I've discussed the movie with several people recently (not on TrekBBS) including some younger people who liked the original better, prompting me to expand on my original TrekBBS post where I claim the remake is superior in almost every way to the original. That is the title of my review on Amazon as well. This is totally original though, posted about 4 years after the movie was the first one deliberately beamed into space using by the Deep Space Communications Network at Cape Canaveral and has reached Alpha Centauri at light speed. The bluray copy itself is very well done, the 3 discs have satisfying extras and out of the many covers populating the internet the one for this particular set is my favorite. As for the film itself, it's extremely difficult to counter momentum and 60 years of public impression, the original has to be counted as a classic, but in comparison to the 2008 film, it's difficult to see how this is so. When people continue to judge visual sci-fi as an inferior genre they can point to movies like the original and say: "if this is the best you've got..." Above all else, a "classic" must retain some resonance for audiences across time, where new interpretations can be made and the audience comes away with something (even if not originally intended). The basic story can probably never really date, no one wants nuclear war, and despite the reduction of the threat new nuclear states and thousands of warheads remain. But the 1951 movie goes further..our nuclear power will be harnessed for space travel and those weapons will threaten the galactic populace. I don't find any of it credible. Nuclear power was brand new in 1951, it was the "ultimate" power, but in the face of such obviously advanced nations in space, we'd be far behind, no threat. The new movie is seen by some as extolling the evils of technology, I find this simplistic...it's the responsibility of having such technology and what we are doing with it that is lacking. Yes, it suggests corporate greed, government mismanagement and most damningly, human nautre, but it does not suggest giving up on technology. Instead the new movie is more universal, it takes the dated threat of nuclear power, and make it something I thin any being on any planet might go through...the stage of wastefulness of society. It's a long history in human culture, and it goes beyond environment and into behavior. Klaatu states that planets with indigenous life are rare, so far this seems likely based on actual observational evidence, the classic Fermi Paradox (life should be plentiful, but we have no empirically solid data!!) It seems a lot more satisfying a reason for the aliens to be here..they have decades of data! They would want to preserve life. Another interesting theme in the remake: the idea that intelligent aliens have a different view of possession of land/planets. Humans are not seen as the "owners" of Earth, but part of the biosphere, one that can harm it. It is likely aliens with such views possibly do not even live on planets anymore, but in space habitats or spacecraft where their original planets are almost forgotten, but seen as important origination points for life. The original falters on other levels: having an alien in exact human form walk among the populace is interesting in a quiet, introspective way, but he basically does it in a few days and in one American state! In 1951 Hollywood it was better to talk about Lincoln and be truly "American" rather than universal in theme. The 2008 remake does better...Klaatu us obviously the product of previous observation on Earth, they have multiple agents on Earth. They are not humanoids at ALL, and must create a human copy to facilitate communication. This is more biologically correct, as it is unlikely aliens will look anything like us when originating in another biosphere. On the level of moviemaking, the original also seems out of date. The 50s trappings, the stilted dialogue, lack of cross-section of American life (not to mention the world), the moderately good FX. We can't judge classics SOLEY on how they were perceived in their time, as I mentioned a lot of those things should seem almost timeless. The original does not. Obviously the 2008 movies has better production design, better FX, and so on. Michael Rennie is ok in the role, somewhat stiff, I simply found Reeves' Klaatu more believable on several levels and his performance suited it. Jennifer Connelly also is a welcome addition and I prefer her in her role as a scientist and mom as opposed to Patricia Neal's boarding house worker. Technologically, Spheres have always been the most logical shape for a spacecraft in 360 degree space. I can't fault the original too much here, saucers aren't a horrible spacecraft shape either. Gort was a fascinating, almost "seamless" design, impossible to actually produce convincingly with the technology of the time. Here is where it gets good...nanotechnology is an up-and-coming but already major developmental business, especially in materials science. It deals with the ability to manufacture items from a nanoscale upwards, making products more durable, as well as a range of items never seen before. To construct such objects would require what we see in the remake: "assemblers", or in this case "nano-cloud" assemblers. While the original suggested Gort might shoot ray beams to destroy a planet. Or stomp around knocking building down, the remake uses a very quick efficient "gray goo" scenerio: reducing objects to molecular components. The goal is different too...Klaatu leaves a threat in the original, and that's it, off he goes. It's almost anti-climatic. In the remake, the nano-cloud does destroy part of the US, the threat is real. It is designed to do a job, reducing technological destruction from humans so the planet may live...and of course, in the end, the power doesnt go off for an hour it goes off until human beings can make a cleaner or more efficient way to live a technological life, or that is the assumption. In the original, well they just want to destroy us so we can't be destructive to their Pax Romana. Which brings me to another criticism... How many of us want to live in a police state, peace through fear of giant robots? The remake's aliens appeared to be for lack of a better term, more Zen-like..something like a Federation from Star Trek but perhaps looser. They are not machine-like or indifferent, they really seem to care about life! In case you thought I hadn't noticed it, yes I did say the remake did not want to make us non-technological. Yes that is what we are left with at the end of the movie...but again, I don't think that is meant to be our state, we are not wanted as a caveman throwback, we are desired as an advanced partner in the eventual union with other advanced life, this requires technology. All this is not to say the 2008 remake is perfect, it's not...it starts at the beginning of the movie in fact, when they gather together an elite team...to do what...be at the center of a direct hit from what they think of as an asteroid hitting NY?? There is no need for exobiologists, or mineralogists if the thing lands on their head, or if they have no idea there are aliens aboard. The child actor is somewhat more annoying than the whiney kid from the original. Aren't there supposed to be ANY average kids in movies anymore? Are they all the results of divorced families, or single parents, etc and malcontents at that? Still a movie that has John Cleese deliver a wonderful quote about us only changing at the precipice of danger (often true)with an alien that changes it's mind on Earthly destruction based on human interaction and our worthiness to continue on is worth positive mention in my book, and in a climate where post-apocalypse is the desired tale. I think eventually the movie will get a fair shake but not yet, despite a good (nearly an 8.0 ) rating on IMDB, this movie is still seen as a failure. Sad really. I consider this to be a better film than Avatar.