Keanu Reeves, The Day the Earth Stood Still
Credit: WETA

Brimming with Cold War anxiety, Robert Wise’s 1951 The Day the Earth Stood Still is nearly sacrosanct in sci-fi circles. Even so, Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) insists, ”It’s not like The Wizard of Oz, a movie that everybody has seen.” In this version, the alien Klaatu (Reeves) comes to Earth to warn of imminent doom by environmental, not atomic, annihilation. Connelly, who stars as an astrobiologist helping Klaatu understand humanity and negotiating for our survival, thinks Derrickson has preserved the original’s humanist essence: ”Scott felt there was room for a version that spoke to us today, how we treat each other and the Earth.”
OUR TWO CENTS We’ve stood still too long waiting for Reeves’ sci-fi return, though M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening may have exposed an inconvenient box office truth about eco-thrillers. 12/12
DEEP DIVE Wise’s opus itself took liberties with Harry Bates’ 1940 short story, Farewell to the Master, available online at

The Day the Earth Stood Still
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