Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Day the Earth Stood Still ...the same day I nearly died of boredom

I just don't get it... I can't believe someone actually shelved the money to produce this ...thing. Did anyone in their right mind see the screenplay or storyboard before saying, 'Go, do it', or someone just thought, 'Why should I care, not my money, I get my salary either way' or even worse, 'Now is my chance to stick it back to the boss, I'll just sneak a couple of papers in the pile for him to sign and by the time they realize what's going on, it'll be far too late'? Or maybe nobody cared in the first place - a couple of renowned names cast, a trailer full of mysterious sounds and showing nothing and the big name of the original were thought sufficient to lure the unsuspecting victims to pay to see this tripe? Now that I think about it, choosing a rookie director makes sense from a cutting-corners point of view - plain and simple, they were after your buck and the trailer was considered enough, the movie itself is just a side effect. 

Let me start with the plot... there are no plot holes, that should be a saving grace, right? Wrong! There are no plot holes because there is no plot to make a hole in - warning, major spoiler ahead - aliens came and shut down the power switch, that's it. Did anyone think (I sure did) 'Boo-hoo, the horrors, it will take the human race what, like 20 minutes to replace the fuses and start again all engines'? Anyway, if the movie were consistent, it would be just plain and boring, but its tempo was chaotic and uneven, and that was further aggravated by scenes that lacked any justification or even common sense. Why did we get introduced to the initial tissue sampling (if that's what it was) back in 1928? It was completely irrelevant to the story and as it turned out later, quite redundant, as shown by the presence of 70-years old aliens later. The whole story looked like something glued together from randomly ripped pages from several classic SF books).

The cast... the cast looked as bored as I felt (but unlike them I had popcorn, I'm sure they wished they had too) and they were all donning pretty much the same desperate "Fuck, I know, I know, not my fault, contract obligations, just let's get done with that, get my check and get the fuck outta here" facial expression - that is, except for the kid, who was thrown in just for the cute factor (or someone was trying to suck up to Will Smith's ass?). Keanu's stiffness was understandable, after all he stated explicitly that being alien it would take some getting used to his body, but Jennifer Connely seemed as a pale shadow of her usual talented self, showing a range of emotions from wide-eyed amazement through wide-eyed disbelief to wide-eyed fear. Ok, maybe some wide-eyed diarrhea-related embarrassment as well. Granted, her eyes are pretty nice.

Visually - lots of bad CGI. Exampli gratia, the textures on that big robot were awful, and the particle-based destruction sequence was just some big chaos - that scene could have been shot in a bathtub of sand with a vacuum cleaner. The blue screen usage was quite obvious in several places because of inconsistent lighting - all in all everything seemed rushed and sloppy.

Long story short: 1. Don't pay to watch it. 2. Don't watch it even if somebody else paid for it. 3. Don't even try to pirate it, that would be a regrettable waste of bandwidth. 4. Friends don't let friends watch it. In particular don't take your girl/boyfriend to watch it, that may be considered an attempt to break up.
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