I think we're all dreading the remake of stately, spare 1951 classic The Day the Earth Stood Still because the original is still so visually stunning even after all these years. Here, a human who has befriended visiting alien Klaatu has to tell Klaatu's super-robot Gort to help her rescue the endangered alien. The scene is done entirely without dialog save for one line delivered in Klaatu's language. And yet you'll be sucked in by the gorgeous use of shadows, textures, and curvy interiors that make the movie feel almost like scifi noir. Plus, the music is seriously cool.

Also, note that when Gort goes into the spaceship (dig those interiors), his computer is operated by gestures. Same kind of stuff we saw depicted 55 years later as "futuristic" in Minority Report. I like Gort's computer better though — it has way more style.


Movie geeks like Peter Biskind say The Day the Earth Stood Still is a standout among cheesy 1950s movies because its humanitarian message and anti-war sentiment stood in stark contrast to the dominant political feelings of the era. In most 50s movies, the alien is the enemy and the military save humankind from evil space threats. But here, Klaatu the alien is the most heroic character and the military is depicted as misguidedly aggressive (though not entirely unsympathetic). If you haven't ever seen The Day the Earth Stood Still, now's the time before your mind is polluted by the remake starring Keanu Reeves.