Look, I'm just saying that if you're going to make a movie about a wise, aloof hippie from outer space, there are worse people you could cast than Keanu Reeves. Keanu might not be world's most charismatic actor, but he does exude a stoic, disconcerting blankness. This trait works exceedingly well in the remake of 1951's The Day the Earth Stood Still, in which an alien named Klaatu (Reeves) shows up in a spaceship that looks like a giant marble to tell humanity how fucked up we are. Humanity reacts in a predictably fucked-up manner (Quick! Shoot missiles at the marble!), except for one super-hot scientist (Jennifer Connelly) and her super-annoying adopted son (Jaden Smith).

The original The Day the Earth Stood Still was a cynical, hardnosed tale: In 1951, a friendly Klaatu (Michael Rennie) and his robot buddy, Gort, warned humanity that if we didn't stop killing each other, the civilized races of the galaxy were gonna eliminate us out of self-defense. In 2008, Klaatu and Gort... well, don't do much of anything, really. Here, humanity's destruction is already more or less a sure thing, but for different reasons: In 1951, America's fears were atomic bombs and pinko commie bastards; now, the environment is in shitty enough shape that Klaatu's a sort of extraterrestrial Captain Planet, angry enough at our treatment of Earth that he's willing to scrub us off of it.

It's not a bad idea for an update, and the first hour or so is solid: Retaining the B-movie tone of the original, this film's cool, weird, silly, smart, and only occasionally nonsensical. But once Klaatu teams up with Connelly and her kid, things start to fall apart: The filmmakers decide to needlessly justify Gort's goofy name (now he's made out of "genetically organized replicating technology," or something?), the narrative urgency tapers off, and the whole thing blurs into a needlessly CG-heavy mess. Gone is the original's ominous ambiguity, having been replaced by clouds of tiny alien insects who destroy football stadiums with show-offy abandon. Against all this digital din, the wise words of Keanu the Space Hippie can barely be heard.