First Word on “The Day the Earth Stood Still”

ComingSoon.net offers a review of Scott Derrickson’s The Day the Earth Stood Still!

Director Scott Derrickson actually does a better job within the sci-fi genre than he did with supernatural courtroom concoction of “Exorcism of Emily Rose,” creating a well-crafted film that maintains the feel of foreboding from the original movie without losing sight of how the world has changed. You can tell the filmmakers really understand the central premise behind the original alien invasion movie, one that avoided all the big-scale destruction of “Independence Day” and “War of the Worlds” in favor of thoughtful exploration into why aliens might land on earth and pose a threat. Even so, they’ve found a satisfactory blend of CG FX moments and dramatic scenes of human interaction.

The results are extremely relevant and timely, possibly even as much or more than it was 57 years ago. These days, humans aren’t just destroying each other with violence and warfare, but also destroying the earth through pollution, yet those ecological issues are handled far more subtly than “The Day After Tomorrow” and “The Happening.” There’s an eerie amount of forethought to what’s going on in the world today from the stock market crashing as soon as the alien appear to having a female Secretary of Defense played by Kathy Bates. In some ways, they’ve created an amalgam of every single sci-fi film released by 20th Century Fox with eerie similarities to “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” showing how far the influence of the original movie has extended. Watching the world come to the realization there’s life out there and the world might be ending works as well here as it does in the original.

Congratulations, Mr. Derrickson! I can’t wait to see the film.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.


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