The Day the Earth Stood Still a.k.a. “D.T.E.S.S.”, “O Dia em que a Terra Parou,” “Le Jour où la terre s’arrêta,” “Päivä jona maailma pysähtyi,” “Ultimatum alla terra”
Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
Sci-Fi, Thriller, Drama, Remake
1 hr. 43 min.
Year of Release:
December 12, 2008 (wide—3,559 theaters, including 123 Imax screens)
DVD: April 7, 2009
Should Christians be concerned about the environment? Answer
What is man’s responsibility to the environment? Answer
How might rain forest destruction affect our weather? Answer
What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer
Are we alone in the universe? Answer
Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer
Questions and Answers about The Origin of Life Answer
“12.12.08 is the Day the Earth Stood Still”
Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) is a scientist and a widowed parent to a disrespectful stepson, Jacob (Jaden Smith). Her life quickly changes when the U.S. government shows up at her house, informing her that she is now in federal custody due to a national emergency. Dr. Benson soon finds out that an unidentified massive object from space will impact Earth within 78 minutes. A collision never happens, but instead an enormous glowing sphere lands in Central Park. While the military and other scientists are cautious and ready to attack, Dr. Benson bravely walks towards the sphere and reaches out her hand, almost touching one of the aliens. Before they can make physical contact, the alien is shot.
The alien is then rushed to a top-secret location where his wounded is tended. Once regaining consciousness, he shares that his name is Klaatu (Keanu Reeves). He wishes to speak to the world leaders about saving the Earth, but is denied Believing him to be no threat, Dr. Benson helps him escape. Later on, it is discovered that Klaatu is indeed on a mission to save Earth. However, Klaatu tells Dr. Benson that humans are killing the Earth. In order to save the planet, all humans will be destroyed. Racing against time, Dr. Benson tries to convince Klaatu that humans can change for the better if given the chance.
The movie starts out strongly. The audience is almost immediately captured into the action when Dr. Benson is taken into federal custody. With these events, an action-packed sci-fi is hinted at. When we meet Klaatu, he’s intriguing, and some suspense is created in trying to discover his true purpose. However, the movie soon loses momentum after Klaatu’s escape when Dr. Benson suddenly becomes a chauffer, and the woods become the new setting. Jacob’s disrespectful attitude also becomes a nuisance since he does not change until the very end.
The cast is very talented. Jennifer Connelly and Keanu Reeves were the first choices for their appointed roles, and they do not disappoint. Connelly brings emotion and sincerity to her role, while Keanu Reeves was perfect to play the emotionless Klaatu with his famous stoic face. Even Jaden Smith carries his role strongly. I wouldn’t be surprised if he follows in his father’s, Will Smith’s, footsteps to become a full-time actor.
The offense in the film is quite low, but they are still worth mentioning. Jacob Benson is very disrespectful to Helen. He’s constantly argumentative and disobedient toward his stepmother. I heard no curse words, but the Lord’s name is profaned two times. Impressively, there is also no sexual content. When Klaatu is morphing into a human, one can see that he is naked, but this is only shown from the side.
Violence is moderate throughout the movie. Since the military is involved, there are some gunfire and missile explosions. When he found it necessary, Klaatu does injure or kill some humans. He electrocutes one man; this scene was unexpected and caused me to jump a little. On more than one occasion, he causes a loud screeching noise until guards writhe in pain. He also causes two helicopters to explode and crash. He crushes one man between two cars. Although, he is shown later healing the man. When the aliens decide to destroy the world, small metallic bugs consume whatever is in sight. Unfortunately, one man is caught in the midst and is shown beginning to bleed through his nose as the bugs slowly kill him.
The movie also preaches some false teachings of which Christians need to be aware. In a moving scene, Jacob tearfully begs Klaatu to bring his father back to life. Klaatu then tells the young boy that in the universe no one truly dies, but transforms. This is in direct contrast with God’s Living Word which says that “just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”
Throughout the film, humans are merely viewed as pests who should be exterminated to save Earth. The planet is portrayed more valuable than a human life. The aliens give themselves a god-like status in determining to heal the Earth. In Genesis 1:28-30, God gave humans dominion over the planet and everything in it.
Of course, this is not to say that we should not take care of the Earth! Plants, animals, and even nature are God’s gifts to us to help sustain life. All of these gifts should be taken care of with Christ-like responsibility. For although God did give us dominion of this wonderful planet, we must remember that He still owns it. In Psalm 24:1, it reads:
While I did not find the film highly offensive, I do not believe it’s the best remake ever made or even excellently made. The theory of human extermination in lieu of Mother Earth certainly did not help me in wanting to see it again. If you truly want to see the movie, I recommend you wait for it to come out in DVD.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.