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Fails to deliver the powerful punch of the original
on 9 September 2014
This was never going to be an easy re-make, the classic much loved and respected 1951 Robert Wise film still ranks as one of the best science fiction offerings even today.
It could be argued that a reboot attempt was overdue, and I held out some hope as Keanu Reeves is a good actor and has some grounding in the science fiction arena (nobody would complain about the Matrix being a good film and his solid acting in that) Reeve should be a perfect match for the emotionless Klaatu main character, but sadly there are quite a few problems with the film that go beyond cast members.
The storyline is broadly based on the 50's film, some diversion (mostly for the bad) but pacing is a problem, and the script is frequently rather bland and predictable. Worse, leaving aside the not to get attached to Klaatu, you can never connect or feel anything for the other cast members, nor really care much about them. For some reason they also decided to throw John Cleese in as Professor Karl Barnhardt, whilst I have a lot of time for Cleese (in comedy roles) his presence here is poorly judged.
SFX wise, despite the big budget it not quite up to the level you would expect even if they unloaded $80 million on the film it's far from bad but lacks that wow factor the deep wallet suggests.
It would be fair to say the 50's version had it's flaws the familiar cheesy soundtrack (but it worked so well) even the older GORT despite the obvious costume was more memorable, the script was good, the story had real meaning and was well structured. This newer version lacks just about every aspect that made that film work. A real shame, I struggled to sit through this version and it's sadly one that won't be getting viewed very often. A film can work even with flaws, but this is a film without any soul, and lacking in character or connection for the viewer.
A real let down, pass this one and head straight for the older version