Does the human race have the ability to evolve into something better? That is the essential question "The Day the World Stood Still" tries to address. Honestly, I can't say the movie does a very good job with coming up with any kind of answer. I have never seen the original version of this movie so I can't really compare the two, but in this modern day version an advance alien civilization in the form of Keanu Reeves comes to Earth to save the planet from the destruction brought on by the human race's greed. During the course of the movie, it is revealed that Earth is one of the few planets in the universe that can support complex life and is too valuable a resource to be destroyed by a single species. The alien's solution is to destroy the human race amd let the Earth recover. I have to question how evolved that reasoning is. The aliens see something of value in the planet and have no hope we will change, so they decide it's okay to kill us so they can still use the planet. If you ask me, that sounds like the exact thought patterns they disdain in the humans.
By the end of the movie, humans have shown the capacity to change. Apparantly deciding that the entire human race may come together and set aside our destructive ways if faced with imminent destruction, Klaatu (the alien played by Reeves)has a change of heart and spares us. Of course, there is a catch.
Certainly, this movie has aspects that will make you think and I can tell what lessons this movie is trying to point out, but the circumstances at the end of the movie do not lend themselves to the kind of changes in mankind the aliens seem to seek. In fact I would say the exact opposite type of change could be expected, which seems to defeat the whole message of this movie.
The acting performances from Reeves and Jennifer Connelly are good with strong supporting roles by Kathy Bates and John Cleese. In fact, though a short scene, I think the scene with Cleese is one of the best in the movie.
The special effects are decent though nothing that really blows you away. If you have seen the commercials where Giants stadium disintegrates, then you have probably seen the most spectacular scene in the movie.
As I said before, I have never seen the original version of this movie, but I have a feeling it was probably superior to this one. Overall, this movie might be one that you will wait to watch on DVD.