The Day the Earth Previewed

16-Sep-08 4:30 PM by
Filed under Trailers; 8 comments.

More than a year ago, I blogged about the announcement of a pending remake of the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still. Due for release on Dec 12, 2008, the Keanu Reeves film's first trailer was released this past July, but more telling is this seven-minute preview that aired just last Sunday.

This footage gives us a much better sense of the film, while still leaving some questions. The remake appears to have a dark, threatening tone — appropriate for today's world and a departure from the original. It's been awhile since I saw The Day the Earth Stood Still, but I remember the primary danger being merely the loss of power, not the disintegration of entire stadiums. The only threat to the civilizations of 1951 came from the implied capabilities of an out-of-control Gort, who I presume we've seen no hint of in the above trailer.

Oh, and Keanu Reeves' Klaatu is a terminatrix.

What are your thoughts on this remake: More unnecessary Hollywood regurgitation? Another mindless Keanu Reeves film? Or a modern and significantly original reimagining?

Reinventing the Reel

28-Aug-07 12:53 PM by
Filed under Films; 6 comments.

"Twentieth Century Fox has set Keanu Reeves to star in The Day the Earth Stood Still, its re-imagining of the 1951 Robert Wise-directed sci-fi classic." Story continues at Variety.

I've never quite understood (from a critical, not business, perspective) Hollywood's proclivity for remaking classic films, as it seems to be a formula for failure. When a seminal movie defines an era or genre, not only does it set a nigh-unreachably high standard, it also defies the need for reinvention. What could a remake do that the original did not? Has a remake ever surpassed its source? Instead, directors should take quality concepts with flawed executions and bring out the potential that was previously unrealized. They can't do it any worse, can they? Granted, remaking Clonus into The Island wasn't the most brilliant display of strategery. But I, Robot could've been either a good Isaac Asimov adaptation or a good Will Smith sci-fi action thriller — two good concepts which drowned each other in execution. Pick one, remake it, and you might have a single good film.

As for the specific remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still, Star Trek author Dayton Ward has already envisioned a worst-case scenario better than I could, so I'll leave the acerbic commentary to him.

Long Walk Off a Short Pier

24-Jan-07 1:51 PM by
Filed under Reviews; 2 comments.

Temporal mechanics intrigue me, such that I'm willing to go to great lengths to expose myself to such — whether it is watching Adam Sandler's Click, or perusing Nicholson Baker's revolting, aimless The Fermata.

It was this drive that led me to The Lake House, despite reviews urging against such desperate action. For those who didn't get the memo, this newest pairing of the Speed duo of Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock has them sending letters (but little else) to each other via a mailbox that transports Bullock's notes two years into the past, to 2004, and Reeves' two years into the future.

The Lake House is what you get when you cross the concept of Frequency — two-way communication between temporally-displaced individuals in the same house — with the plot of Happy Accidents — someone trying to change the past to find a soulmate. I found the former film fascinating: I love Dennis Quaid, and though the movie's application of temporal mechanics may've been illogical, it was both unique and internally consistent (and applied to a murder-mystery, which is infinitely cooler than a romance). The latter film tried my patience with unlikable protagonists and a plodding plot. The Lake House falls firmly in the middle of those two, not just in quality but in devices, featuring both unlikable protagonists and internally inconsistent mechanics.