VFX. The remake had NO drama, NO plot, NO suspense, NO message... unlike the original. It did have VFX. It was a cartoon, with some human actors standing around. With the small amount of story it did tell, it adequately represented the Bush administration, 6 years late. I want to know: what happened to Gort?
  • http://www.feoamante.com Feo Amante
    Dude! We killed off Rush's drugs while shooting an episode of Californication, and let me tell you, they didn't even last 'till "Martini time". Are we STILL talking about the Bush Administration? Um... I remember something about a shoe. But who throws a shoe? Honestly! If you stayed past the credits, you would have seen that Gort decided to stay on earth and now makes nano-balloon animals at children's birthday parties.
  • reevesfan
    What happened to Gort? Now I see why you didn't like the film. U R DUM. What part of little bugs raining down to the ground did you miss? This movie is simple, superbly executed and lovely in every way - from the acting, the suspense, and especially the message that it takes real experience with empathy before people can understand and love one another. The Christ metaphors are all over the place. You should see it again without those cynical adult blinders on, homie. It gets two thumbs up from me.
  • Steve Smith
    I saw both movies and remember the original fondly. But thinking about it in real time, I can agree with the original poster on one thing. There was a fare bit of cheesiness in the original movie. The message in both movies IS essentially the same. “You are destroying the earth, change now or we will make a permanent change for you.” The graphics affects in the 2008 version are brilliant of course. But that was different time. I wonder what a couple of Kid film students with a movie camera and Mac would do if we sent them back to 1951 today? This is why I have to discount the argument about why one movie is not superior and the other simply dated. In contrast there are contemporary R&B and Hip Hop artist Sampling portions of the works of classics artist of an earlier time today. Many of the listeners have no idea that the music they are listening to is a classic or from a renown artist of years gone by. They just simply enjoy the heck out of the over sampled and slightly altered classic. I think Billington falls under a similar spell. “As far as I can recall, never once does Klaatu or anyone in the remake ever mention the environment or that certain things (like cars or factories) are causing the Earth to die.” So what happened? Cat got his tongue? The man/alien was even telepathic in some respects. In my opinion this is a point of failure in this movie. So were going to kill all of you earthers to save the earth because??? My biggest if not the only real problem with the 2008 offering is in the way they deal with the destruction of the earth. Yes, yes it was a clever to use of cutting edge or forward looking technology of nano-bots as the agents of destruction. Today many people would understand the concept of a nano-bot. The problem is that it all looked a little too magical, thus too CG. It did not feel remotely realistic. Someone sprinkled pixy dust over the stadium and destroyed it eh? I would have liked it better if a number of “Gorts” appeared out of spheres around the world blasting buildings and people with its luminous Cyclops-like eye. A classic Frankenstein. My second problem with the movie is that I would have liked to see a little more of what this alien representative looked like before his metamorphosis. Thirdly I thought the original tied up the ending much more neatly than the 2008 version. Technically 2009 was a better made movie because there was less cheesiness and better acting and graphics. I do believe that the 1951 version did a much better job of telling the same story though .
  • Mahora
    OK, I don't feel like writing a looong rant about how much many people writing comments here suck, so I'll make it short. He didn't like the original movie, which you liked, so he doesn't deserve to be a movie critic? IN WHAT WORLD DOES THAT MAKE SENSE? He even said it kindly! Not like some critics that go like "This is the worst piece of crap I've seen in my life and it shouldn't be called a movie". And about the spoiler warnings: 1 I clearly saw "Spoiler Warning: The following article may contain spoilers related to both films." after the first paragraph but that might been added later. 2 What where you waiting from a movie review? Specially one called "Original vs Remake"! At some point he would have to compare major plot points!
  • Ivan Arcaya
    I saw both the original and the remake. In my opinion; the original is a better film. It may not have the advantages of the special effects advances but it still is a better acted and more suspenseful B Science Fiction Film.
  • Doctor Jones
    You ignorant son of a bitch.
  • Roland
    Nobody understands why the earth stood still in the remake!
  • StolenEtern
    I really like the new one, too, but the 08 remake could've been more emotional and touching, that would've made me like it a lot better
  • DWM
    I am probably getting in on this discussion a little late, but I really liked both movies. It is not fair to compare the 2 although.  I footnote this with the fact that they are really 2 extremely different movies. Very little of the 2 are comparable, in script, timeline, actors, or cinematography. My strongest feeling about the 2 is that the "new" movie should have been given a different name and thus the comparison between the 2 would not exist and they would thus stand on their own merit.
  • deferner
    I love the new GORT
  • MatthewThompsonDalldorf
    I'm watching the remake now and WOW is it ever dull; that's probably why I'm on the internet to kill time until it ends. I like how the DVD-set comes with the original because that's the only way they could sell this remake.
  • sugarpuff
    Totally agree. The original where dull and not immersive at all. Usually films that old are bad, the only good old film I saw was dr.strangelove and for some reason it was one of the best I've seen.

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