A huge spherical object lands in New York's Central Park, and a first
response team led by members of the military and scientific community
set out to check it out. Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly
"A Beautiful Mind")
makes contact with a strange being getting out of the orb, but it's accidentally shot by a soldier, demandng immediate medical attention.
Eventually, the humanoid-looking alien named Klaatu (Keanu Reeves
explains his purpose. Mankind's lack of environmental concern and
overall violent nature has led other civilized planets to mandate the
destruction of the entire population. While the Secretary of Defense
(Kathy Bates "
) plans an armed solution, Helen helps Klaatu escape, and
along with her stepson Jacob (Jaden Smith
"The Pursuit of Happyness"), she tries to convince the
extraterrestrial being that humanity is worth saving.
If you can forget the 1951 sci-fi classic, on which it's based, this version directed by Scott Derrickson
("The Exorcism of Emily Rose") is actually a very entertaining film with an important message. And the leading role is perfectly suited to Keannu
Reeves' type of detached performance. This is a
movie about ideas, debates, and the really tough questions of a 21st
century civilization and its success as entertainment overrides
any of its Buck Rogers cheesiness.
The cast is uniformly fine, including John Cleese
and James Hong
in cameos roles. There will be some who still crave more action and adventure, so if you're devoted to the original, nothing will make up for your contempt for this version. But if you're willing to see it with an open
mind, you'll find this remake does not disgrace the original, and it's sufficiently
different to stand alone and just as relevant in its concerns about nuclear war.