One of my all-time favorite sci-fi films is the 1951 classic, The Day The Earth Stood Still.
For those of you unfamiliar with it, a UFO lands in Washington D.C. and an alien and his giant robot emerge from the saucer. As one would expect of the Cold War era, we don’t take too kindly to aliens landing in our capital, so we promptly shoot the humanoid alien, Klaatu. That’ll learn ’em! What follows is learning that the boy and his robot have come to Earth to teach us new lessons while making peace. The deeper story is don’t be so quick to distrust the unknown.
It was such a great example that not only could films make a commentary on the modern day political climate without being over bearing, but you could also have a sci-fi story about more than just laser beams. It was a commentary on so many aspects of 1950’s America, and it was a well-crafter film to boot.
So, now in 2007 we have to remake it… with Keanu Reeves.
Look, I’m not going to claim the original was the pinnacle of storytelling, or even the best acted film around, but it is a classic that is very specific to its time and place and cinematic history. It is not going to be an easy film to update to modern times, and if you overdo the special effects, you’ll kill the heart of the story. Of course, none of this is to mention the inclusion of the little wooden boy known as Keanu.
Say what you will about Keanu, he can’t act. He may be a nice guy, but seriously, he couldn’t act his way out of a wet paper bag that’s been pre-cut. He made *one* film I can stand to watch more than once, and that was Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure because, let’s be blunt, he was playing to his strengths. The role of Klaatu carries with it a certain weight, a vibe of “Oh you cute little humans, let me help you, you little scamps”. Keanu does not have that skill.
I know, I know, I’m pre-judging a movie again, but dammit, this is one of my all time favorite movies, LEAVE IT ALONE! I don’t want it remade, re-imagined, re-diced, updated or any other damned word, and I certainly don’t want it to star the block of wood known as Keanu!