In the new sci-fi thriller, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Keanu Reeves is an alien named Klaatu who arrives on our planet so he can save it--From us.
The big plan is to let loose these flying metal bugs, which enter the human body and shred it so you're dead in a few mili-seconds. The bugs also mince into trucks, glass and anything else that comes in the way. After this super-sanitizing job, Klaatu says, the earth will have a chance to recover from the damage we have wrecked upon her. But a brave biologist and her precocious step son help Klaatu see the goodness in human beings and saves humanity from the fate of the dinosaurs.
This special effects-loaded ecological cautionary tale is a remake of a 1951 classic sci-fi film.
The cold war subtext in the original has been updated to reflect more contemporary American anxieties about the post 9-11 world. But neither the text nor the sub-text can save it from being a crashing bore. Reeves, who is cinema's original blank slate, goes through the motions with a single expression and charisma set at low beam.
The drama is limp and predictable. It is also overwhelmed by the effects, which involve, among other things, giant luminous globes, which circle the earth and one super-cool visual of the bugs shredding a big truck. The Day the Earth Stood Still is pretty stagnant itself. Steer clear.