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The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) Poster

Goofs

Revealing mistakes 

During the car chase scene the clip is mirrored - the drivers are on the wrong side of the car and the license plates are reversed.
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Anachronisms 

When the film showed the shot of London where everything had stopped. The red bus that was shown has not been in service since the early 90's.
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Character error 

The formation that Whiskey Task Force forms up in when GORT breaks out is militarily unsound; placing all of the unit's vehicles and troops within a large mass presents a large target area that could be exploited by the enemy.
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Continuity 

When Helen and Jacob are in the cemetery, the scene from behind Jacob shows Helen's hand on his shoulder, the next scene from behind Helen shows her hand on his upper arm. The scene switches back and forth several time and as it does, her hand goes from shoulder to upper arm and back to shoulder again.
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During the car ride with Jacob in the rear seat, he is shown buckled-up on the driver's side of the car and in the next shot, he is suddenly on the passenger's side (buckled-up as well).
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In the beginning of the movie, when Helen Benson walks into the room of her son, in the background on a shelf you can see an action figure resembling a karate fighter due to its white outfit. However, when Helen leaves the room again, the figure is gone. It is replaced by an entirely different action figure.
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When Klaatu is standing in the interrogation room after putting on the suit, the interrogator's right hand is still on the machine. In the next shot, his hand is on his leg.
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When Dr. Benson asks the government agent why the highway is shut down, the car window next to the agent is rolled up and completely closed, as evidenced by numerous rain droplets on the window. When the camera angle changes to show the convoy on the empty highway, that window is now completely open.
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Errors in geography 

When Klaatu is walking in the train station, the "VIA Rail" signs make it clear he is in Canada.
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Factual errors 

No British news service would use the British flag as its banner. The British flag is not widely flown within the country. It's never shown on television; stations feel that viewers already know which country they're in.
The surgeon is seen talking with his mask off just before beginning the procedure. A surgeon would have had his mask in place before approaching the operating table.
As the spacecraft lands, its downward thrust causes a park bench to be uprooted and blown across the ground. That kind of pressure would have sent everyone in the area flying across the ground as well, yet only two people are blown over, the rest of them, even the woman who grabs her child as its pushchair is blown away, manage to stay on their feet.
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The door to the flash chamber complex is blown several hundred feet in the air when the Nano robots get out when actually they absorb materials and don't blow things away. The door should have disintegrated as with other things that they came into contact with.
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The robot figure intercepts the MQ-9 Reapers and flies them into what is depicted as a M1 Abrams Main battle tank. The destruction depicted could not have happened, even with the missile warheads on-board. The M1 variant tanks have taken hits from "explosive" tank rounds in combat with only minimal damage to their advanced armor composites.
The colonel commands the controllers of the MQ-9 Reaper to fire their Sidewinder air-to-air missiles at GORT in his robot form. The Reaper carries only GBU-12 Paveway II or AGM-114 Hellfire II air-to-ground missiles. Considering the situation, the most likely payload would be the Hellfires. In addition to this, when we see the drones in flight, there are no Sidewinders visible on the wings; only what appear to be Hellfires.
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'Sidewinder' missiles are fired at GORT while in robot form and in insect form. AIM-9 Sidewinders are heat seeking, air-to-air 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, and they would not have been used when GORT is in his robot form, as he is on the ground.
The MQ-9 Reaper is powered by a turboprop engine, not the jet engine shown in the film.
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The M1A1 Abrams tank that one of the drones taken over by GORT lands on is a U.S. Marine tank, as evidenced by the 8-barreled smoke grenade launchers on the side of the turret that was used only by the Marines. The crewman seen jumping off, however, is wearing an Army uniform.
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A tandem-rotor helicopter can be seen transporting scientists; it is a CH-46 Sea Knight, used the U.S. Marine Corps, but it has 'United States Army' written along its side. The Army has never used Sea Knights, but uses CH-47 Chinooks, which are very similar visually, but can be distinguished by its large engines at the back, which the Sea Knight lacks.
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Miscellaneous 

Nearly all U.S. soldiers seen in the film are wearing Interceptor Body Armor (IBA) shoulder protection pads when in combat gear. While American troops did wear these, the shoulder pads were never as widely used as is depicted onscreen; most often, troops only wore the IBA vest.
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In the sequence when the world's electricity is "neutralized", the shot of London, showing stopped traffic around the Thames River, there is clearly a motor boat moving up the Thames and out of the shot. If all of the car engines were stopped, the boat's engine would also have been stopped, too.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Klaatu was bleeding from the wound on the right side of his chest, yet when he smeared the wound with medicine, it was on the left side. The first time, Klaatu was looking in a mirror.
Even though it is 2008, Klaatu's ship, being identified as "object 07/493" and "discovered just beyond Jupiter's orbit" could have been discovered in 2007 because, as Michael said, "At first, it was projected to pass millions of miles out of Earth's orbit."
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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.
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As soon as it was discovered that the object was not following a gravitational freefall trajectory, it would have been known to not be a natural object. However, the make-up of the science team that's been assembled (including a civil engineer) suggests that the plan is more for dealing with First Contact than physical aftermath of an impact, suggesting that they are quite aware the object is Alien rather than natural. After all, if the scientists had been gathered only to deal with the aftermath, then they would have been gathered at a location a safe distance from the predicted landing site.
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As Dr. Benson arrives at the facility, a soldier is depicted carrying a .50caliber MG on his shoulder, up a small incline. Although possible, it is unrealistic due to the extreme weight (85lbs) with the barrel inserted. Under normal operations, the barrel is inserted only after emplacement/mounting of the weapon system. However, the .50 cal. machinegun is regularly carried as shown, but rarely for long distances (and, for a fit person 85 lbs. is not an "extreme weight").
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When the mother ship lands in the park, the shadows of approaching people shrink. One would expect they should lengthen, since the light is descending. However, if the light is coming from within the sphere, and it is approaching people not from directly above, but horizontally, shadows would appear to shrink.
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Vladimir Putin appears in the global reaction videos, yet he had left office by then. He is still the Prime Minister and de facto ruler of Russia, so Putin making official statements about an international crisis is believable.
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When Helen follows Klaatu into the forest, she leaves Jacob in the car, telling him to lock the door. As instructed, Jacob locks the door. Problem is, the car has 3 other doors which he does not lock. However most modern (post-1980s) cars have a feature called "central locking". At a minimum, all the doors are locked/unlocked if the driver's side lock is operated.
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Plot holes 

If just a dab of the placenta material can heal Klaatu's cut, then when he was initially shot, he should have been fine since he was covered in pounds of the "magically healing" placenta material.
When the Alien object is approaching Earth, it's known not to be in free fall. Yet they pinpoint exactly where the object will land.
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Although aware of multiple smaller spheres landing elsewhere on Earth, none of their potential landing sites appears to have been investigated or guarded.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Klaatu is in the car healing the incision on his chest, Helen watches in amazement. The incision was on his left side and he pulled his shirt and jacket to the left in order to apply the placental balm. With Helen driving, sitting on his left, there was no way possible for her to watch any of this.
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As the helicopter lands to unload the scientists including Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) in Central Park, the rotors don't seem to be creating any down-wash as evidenced by the dead leaves on the ground. They're completely motionless around the helicopter.
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While Klaatu is first emerging from the orb and many people are shielding their eyes from the very bright light, none of them is seen with a shadow falling across their eyes.
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(at around 1h 08 mins) When the television speaker announces the latest news that there was riots in "London, Chicago, and many cities in China", on the screen you can see some vandals breaking stores, police on horses, and the third video is not from listed cities, but from Belgrade (Serbia). They used a historical event which occurred on 5th October 2000, when 500,000 demonstrators set the Parliament building on fire. On that day, Slobodan Milosevic was overthrown from power.
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The sphere in Central Park is bright and glowing, yet it doesn't seem to be reflected in the windshields of the vehicles on the site of the landing.
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Spoilers

The goof item below may give away important plot points.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Klaatu's business suit doesn't completely disintegrate in the storm. However, careful viewing shows that it does start to fall apart as he approaches the sphere.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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