01/12/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Day the Earth Stood Still : It Barely Moves

Just before the screening of The Day The Earth Stood Still remake this week, I overheard another critic (if one can be said to overhear someone who is shouting), who came out of the screening before mine and began upbraiding a studio publicist about the film.

His bone of contention? That no one ever utters the line, "Gort, Klaatu barada nikto" from the original film, perhaps the most famous bit of sci-fi movie dialogue until "Soylent Green is people" and "E.T. phone home."

"That's a major screw-up!" the sputtering critic all but yelled at the poor woman, as though she bore responsibiiltiy for its exclusion from the script.

And as if the crooning of those four little words -- "Gort, Klaatu barada nikto" -- would magically have transformed The Day the Earth Stood Still from big-budget claptrap of the most deadening kind into a magical sci-fi movie experience.

If life were only that simple.

As it is, this version of The Day the Earth Stood Still feels like a vehicle that's stuck in neutral with the engine revving but no forward -- or backward -- motion to speak of.

Apparently no one told Keanu Reeves he wasn't playing the robot. Tricky things to emulate, those human emotions.

For the rest of this review, go to my website,