To call Keanu Reeves’ acting “subtle” is probably a disservice to every actor who’s ever given a fantastic but understated performance. There’s a reason Reeves’ most famous line is “woah,” and that his Neo character is known more for the ability to dodge bullets in slow motion than to actually come across as someone who’s capable of being a savior. The dude’s just kind of bla, as are most of his characters. In The Day The Earth Stood Still, Reeves’ alien character is equally cardboard, though the character’s potential is huge. Subtle he is not. The D-BOX support for his film, however, most certainly is.
During the opening sequence, a D-BOX-equipped chair gives off gentle rumbles that coincide with a powerful blizzard. When the alien artifact pulsates with light, the chair vibrates as if viewers are standing right next to it. When scientists are taken by helicopter to a secrete facility, the chair moves and thumps accordingly. Each of these small motions is extremely helpful at setting the scene and establishing a sense of place, but they’re never done in a way that the Motion Code seems to overpower the movie or distract from the main event.
Things pick up dramatically in the Motion Code department when the alien craft lands in Central Park. A cloud of smoke whips up the D-BOX chair, with uprooted park benches and strollers seeming to crash into the chair’s sides, and the chair on the whole rocking as if viewers themselves — not the alien artifact — are landing in Central Park.
But just as quickly as those sensations came through they’re gone again, and the Motion track becomes so quiet that on several occasions I actually looked down to verify that the Motion Controller was turned on. However, once Keanu begins to make his escape from the military facility, all doubt was erased from my mind. The scene that shines the most for its D-BOX Motion Code support is when the alien security drone escapes from the military flash chamber and robotic locusts ravage the countryside. From that point until the end of the movie, it’s all D-BOX — because it’s all destruction. Between the rumble of the flash chamber to the explosion of the glass to the semi-truck crumbling as it’s consumed by robo-locusts, this scene finally shows — after an hour and 15 minutes — that the D-BOX engineers were able to have a bit more than nuanced fun with this film.
D-BOX is the first to say they only implement Motion Code when it means something, and The Day The Earth Stood Still lives up to that mantra perfectly. D-BOX code is used seldom in this film, but when it’s used, it helps bring life to the scenes in ways that simple cinematography and dialogue never could. Of course, anything to help a Keanu Reeves performance actually come to life is a welcome (and arguably necessary) feature.
Click here to buy The Day the Earth Stood Still (3-Disc Special Edition) on Blu-ray from Amazon.
- Score: 8.5
— Jonas Allen