THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (2008)
The Abridged Script
EXT. SNOWY MOUNTAIN RANGE, SOMETIME IN THE 1920S
Bearded KEANU REEVES is climbing in the snow and comes across an ETHEREAL GLOWING SPHERE. It gives him a THOROUGH PROBING and then vanishes.
INT. JENNIFER CONNELLY'S HOUSE, THE PRESENT
JENNIFER CONNELLY is leaving her obnoxious stepson JADEN SMITH to go with some SECRETIVE GOVERNMENT AGENTS.
Now Jaden, I know you're already pouting like a typical movie brat, but as the son of Will Smith you should have learned a thing or two about creating an endearing character the audience can really get behind.
You're not my real mom! This is so unfair! I hate you!
(bitches and moans for the rest of the movie)
Or not, that's cool too.
INT. MILITARY FACILITY
JENNIFER is herded in with a group of SCIENTISTS and BOFFINS to be briefed by chief government science guy JON HAMM.
We've learned that an interstellar object is hurtling towards us at immense speed, and will soon impact Manhattan. There's no way to stop it, so as y'all are the greatest and most valuable minds in the country, the logical move is to make sure as many of you are gathered as close to the potentially devastating crash site as possible.
The assembled EXPERTS and GENIUSES confer among themselves, and agree that they can see NOTHING WRONG AT ALL with that plan.
EXT. CENTRAL PARK
Another GLOWING SPHERE slows to a descent in front of the ARMY and all the scientists, and an ALIEN emerges. JENNIFER approaches it, but a random soldier decides the perfect welcoming gift would be a BULLET IN THE FACE and guns the alien down.
This would make a perfect anti-immigration commercial.
An ENORMOUS ALIEN ROBOT appears and disarms the assembled military forces with vastly superior weaponry.
What was that you said? "Keanu barada nikto"? Well that was a successful reference, at least for the 0.1% of people who could actually hear it.
The MASSIVE KILLER ROBOT that is clearly capable of overpowering everyone allows its injured master to be KIDNAPPED by the hostile forces that just tried to KILL HIM, because aliens have not encountered the human concept of narrative consistency.
INT. MILITARY FACILITY
The wounded ALIEN is tended to by JENNIFER and turns out to be now-clean-shaven KEANU REEVES. He is interrogated by rotund defence secretary KATHY BATES.
I'm here as the universe's ambassador to tell you to stop making such a mess of your homeland before we aliens intervene. I'm basically Greenpeace with a bigger budget and a giant robotic death-bastard.
Stinkin' environmentalists trying to tell the government what to do! Why I oughta...
Excuse me, but I can drug and subdue him if you like?
Go on then - it's not like I have any reason to suspect you might be sympathetic towards this wounded stranger you continually exhibit compassion for.
JENNIFER doesn't even wait for KATHY to leave the room before trying to help KEANU escape.
Even though this shows my judgement is clearly terrible, I'll later prove more competent than an entire battery of scientists by correctly guessing the alien's endgame. Guards, take him away!
But KEANU uses INEXPLICABLE ALIEN POWERS to escape.
KEANU meets with fellow alien JAMES HONG to discuss whether KEANU should wipe out human civilisation, because extra-terrestrials are just as CHARMINGLY RACIALLY DIVERSE as they are HELLBENT ON GENOCIDE.
Humans are a disease on the face of this globe, and you'd be doing the world a favour by getting rid of them all. But before you do, get a taste of this Filet-O-Fish. Peak of the galaxy's culinary expertise right there.
Wow, that's made my decision pretty easy then. Looks like I'll be committing the callous murder of an entire race. This makes me feel grimly determined.
Great! Now that I've convinced you to exterminate humanity, I'm off to live out my last days on Earth in peace and harmony, because I've grown to love humankind and its enduring capacity for compassion and kindness.
Wait - didn't you JUST SAY humans are doomed to destroy themselves and their planet, and we should exterminate them for their own good? Literally just a few seconds ago?
Er... no, I don't think I did.
Man, can you imagine if I'd said that? That would make this conversation the most bafflingly retarded thing anyone had ever heard.
Yes, yes I suppose it would.
Well, goodbye Keanu. And don't forget to kill all humans!
KEANU takes JENNIFER and JADEN to a forest, to show them that all the world's FUZZY WOODLAND CREATURES are being saved by an army of SPHERES.
So you see, I'm not a monster after all. I only want to wipe out ONE species!
JADEN does not approve and COMPLAINS INTERMINABLY about everything. Then a passing COP tries to arrest KEANU.
Stop right there, dangerous alien fugitive! You might have mastered faster-than-light travel and escaped a locked-down military base, but I'll be damned if you're getting out of these standard-issue handcuffs and overpowering a single cop.
But KEANU uses INEXPLICABLE ALIEN POWERS to escape.
JENNIFER brings KEANU to meet amiable professor JOHN CLEESE, who by Hollywood law owns a LARGE BLACKBOARD covered in EQUATIONS. KEANU grabs a chalk and corrects all JOHN's mistakes.
My God, only an alien would know how to do science and maths!
He's here to wipe out the human race, and I was rather hoping you could talk him out of it, or failing that just bust out the 'dead parrot' sketch for a final chuckle before we all die.
JOHN launches into a lengthy and persuasive thesis on why HUMANS should be allowed to survive. It is SURPRISINGLY COMPELLING.
This makes me feel strongly conflicted.
John, as the only half-intelligent character we've encountered so far, I think everyone would like to see you stick around and help us save the world.
Sorry, I'd love to help, but I have something even more important to attend to.
(leaves to star in 'The Pink Panther 2')
Meanwhile, JADEN remembers he hasn't done anything BALL-BUSTINGLY INFURIATING in the past ten minutes, and phones the government to have them recapture KEANU. But KEANU uses INEXPLICABLE ALIEN POWERS to escape.
Damn, if only there was any previous indication he might have been able to do that!
INT. YET ANOTHER MILITARY FACILITY
After the COLOSSAL DEATH ROBOT'S vastly superior weaponry foils all the army's attempts to BLOW IT UP, the government overpowers it through the cunning means of PUTTING IT IN A LARGE BOX. Brassy government boss KYLE CHANDLER arrives.
We're calling the robot "GORT", which stands for the first four words we could think of that spelled GORT.
Ha ha! Wink wink, nudge nudge, another successful reference there that no-one will think is stupid. Anyway, you say this invincible alien war machine responds violently to acts of aggression? In that case, let's take the peaceful route and see about clumsily dismantling it with a giant drill.
This turns out to be a BAD IDEA. GORT metamorphoses into a giant CGI swarm of NANOBOTS that begin to eat everything, starting with the REMAINING VESTIGES of the movie's credibility.
So the iconic alien antagonist everyone was expecting to be faithful to the source material instead just manifests as a boring CGI cloud? We should have called it Galactus.
The NANOBOTS destroy the military facility and fly off to eat EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD.
INT. YOU GOT IT, ANOTHER MILITARY FACILITY
KATHY is wondering where it all went wrong, which was probably back when they SHOT KEANU in the face.
As I guessed, we're shit out of luck. There's just enough time for one last-ditch attempt to save the world. Now, who's the one person here I can absolutely least trust based on their previous actions...
That would be me! Don't worry, I'm all over this like the complete lack of expression over Keanu's face.
JENNIFER leaves and eventually finds KEANU looking after JADEN, who is moping at a CEMETERY by his dad's grave.
Everything is so unfair! Waaahhhhhhhh! Waaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
Do you see, Keanu? This is the real face of humanity - hateful, irrational, selfish, goddamn don't you just want to punch him in the face...
I've lost track of what point I was trying to make, but I'm sure it was a very good one.
This insufferable child has changed my entire world view with his simple act of whining even louder than he did earlier. Humanity must be saved! This makes me feel heroically resolute.
EXT. CENTRAL PARK
JENNIFER, KEANU and JADEN drive towards the sphere, but some SHIT GOES DOWN and some other things EXPLODE for whatever reason, causing their car to crash.
Phew, everyone seems to be ok! Wait, what's that noise?
JENNIFER is surprised to find JON HAMM in the car, dying.
Go! Save... yourselves...
Jon Hamm was still in this? I barely noticed.
Suddenly the NANOBOTS turn up and DESTROY a load more stuff!
Everyone hide under this bridge! It looks like the sort of structure that will be completely impervious to technology that is disintegrating the shit out of everything else it touches.
Ack! I'm infected by the nanobots! Help me, against the will of everyone in the audience!
KEANU uses INEXPLICABLE ALIEN POWERS for something new for a change, and sucks the NANOBOTS out of JADEN's arms, saving his life.
This makes me feel truly full of emotion.
(strains hard in desperate attempt to portray any feeling whatsoever; accidentally poops down own leg)
Keanu, before you leave, how can our species halt its inexorable self-destruction?
Be excellent to each other.
KEANU makes a run for the sphere and SOMETHING SCIENTIFIC (probably) happens. KEANU vanishes, the NANOBOTS all die, and all the spheres fly off into space.
We're saved, somehow!
Then all the world's POWER goes out.
We're doomed, somehow!
Welcome to the human race.
Owain B. has been an author at The Editing Room for 3 years. You can support Owain B. and the rest of the site on Patreon.
Owain is a part-time rock star with the beard of a full-time hobo. In his high school yearbook he was named "most likely to become a genius comedian", and he's been struggling to live up to that ever since.