Is nothing sacred anymore? How many remakes by Hollywood can actually stand up to the originals and proudly say that they were just as amazing and as brilliant? Very few. I am not fond of remakes. Methinks this is scraping the bottom of the creativity barrel, so I had second thoughts about watching the 2008 version of a 1950s classic (and Golden Globe winner for Best Film), The Day The Earth Stood Still.
In fact, I only discovered that Keanu Reeves was playing the role of Klaatu when I was lining up to buy a ticket. Suddenly, the bad taste left in the mouth by the disaster called Johnny Mnemonic (ugh, too university days!) came back like some ghost of bad movies past.
On the hindsight, the new version is visually appealing - effects and all. Honestly, I think dying by having a billion shards of metal insects fly through you is just too weird (that's it? Nothing - apocalyptical?). I like the idea of having orbs collecting several species of Earth life. There is none of this in the original, of course. What the original lacked in effects however, it made up with its brilliance.
I loved how the original Klaatu immersed himself in the human experience - renting a room and actually spending time with a family, befriending a boy, watching movies and eating ice cream. All throughout the new film, bits and pieces of the original kept creeping in every scene I got too distracted. I am really sorry I watched the new version. I shouldn't have in the same way that I skipped Wicker Park because deep in my heart I know it will never hold up against the lovely L'Appartement (1966). I mean, with Monica Belluci and all, how can the original go wrong? Right, I am biased. I lurve Belluci.
Anyhow, if you have the chance to find a copy of the 1951 version, please watch it. Let me know what you think.