DVD Review

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (2003)

EW's GRADE
A

Details Release Date: Mar 04, 2003; DVD Release Date: Mar 04, 2003; Movie Rated: Unrated; Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy; With: Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal

It's the scariest movie I've seen in a long while, and not simply because of the story -- a knowing, mature sci-fi morality play about a spaceman who comes to Earth with a grave warning about our future. No, Robert Wise's film is frightening because its themes so eerily mirror our war with Iraq. Fearful that our aggression as a species will escalate beyond our terrestrial borders, alien emissary Klaatu (Rennie) scolds the world's assembled minds with words that could be from President Bush's State of the Union address: ''There must be security for all, or no one is secure.'' In the film's rather brave ending, humanity is left with a sobering set of options: annihilation or peace guaranteed by the presence of superior, undeniable force. Today's sci-fi filmmakers could learn a thing or two from an old black-and-white gem that has the here and now written all over it.

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Originally posted Apr 11, 2003 Published in issue #704 Apr 11, 2003 Order article reprints