Netflix Review: The Day The Earth Stopped

This might actually be a regular feature around here. I wrote this late Friday evening after watching this on the Netflix site. Early Saturday morning (for shits and giggles) I decided to look up some other reviews on the movie. They all agreed with me. Rare? Yes.


Movie Summary

The idea of the film is that an alien race believes that Earth is on a dangerous course to becoming an eventual threat. In a preemptive action, the aliens send 666 “megalith” robots to Earth to destroy it. In addition, they send two humanoids. The male’s mission is unclear and never really known. The female called “The Destroyer” is in charge of deciding whether or not the humans should be destroyed or if they have a quality that makes them worth saving.

Initial Problems

The movie was made in 2008 and they were still using CRT monitors? Granted, they took over a warehouse building in the very beginning of the film. What computers were they using? Just big bulky old looking desktop PCs littered the “command center” and give the viewer the feeling that these props were donated by the local recycling center. In the beginning shots, someone off camera is talking while the camera is focused on people who seem to have nothing to do with what is being said.

Displays (when shown) were nonsense and didn’t portray a visual idea of what was happening. For example, Independence Day had various computer displays used to enhance the viewing experience. You should be able to look at these displays and get some type of “understanding” about what the actors see and what is happening. In this film, the displays made no sense and I couldn’t tell what they were trying to show. Is that a picture of a megalith? Why is it blinking? What does this mean?

A few great effects such as the megalith standing in the middle of the city were under utilized. The shots were really well done as far as CG (computer generated shots) goes. The problem with this film is that there were not enough CG shots. They re-used the same shot over half a dozen times. This makes me think that they had a woefully small budget or only had the use of a Commodore 64. Judging by the CRT monitors, I might just be right about that.

Military Problems

The military was poorly done. No real uniforms. No rank insignia. Drove Chevy Suburbans instead of Hummers. Couldn’t tell what branch it was. The movie didn’t contain shots showing the scope of military involvement. The commander’s lackey (assistant?) wore a suit and tie and looked to be about 16 years old. There were a few shots in the beginning of the movie where the lackey held a cell phone to his ear; ok, why? The guy in charge was clearly unshaven and his haircut was borderline unsatisfactory from a military standpoint. In other words, he would never pass any basic military inspection. The highest ranking officer on scene would have been a General and not a mere Commander.

Script Problems

Story was probably a 1st rough draft and not developed. If the script would have been developed and then shot by a competent director, this movie would have been pretty good aside from the fact that it still would have been considered a rip off of The Day The Earth Stood Still. I felt that it was made just because someone gave the money to do so. After reading other reviews on IMDB, it has been brought to my attention that this movie mimics “The Day The Earth Stood Still.” The remake was released around the same time and someone in the review section thinks that by releasing a movie with a similar name they hoped to garnish some of the other movies audience.

This is the 2nd movie (The Land That Time Forgot was the other one) that I’ve seen that was directed by C. Thomas Howell and in both cases, they weren’t directed very well. I wonder why he’s doing it. He also stars in the film and “over acts” nearly every scene. I used to think that C. Thomas Howell was a young actor who was going places. He did; go places. He just didn’t go to a good place.

The basic plot of the movie and the basic questions should be answered in the first 10 minutes (10 pages of script) of the movie. This movie did not do that. Only about mid way through the movie did we understand what the plot was and what the protagonist needed to do to succeed.

Naked Problems


Wow, the gratuitous nudity in the beginning of the film reminded me of the last C. Thomas Howell movie I had seen. Not quite sure why both of the human “alien” characters crashed their ship when the walking two-legged robots landed without a problem. Ok, so they crashed their ship; so at what point did they need to be naked? I am all for nudity but only when necessary and it just didn’t seem appropriate here. Don’t get me wrong; Sinead McCafferty is gorgeous without her clothes on but this movie could have been made without her showing her goodies.

Logistics Problems

The female alien human chick gets shot (for reasons I’m still not clear about) and afterwards while lying on the hospital bed her mascara runs. The woman was captured in her naked state and then given clothes and she is locked in a room. At what point would she have applied mascara and at what point would she have known what it was? This is another element that was out of place and didn’t fit.

Near the end of the movie when we are still unclear as to the fate of planet Earth, all the lights all over the planet go out. We cut to a shot of a car chase and low and behold, the lights are on in the city. Huh?

Judd Nelson was listed in the credits and only makes a brief appearance. His wife gives birth in the back seat of a Suburban. The baby is born with none of the usual “mess” and also appears to have aged 3 months from womb to air.

Because of a poor story, inconsistent visual elements (like the mascara), and bad acting this movie was painful to watch.

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