Jump to content



Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo
DVD Reviews

HTF DVD REVIEW: The Day the Earth Stood Still (Recommended)



This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
5 replies to this topic

#1 of 6 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

    Executive Producer



  • 10,596 posts
  • Join Date: May 09 2002
  • Real Name:Cameron Yee
  • LocationSince 2006

Posted December 02 2008 - 01:48 PM

Posted Image

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Release Date: December 2, 2008
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Packaging/Materials: Double-disc DVD case
Year: 1951
Rating: G
Running Time: 1h32m
MSRP: $19.98

 MAIN FEATURE
Video1.33:1
AudioDolby Digital: English 5.1, English Mono, Spanish Mono, French Mono
SubtitlesEnglish, Spanish


The Feature: 4/5
Intergalactic space relations get an inauspicious start when Klaatu (Michael Rennie), an alien bearing an important message for Earth, is summarily shot by a jittery U.S. Army soldier. Thankfully Klaatu is the understanding sort and stops his laser beam shooting robot, Gort, from doing more than just vaporizing the Army's weapons. But his understanding gets its true test when the leaders of the world show the same level of suspicion, treating him like a criminal and rebuffing his requests for assembly to discuss the fate of the planet. If not for Helen and Bobby Benson (Patricia Neal and Billy Gray), a mother and son who embody the best the planet has to offer, he probably would have written the world off long ago. Grabbing everyone's attention will obviously require some dramatic action; unfortunately it may mean Klaatu having to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Fans of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" love to point out the parallels between the alien Klaatu and Jesus Christ. Sure, Klaatu comes from the heavens, becomes a Carpenter, dies, and is ultimately resurrected, but I've always wondered who Gort, that great lunk of a peacekeeping robot, represents? Perhaps Gort is just Gort - clunky but endearing, not unlike the script's messianic allusions. The pointed anti-war message is still relevant of course, though the cynic in me gave up on popular entertainment effecting world change long ago (though I'm curious whether the upcoming remake will still be anti-war or if it will go for something environmental). For me, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" is ultimately about classic science fiction fun - reveling in the wavering tones of the theremin, geeking out over giant robots, and intoning that timeless phrase, "Klaatu Barada Nikto."


Video Quality: 4/5
The film is correctly framed at 1.33:1 and generally blemish-free. Black levels are very good, stable and inky. Fine object detail is decent, as seen in the varying cloth textures, though fine patterns can be subject to slight noise. Film grain is treated reasonably well with minimal compression artifacts, though background areas may show some fluttering. The image also shows noticeable edge halos along high contrast edges.

The transfer appears largely identical to the one on the 2002 "Studio Classics" release.


Audio Quality: 3.5/5
The 448 kbps Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is mostly front focused with some modest support for the score in the surrounds. Dialogue is consistently clear and intelligible and the track in general sounds clean and full with little in the way of unnecessary manipulation. For purists the disc also includes a 192 kbps mono option.


Special Features: 5/5
The special features have been expanded considerably from the 2002 "Studio Classics" release, though the 80-minute documentary "Making the Earth Stand Still" and restoration demonstration have not been carried over. Previously released extras have been tagged in green.

[DISC ONE]

"The Day the Earth Stood Still" (2008) Preview (7m49s): The preview of the upcoming remake starring Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly plays automatically upon disc load and can be skipped with the chapter forward button. Anamorphic video with stereo audio.

Audio Commentary by Director Robert Wise and Nicholas Meyer (Director, "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan"): Meyer serves as interviewer on the track, asking a lot of questions about Wise's methods and tastes, and the pair cover a lot of informative ground.

Audio Commentary by Film and Music Historians John Morgan, Steven Smith, William Stromberg, and Nick Redman: The quartet provide a highly informed discussion about the film's score, which was written by Bernard Herrmann, and makes a great companion to the isolated score.

Isolated Score: In 192 kbps mono.

The Making of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (23m53s): Nicely produced documentary covers the requisite points, including story development, casting, production, and scoring. Anamorphic video with stereo audio.

"The Mysterious, Melodious Theremin" (5m40s): Musician Peter Pringle provides a quick tour of the radio wave-based theremin, along with a look at the instrument's use in the film's score. Anamorphic video with stereo audio.

Main Title Live Performance by Peter Pringle (2m17s): Pringle shows us what it takes to play the fascinating instrument. Anamorphic video with stereo audio.

"Farewell to the Master" - A Reading by Jamieson K. Price (41m29s): The audio track features Price reading the Harry Bates short story that inspired the film.

Fox Movietonews (1951) (6m22s): The archival news reel includes a brief mention of the film receiving a certificate at a science fiction convention, while the stories surrounding the fluff piece include the world's fight against communism in Asia.

Teaser Trailer (1m01s)

Theatrical Trailer (2m09s)

"The Day the Earth Stood Still" (2008) Trailer (1m48s) Anamorphic video with stereo audio.

[DISC TWO]

"Decoding 'Klaatu Barada Nikto': Science Fiction as Metaphor" (16m14s): The documentary provides historical context for the film and analyzes its themes and messages. Anamorphic video with stereo audio.

"A Brief History of Flying Saucers" (34m02s): Detailed documentary looks at the UFO phenomenon since the 1940s, focusing specifically on the Roswell Incident. Anamorphic video with stereo audio.

"The Astounding Harry Bates" (11m03s): Profile on the science fiction author. Anamorphic video with stereo audio.

"Edmund North: The Man Who Made the Earth Stand Still" (14m44s): Detailed profile on the screenwriter who adapted the Bates short story for the film. Anamorphic video with stereo audio.

"'Race to Oblivion': A Documentary Short Written and Produced by Edmund North" (26m42s): In 1982 North wrote and produced this nuclear disarmament public service announcement for the Physicians for Social Responsibility. Burt Lancaster hosts the affecting piece that includes frank descriptions of the effects of a nuclear bomb and a moving interview with a survivor of Hiroshima.

Galleries: The sizable image collection includes an "interactive pressbook," advertising materials, behind-the-scenes stills, portraits, production stills, spaceship construction blueprints, and the shooting script.


Recap

The Feature: 4/5
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 4/5

A classic of the sci-fi genre gets very good audio and video treatment and a stellar set of extras, though the significantly expanded set does not carry over a couple notable items from the previous release. Though the new edition is still worthy of a double-dip, owners of the "Studio Classics" release should hold onto it to have the most complete set of extras, as well as the superior cover art. Recommended.
One thing leads to another at cameronyee.com

#2 of 6 OFFLINE   Ed St. Clair

Ed St. Clair

    Producer



  • 3,320 posts
  • Join Date: May 07 2001

Posted December 03 2008 - 09:45 AM

Thanks for the review!
Glad you mentioned the doc "The Making of..." is way shorter.

(too badd this doesn't use the bitchin PAL cover, still interesting tho)
Movies are: "The Greatest Artform".
HD should be for EVERYONE!

#3 of 6 OFFLINE   Bill Parisho

Bill Parisho

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 140 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 16 2004

Posted December 06 2008 - 02:11 AM

Well, here I go again. Double-dipping.

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Chris S

Chris S

    Screenwriter



  • 2,523 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 09 2000
  • Real Name:Chris S

Posted December 06 2008 - 02:36 AM

Considering I still have a VHS copy lying around this will be a triple dip for me. But I'm not worried since this is an absolute classic title and one of my personal favorites. Thanks for the review!
DVD & Blu-ray - It's all about the movies!

#5 of 6 OFFLINE   BillyFeldman

BillyFeldman

    Supporting Actor



  • 593 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 04 2008

Posted December 06 2008 - 03:59 AM

I know it's minor, but might want to correct the spelling of Herrmann.

#6 of 6 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

    Executive Producer



  • 10,596 posts
  • Join Date: May 09 2002
  • Real Name:Cameron Yee
  • LocationSince 2006

Posted December 06 2008 - 09:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyFeldman
I know it's minor, but might want to correct the spelling of Herrmann.
Done. Thanks!
One thing leads to another at cameronyee.com