Starring: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Billy Gray,
Frances Bavier, Lock Martin
Directed by: Robert Wise
Story: An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live
peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.
Inspired by Harry Bates' short story "Farewell to the Master", The Day the
Earth Stood still is about an alien visitor who's trying to help mankind. In the
beginning we see a flying saucer land on the Ellipse in President's Park,
Washington, D.C. A Christ-like being from another world named Klaatu
emerges and declares he has come on a mission of goodwill and peace.
However, when he opens a small, menacing-looking device, he is shot and
wounded by a nervous soldier. In response, a large robot called Gort steps
out of the ship and disintegrates all weapons present without harming the
soldiers. Klaatu's mission is made very clear from the very beginning. He
wishes to speak with any and all of the Earth's world leaders in hopes of
preventing a universal conflict. Klaatu's efforts however aren't enough to
keep the government from trapping him and denying his requests.
Klaatu then escapes into the city where he meets a woman named Helen
Benson, along with her son Bobby. Bobby helps Klaatu meet with Jacob
Barnhardt, a Professor of Science. Together they discuss a means of getting
the Earth's best and brightest together for a very important meeting. Klaatu
warns his friends of the dangers that may come. The Day the Earth Stood
still is a classic science fiction film that relies very little on special effects.
Instead, it focuses more on the message it's trying to convey. This is what
makes Day the Earth Stood Still stand out from all the other sci-fi classics.
Most movies cleverly hide a message, but hint at it enough for you to
understand. The message in Day the Earth Stood still is bluntly obvious from
the very beginning. Klaatu, the being from another world tries to warn the
people of Earth that they must stop with all the fighting.
In this story, mankind is reaching closer to discovering space travel. Across
the galaxy, other races are listening in to what the humans are up to, by way
of their radio broadcasts. If you haven't figured already, these aliens are very
nosy. Anyway, now that the galaxy has figured out what the humans are up
to, they're living in fear. Fear of what the humans might do if they reach
other planets. Much how they fight wars with their own people, the aliens are
afraid that mankind with start wars across the galaxy. To prevent this from
happening, Klaatu meets with the Earth's brightest to warn them that if they
do decide to travel outside of the planet, they must cease the fighting.
Because if they don't, they will be wiped off the galactic map. That's pretty
harsh considering that they haven't really done anything yet. But after seeing
how badly they hurt their own kind, they aren't taking any chance.
Klaatu did manage to land on earth, but not alone. Along with him came
Gort, a giant indestructible robot who has the power alone to wipe out the
planet. Klaatu explains to everyone that his people are similar to humans,
only that they don't start wars with each other. They're peace loving aliens
who figured out a way to keep things peaceful. Klaatu's race built robot to
police their own planet. Whenever their's a threat, Gort immediately stops
those who are harming others. This concept alone intrigued me, because
these robots have the power to overthrow anyone and anything. These
aliens are very confident that these robots will continue to bring peace. Thank
god they didn't build Skynet. I loved everything that this film had to offer.
The acting, the script, the music, it's all grade A material. I have nothing but
praise for this movie. As I said before, this film relies very little on special
Luckily we still get to see some mild action between the military and Gort's
deadly laser beams. The anti-war message in the movie is made clear from
the start. I loved the story and I praise its message, but what I loved most
about Day the Earth Stood Still is its visual. The cinematography is terrific.
The excellent use of shots and lighting make it a very surreal experience that
may never again be captured on film. I especially loved Gort, the unstoppable
robot. Gort's image is used in most of the posters and publicity stills
(including the original poster used in this review). Gort has this strikingly
scary presence that makes you curious as to whether he's friend or foe. It's
like what you see in most of the other movie posters from this era. They
tend to feature their monsters on the main poster to attract an audience.
They did the same thing with Robby the Robot in the original poster for
"Forbidden Planet", another sci-fi classic that has a special place in my heart.
As much as I loved this movie, the ending did leave me with more questions
than answers. Most of it comes from Klaatu's dialog and his faith in "the
almighty spirit". Most people compare the character of Klaatu to that of Jesus
Christ. I would give you some examples, but I would end up spoiling some
parts of the movie. I would have liked to learn more about Klaatu's race and
faith. The Day the Earth Stood features many themes including science, war
and religion. Although its anti-war message is very clear, it doesn't beat you
over the head with it. It's cautious yet thought provoking. If you haven't
seen The Day the Earth Stood Still, then you're missing out on one of
Hollywood's greatest achievements.
Genres: Drama, Sci-Fi,
Runtime: 92 minutes
Review done by: Nightmare Child
Online since: February 20th, 2006