Ennui from outer space!

Aliens from outer space tend to come to our world for two reasons: to blow up our planet, or to save our souls. In “The Day The Earth Stood Still,” they want to do both … kinda. It gets complicated. A remake of its 1951 inception, the film begins much like the original, with a massive UFO landing smack in the middle of Central Park. The UFO is piloted by Klaatu (Keanu Reeves), an extraterrestrial ambassador who wears a human body to survive on earth – sort of an organic space suit that looks exactly like Reeves. Klaatu attempts to introduce himself, but less than two steps outside his ship, he’s shot by snipers and dragged to an undisclosed location for scientific testing. The military wants to glass-case Klaatu indefinitely – only concerned astrobiologist/single mom Jennifer Connelly senses that there might be more to their alien than meets the eye.Aliens once again prove to be nifty; Klaatu escapes and reveals his true mission, determining whether humanity is worthy of existence. If not, we’ll have to face a giant, indestructible android with a death-ray stare named Gort. Gort is not friendly. The film does an effective job of capturing the paranoia and sense of foreboding in the original. The special effects are also quite good, and there are some great sequences involving the descending UFO over Manhattan, with shafts of blinding white light pulsing through the skyscrapers. Once Klaatu judges mankind however, the story limps from dull drama to dull set piece. With all of humanity slated for execution, the stakes in “The Day The Earth Stood Still” couldn’t be higher. Ultimately, it’s just hard to give a damn about humanity. The characters are flat-out boring, often featuring personalities shaped entirely by occupation – like the Tough Soldier and the Government Stooge. The acting is wooden, almost across the board. Reeves blinks and stares his way through the film, while Jennifer Connelly just looks embarrassed and Kathy Bates performs with as muchenergy and enthusiasm as your average cinderblock. “The Day The Earth Stood Still” debates whether human beings are good or evil – but in the end, it seems to be saying that we’re just really, really bland. I don’t know if being criminally mediocre deserves getting your planet blown up, but if “The Day The Earth Stood Still” is anything to go by, it could be worth looking into. “The Day the Earth Stood Still” Directed by Scott Derrickson 3 Arts Entertainment Rated: PG-13 Directing 2/5 Special effects 3/5 Acting 2/5 Angry giant robots: 5/5