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The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  12 December 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 134,387 users   Metascore: 40/100
Reviews: 692 user | 275 critic | 34 from Metacritic.com

A remake of the 1951 classic sci-fi film about an alien visitor and his giant robot counterpart who visit Earth.



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3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Gilroy ...


Dr. Helen Benson is summoned to a military facility with several other scientists when an alien spacecraft of sorts arrives in New York City. Aboard is a human-like alien and a giant robot of immense size and power. The alien identifies himself as Klaatu and says he has come to save the Earth. The US military and political authorities see him as a threat however and decide to use so-called intensive interrogation techniques on him but Dr. Benson decides to facilitate his escape. When she learns exactly what he means when he says he is there to save the Earth, she tries to convince him to change his intentions. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


12.12.08 is the Day the Earth Stood Still


Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sci-fi disaster images and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

12 December 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

D.T.E.S.S.  »

Box Office


$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£2,752,132 (UK) (12 December 2008)


$79,363,785 (USA) (27 March 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| | | (IMAX version)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Kyle Chandler's last name in this is Driscoll. In 2005 he starred in Peter Jackson's "King Kong" remake whose lead character played by Adrien Brody had the last name Driscoll. See more »


When Klaatu, Helen, and Jacob leave Professor Barnhardt's house, Klaatu asks to be driven to a location where he can retrieve one of the smaller spheres. They travel to "Highlands, New Jersey", stop in a forest, and Klaatu raises the sphere out of a swamp. Highlands, New Jersey is a sandy, beach-front community in northeast Monmouth County, right on Raritan Bay. It has no forests, and no swamps. However, the Highland region of New Jersey is a mountainous region west of New York City, encompassing parts of Passaic, Sussex, Warren, Morris, Somerset and Hunterdon counties. The region is heavily forested and it is likely this is the location/region being described in the film. See more »


Professor Barnhardt: I have so many questions to ask you.
Helen Benson: [addressing Klaatu about the music playing] It's Bach.
Klaatu: It's beautiful.
Professor Barnhardt: So we're not so different after all.
Klaatu: I wish that were true.
See more »


Referenced in Baphomet: The God of Transformation (2010) See more »


The Goldberg Variations: Aria Da Capo and Variation No. 1
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Ryan Franks
Courtesy of Crucial Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Sponsored by McDonald's, Citizen, Honda and LG
13 December 2008 | by (London, UK) – See all my reviews

A schizophrenic film. Scott Derrickson has done his best to make a run of the mill CGI-enhanced sci-fi thriller but has found himself thwarted by the remarkable screen presence of Keanu Reeves and the ghost of Bernard Herrmann.

Reeves was the draw for me; where some find him laughable, I find him sober and engaging. His alien-in-a-human is at once non-porous of emotion but registers the emotional to-ing and fro-ing that decide his actions. He's a classy screen idol, well-cast. The rest of the cast (the very capable Jennifer Connelly included) are at the mercy of a truly ridiculous story both in concept and in local narrative. The gravity of the situation in which humankind as represented by Americans finds itself is only captured in the single-gear performance of Reeves and the unobtrusive but peculiar 'Herrmann' score, resurrected for the film by Tyler Bates.

There's a lot of silliness - a lot of cartoonish world's end drama which, strangely, doesn't do what it purports to which is update the 1951 original. It still feels dated. We are also presented with John Cleese as a Nobel Prize winner. Well that's also ridiculous on the face of it - but I tell you something, if the end where nigh and you wanted someone leftfield to plead your seemingly intractable case, you'd do a lot worse than Cleese. As a final oddity the product placement in the film seems at odds with the frowning upon consumerism that's at it's heart. Or maybe they're companies leading the charge to save the world. It's all a bit confusing. 4/10

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