The Day the Earth Stood Still Reviews
The interesting thing about this film is although it is set back in the 1950's, Robert Wise's message still resonates in today's time where the planet is filled with war and nuclear threats. It really shows how the world goes into chaos when there is no electricity or technology as you see in one scene where Klaatu almost makes time stop without the electricity working.
Wise also demonstrates the errors we have in our government even in the twentieth century and how our government views war as being the "right thing to do" as with Iraq, Vietnam, and Korea.
While the basis of the film is well-done, I found the acting subpar. Rennie felt monotoned and though he was reading his lines word for word while the rest seemed overdramatic and rehearsed.
Although the film is shot in black and white, there still is an aspect of color that got the film to become a "grade A production" for that time period. And if anything, this film sets the tone for the science fiction genre that continued onwards with films like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "Alien".
Even though that casts' efforts were not the best, the story and depiction of the genre excel and make the movie an all-time classic. I have not yet seen the Keanu Reeves version although I feel like it could not be the original "The Day The Earth Stood Still".
"The Day The Earth Stood Still"
Running Time: 70 min
This is a film that has proudly earned its Hollywood Classic stamp.
This particular example is a very strong movie of its kind with eerie music by Bernard Herrman and nuanced direction. People back then did these movies impelled by the true feeling of dread of nuclear annihilation.
I thought Michael Rennie was good as Klaatu. He had an alien demeanor to him that was almost robotic, but there was also an underlying softness that took off some of the edge when he was interacting with other people. Child actors are often a struggle for me, but I enjoyed Bobby Benson. It's certainly in the golly-gee style of many 50s kid's performances, but it seemed to fit with this movie and his role in it.
I couldn't help laughing at a few of the ways life was different back then. For instance, when the Mom allows her son to spend the day with a stranger touring the city. Also, the police seemed entirely too laid back and relaxed when tensions were escalating. The nature of Klaatu's mission is a little odd when you actually think about it, but I got over it quickly because the message he delivers had significant relevance to the original viewers of this movie.
It's a film that I did enjoy to a point, but it didn't impress me in any significant way. It possibly suffered a bit because I literally saw it only a few hours before I went to see Arrival in the theater, and that movie has some similar themes but is more nuanced in the way those things are handled. I'd probably watch The Day the Earth Stood Still again if asked but it won't make my list of favorite science fiction films.