Okay, I did what I try NEVER to do and that is to read a movie's reviews before I go to see it. I know, that's what ratings are for, right? To help you make an informed decision about whether or not to invest the time in a particular work. But I prefer to be completely unbiased, aside from whatever impressions the previews tended to give me, before I give myself to a new film. So I did a quick google scan of some of the reviews for "The Day the Earth Stood Still", and saw mostly negative feedback. I have to say, however, that I wonder what kind of lenses those critics used to watch this movie, because apart from what I consider to be a few minor flaws in the plot (rarely does a plot completely satisfy me), this movie was outstanding and i'd have no problem seeing it again tomorrow.
The general plot is that earth is visited by an advanced alien race (just go with it, okay?), who have come to see if it just might be possible to reason with this particular species who is threatening to ruin life for all of Earth's other inhabitants (pollution, war, giving Gore a Nobel, etc.). Well, first thing we do (under a Bush administration, anyway), is try to blow our weary space traveler to kingdom come, shooting him in the chest with small arms fire, and thus sealing the fate of human kind as we know it. The remainder of the movie is spent giving you the pieces of two parellel event lines, one that is an awesome twist on a most timeless story, and the other exploring who we are as a species. In a well planned (by the writers) series of circumstance and coincidence, our self-healed visitor is slowly but surely educated about the "other side" of mankind. Shoot, even one of their own (the only other alien in the movie) who was sent to observe us some 70 years prior consented to the fact that humans were as cuddly and lovable as they were deadly. Some compassionate, logical, teary-eyed scenes later, ET becomes convinced that humankind does indeed deserve the opportunity to evolve at the precipice of his own destruction, and intervenes to stop what would have been our certain demise.
Those scenes of emotion, compassion, logic, reasoning, and tears that I mentioned: all were very believable and flowed seamlessly together. I wish they would have had the sense to give little Mr. Smith a more masculine "do" (long dangly curls on a little boy are somewhat distracting), but the little guy still did an outstanding job in his role as the fatherless child who helps ET connect with his feminine side.
Oh, and I really REALLY loved the sci-fi that was woven in, as far as technologies, special effects (not a whole lot were needed in this particular design, but what was done was perfectly believable in the bounds of my own imagination), and what I believe were some truly original concepts. I won't give away any more of it, but what cooler way can you think of to end all traces of humanity than to create a swarm of auto-reproducing nanobots that behave like locusts and eat not just plant material, but metal, concrete, and flesh? OUTSTANDING!
Oh, one more thing you have to be mindful to do before seeing this movie: erase whatever memory or impressions you may have about the original 1951 version. Just let it go, leave it behind, pretend it was a completely different movie...which it is. Allow this contemporary version of "The Day The Earth Stood Still" to stand on its own merits and I am confident that you will be as satisfied with the investment of time and money as I was.