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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 134,406 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?


The computer game Jacob Benson (played by Jaden Smith) plays is World of Warcraft (2004). See more »


Sidewinder missiles are fired at GORT while in robot form and in insect form. Sidewinders are heat seeking missiles, targeting objects on the thermal scale of jet engines. There is no suggestion that GORT is emitting a heat signature on that scale in either of his forms. See more »


John Driscoll: So is it a machine or a living thing?
Flash Chamber Colonel: Both. Or neither.
John Driscoll: What do you mean 'neither'?
Flash Chamber Colonel: It seems to be some sort of silicone-based hybrid. We're calling it GORT: Genetically-Organized Robotic Technology.
John Driscoll: The military and their acronyms...
See more »


References Get Smart (2008) 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

I couldn't sit still, let alone stand.

I don't know about the earth standing still but I certainly had a hard time moving after this one finished. I think I may have been in shock. I didn't know they still made movies as bad as this. That's me, I guess; the eternal optimist, thinking one day Hollywood will see the error of their ways. I'm starting to think there's a greater chance of aliens landing in Manhattan though. You don't take a highly regarded classic like THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and update it for no reason other than to make a few bucks. Sure, you can pretend there is purpose; you can cash in on the current environmental crisis fears by insinuating that aliens have come to earth to save the planet from the horrifically unappreciative human race. When you make a film with such disregard for quality though, you can't do anything to convince me that you actually care about what you're trying to say.

I will give Hollywood this though; they have finally found the perfect vehicle for the now- veteran Hollywood actor, Keanu Reeves. Reeves plays Klaatu, an alien in human form who has no capacity of expressing human emotion or understanding the intricacies of human nature and interaction. It might as well say that at the top of Reeves's resume so this is Reeves in his element. Honestly though, this is the first time I can say that Reeves's presence in a film has absolutely nothing to do with why it is unwatchable. You know you have a problem when dialogue is so bad that it even drags Reeves's acting down. In fact, having the familiar Reeves on board for this uneventful journey, alongside the strikingly beautiful, Jennifer Connelly, at least gives us something pretty to distract us from the banality of the entire affair. Klaatu certainly rocks that three-piece suit though.

The earth is supposed to stand still on this particular day because aliens have descended upon Central Park in a giant weather sphere of sorts. It is a momentous occasion, one that could be the sign of the end of days. Yet, in THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, panic hardly seems to be in the air. Panic comes from a fear of the unknown and an inability to see a solution to your problems but David Scarpa's script is so painstakingly obvious and formulaic that you can see right through to the end at all times. I hope I'm not giving anything away here but as if this film would finish with humanity's extinction. And when the devices used to create the melodrama are so laughably contrived (who knew that a white step mom and a black step son could have such hard times getting along?), at least you have the special effects to revel in. Mind you, when the special effects are even more ridiculous than the ensuing melodrama in a big sci-fi pic like this, what is there to keep you sitting still, let along standing?

You'll never believe this but humanity, or at least the American government run portion of humanity, take immediate military action against the alien invaders before giving them the chance to make their case. This next bit is even more shocking. Apparently, violence is not the answer to solving our problems. I swear, I learned so many hard life lessons watching this movie. Perhaps the most important lesson though is that humanity will never learn. THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL represents the same disposable and commercial interests that are the root of our environmental problems. Yet, here is it preaching against the very values that justify its existence. For that reason alone, I would consider this film to be one of the most hopeless (and hapless) films of the year. We're essentially doomed so I say you can take it, Klaatu. Earth is all yours. We clearly don't deserve it.

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