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The Day The Earth Stood Still Movie Review

Updated on July 4, 2011

The Day The Earth Stood Still - three stars

The trailers for the remake with the infinitely talented Keanu Reeves indicates that The Day The Earth Stood Still is a sci-fi action flick. The action part is incorrect. The original is almost devoid of all action, and I like that way. Usually sci-fi films are filled with action and violence. Though the robot Gort does injure some people and shoot some lasers the destruction is minimal. Nothing blows up. Objects hit by the laser disappear. Additionally, I can count the number of times Gort attacked on one hand.

The film is more about an alien learning about earth, and trying to determine how he can convey his message. However, that is just what happens. Obviously, the true meaning of the film is the theme. This film is completely theme. It is not meant to be purely entertaining like the remake appears. Though not all elements are philosophically sound and there are several missed opportunities for commentary, the majority is pretty solid. Basically, the alien was sent by his home planet to earth because terrestrials recently discovered atomic power. Therefore, in short time terrestrials would discover how to use atomic power to travel easily throughout space. However, since earth is currently at war, usually at war, and appears to have a predisposition to violence the aliens fear their lives are at stake. The alien's message is basically, "We never interfered with you before because what you do on your own planet is your own business. However, if you come into space and start attacking us, we will have to destroy you." Obviously, destroying all terrestrials is extreme. However, the basic principle is what government should be, and how people should behave. People can live their own lives because their lives are their own. However, if they start attacking other people they must be stopped.

My favorite scene is when the alien steps off his ship and states, "I come in peace and good will." His ship is already surrounded by the military. He walks toward the military line, extending an item towards them. When the item expands a soldier fires, inuring the alien and destroying the item. The alien then states that the item was a gift, and with it man could create life on other planets. The message here is that people react to force to quickly. Defense force or retaliatory force can only be used in response to initiating force. Extending an item does not violate anyone's natural rights; therefore, defense force is unnecessary, and is actually aggressive force. Obviously, the alien should have explained the item was a gift as he approached in order to assure his safety; however, his lack of speaking does not legitimize their force. He has the right not to speak.

My other favorite scene is after the alien has abandoned his ship to go undercover and learn more about terrestrials. During his absence the military keep his ship and robot surrounded and then they try to break into both of them. Once again initiating force is displayed through the violation of property rights. Of course, the alien did park on a baseball field, violating the field owner's property rights. However, no one asked him to move, and the alien may be unaware that he parked in the wrong spot. Of course, he was monitoring earth for a while so he should have known. However, this was completely a missed opportunity regarding property rights because the alien notices people are trying to break into his ship and does not say anything. He does not even shake his head as he constantly does throughout the film. Unfortunately, the alien does break into someone else's house, making him an aggressor. Consequently, any head shaking at the attempted breaches of his ship combined with his breaking and entering of a house would make him contradictory. This is just one of the few philosophically unsound moments.


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    • Matt in Jax profile image

      Matt in Jax 6 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

      I do think that the film had a great internal message as you've detailed, but the acting just feel short for me and I wasn't blown away as much as I feel I should've been.