December's remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still isn't just jettisoning the original version's storyline, it's also losing most of the things that made the 1950s version cool in the first place, according to a new script review. But at least Keanu Reeves (playing Klaatu) will get to be messianic once again, which is all any of us asks for from our motion-picture entertainments. Click through for details (and spoilers, of course.)
In the new version of TDTESS, astronauts aboard the space shuttle find a transparent sphere, which they bring aboard. But then it escapes from them and joins thousands of other spheres, on their way down to Earth to collect specimens of plant and animal life.
Meanwhile, we meet Helen Benson, a scientist played by Jennifer Connelly, and her whiny kid Jacob, who wants to play violent video games all the time because his father died in Iraq.
And then an enormous energy sphere lands in New York, and Keanu steps out, surrounded by American soldiers, guns at the ready. Keanu gets shot, and his pet robot comes out. But allegedly, the robot is called "The Totem," instead of Gort. It walks on all fours, shoots its destructo-ray, and then stands upright when it's done, like a totem pole. Or something.
Klaatu/Keanu goes into hospital and escapes in a military uniform. He befriends Helen and her son Jacob, and they help him meet up with Mr. Wu, another alien from Keanu's planet who has been monitoring Earth for the past 30 years. For some reason, Mr. Wu is based out of a McDonald's. And we learn that because of global warming and other environmental catastrophes, aliens have decided we're not fit to survive. So they're going to wipe out the planet.
At some point, we get the scene where everything in the world stops and chaos erupts, but supposedly it's not as cool as in the original version.
Klaatu's ship releases an energy field which nearly destroys the Earth. But the Earth survives, and Klaatu dies for some reason. As he dies, he gives a speech about how we need to change our ways if we're to survive.
Missing from the new version are Keanu calling himself Major Carpenter, the phrase "Klaatu Barada Nikto" (which Keanu swore would be in the film), the Klaatu/child interactions at the Lincoln memorial, the Arlington Cemetery and Klaatu's spaceship, and the kid witnessing Gort attacking the two guards and discovering Klaatu is an alien. And the Hugh Marlowe character. [Ain't It Cool News]