The Day The Box Office Stood Still
Andrew Klavan watches Keanu "Whoa!" Reeves' remake of a beloved 1950s sci-fi film so you don't have to:
Over the weekend, I watched The Day The Earth Stood Still, a 1950’s sci-fi classic retooled for the present day… if by retooled one means transformed into a nauseating smorgasbord of left-wing cliches. Yowser, this puppy has everything from the Good Muslim to the Trigger-Happy Military to the Evil Guy With The - Ooooh! - Flag Lapel Pin, and those are just for starters. Hey, thanks for guiding us with your moral wisdom, Hollywood Moviemakers - I guess you really do get enlightened during all that time you spend driving between divorce court and rehab.
Anyway, as to the movie’s plot: Keanu Reeves plays a monotonal alien, which is kind of like me playing a conservative novelist. He comes to earth on a mysterious mission so the Secretary of State summons astro-biologist Jennifer Connelly, because when aliens invade your planet, dude, you need the cutest scientist you can find.
Jennifer discovers that Keanu is sort of a spaceman Al Gore - like Al Gore himself - on an enlightened mission to save the earth from pollution. How is he going to accomplish that? Why, by destroying the human race that causes all the mess, of course. That’s right. He’s going to murder every man, woman and child so the trees won’t die. And he’s the good guy!
It must’ve been really hard for the people who made this film to understand why it underperformed at the box office - as hard as it is for us to understand how they managed to give themselves colonoscopies with their own heads. I mean, they actually thought we were going to root for a creature who was going to slaughter our children in service to An Inconvenient Truth.
And why not. That's not too far removed from the plot of another film from 2008, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, which James Kirchick of the New Republic dubbed “The Most Morally Abhorrent Film Ever Made”, adding “the mere existence of the human race is a cause for great shame” in Shyamalan’s film.
Including the cost of prints and advertising, it's likely that neither film made back its budget, let alone turned a profit at the box office, based on the numbers at the Internet Movie Database.
Can Hollywood ride a crowd-pleasing trend, or what?