Keanu Reeves: 5 Awesome Performances And 5 That Sucked
3. Klaatu - The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008)
The Day The Earth Stood Still is a sci-fi classic, combining a timely theme of global nuclear annihilation with 1950s B-movie trappings and able direction by Robert Wise, who went on to make The Haunting and West Side Story. Any remake would have to justify its existence with more than simply improved effects, which is pretty much all that it has going for it. But the most curious quality to Scott Derrickson's film was his decision to cast Keanu Reeves as Klaatu. The Day The Earth Stood Still begins in the present day with a large spherical spaceship landing in Central Park. The alien Klaatu emerges, along with a giant robot Gort; after Klaatu is shot, Gort emits a powerful energy beam which temporarily paralyses all human life nearby. After being taken to a military hospital, Klaatu is analysed and explains that he has come with an ultimatum for humanity: to cease the destruction of their planet's natural environment, or be wiped out of space and time forever. Considering that Klaatu is an alien who begins to assimilate human behaviour, you'd think that Reeves would be a natural choice even in his plankiest moments. In fact, Reeves' acting is so wooden and unchanging that he makes the CGI Gort appear to have a lot more personality. Far from being intimidating, his Klaatu sounds like a bad impression of Mr. Spock - which could be passed off as an obscure in-joke, given that Wise later made Star Trek: The Motion Picture. But no amount of pop wisdom or pointy ears can salvage either this film or Reeves' shockingly inept performance.
Freelance copywriter, film buff, community radio presenter. Former host of The Movie Hour podcast (http://www.lionheartradio.com/ and click 'Interviews'), currently presenting on Phonic FM in Exeter (http://www.phonic.fm/). Other loves include theatre, music and test cricket.