This may sound silly, but there's no way that The Day The Earth Stood Still would exist today in any sort of proverbial vacuum. To get the most obvious reason out of the way, we wouldn't have the 1951 original to lift from, in which an extraterrestrial visitor advises Earthlings to knock off their paranoid Cold War aggression, or else. Secondly, this incarnation is so transparently indebted to the likes of Twentieth Century Fox's other PG-13 sci-fi actioners, Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, that it's hard to imagine the same studio putting out this film first. Better yet, try seeing this particular re-imagining come about without the success of Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds bolstering the profile of other '50s sci-fi efforts (new variations on Forbidden Planet and When Worlds Collide loom still on the horizon).

No, I'm afraid that it was fated to be that the Earth would stand still once more, albeit in Manhattan instead of Washington D.C., because that's how Roland Emmerich would've done it, and with a robotic threat adjusted from the height of Yao Ming to something several stories taller. Who needs flying saucers when giant orbs will do? And why bother with a pesky still-relevant message against the tolls of war when environmental concerns are all the rage? If anything, TDTESS '08 shares most characteristics with the aforementioned metallic menace: it's sleek, loud and incapable of expressing emotion beyond some big booms.
categories Reviews, Cinematical