The Day the Earth Stood Still brings “stone-faced silliness” to what’s intended to be a “philosophical discussion” of humankind’s foibles, writes Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News. The human-extinction sci-fi remake's “major action sequences are never exciting,” and its attempt to make a point “results in something just as clunky as a mega-robot with laser-beam eyes,” Neumaier writes.
The film’s “scenario and many of its scenes feel ripped off rather than freshly imagined,” observes AO Scott in the New York Times. Its hope to “rise above its pulpy, corny, somber silliness rests mainly on the shoulders of Keanu Reeves.” Kenneth Turan of the LA Times applauds Reeves’ performance: “When you want distant and disconnected, Reeves is your man,” he writes.
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