Critics blasted the 2008 version of "The Day the Earth Stood Still," but I absolutely loved it. After all, without the remake, we probably would not have seen the cross-promotional Blu-ray release of the original 1951 film -- one of the most spectacular presentations of a classic in the high-def format.

As for the actual contents of the new "The Day the Earth Stood Still," which comes out Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray, I have one word: Eh.

It's not that it's a horrible film. But a recent viewing of the original -- about an alien who comes to Earth to warn humans to end their harmful way of life or face doom -- reinforces how overblown the remake is. The same was true of other recent redos of vintage sci-fi fare, such as "Planet of the Apes," "War of the Worlds" and "The Time Machine."

Just look at a featurette on the new release about how the giant alien robot Gort was created.

In preproduction, the filmmakers went to great lengths to create an automaton that looked truly otherworldly. Unlike the man-in-a-suit Gort dictated by 1950s movie-making constraints, the contemporary creators had unlimited options thanks to computer-generated imagery. And they came up with wacky stuff that looked like no "robot" ever seen on film.

Then someone realized that the faceless humanoid form that they included for scale in 3-D mock-ups was more effective than any of their wild Gort variations. The look they settled on was not much different from -- you guessed it -- the man in a silver suit from the original film.

Of course, in keeping with going overboard, the new Gort is a towering giant, moves unrealistically fast for its size and is composed of millions of independent nano machines. Why? Because modern special effects allow him to be.

The original "The Day the Earth Stood Still" might seem hokey in parts today, and its Cold War plot isn't as up-to-date as the new venture's "go green" theme. But it has something that the new film doesn't: better storytelling.

The original also has better stars in the classy Patricia Neal and stately Michael Rennie. I have few problems with Jennifer Connelly and Keanu Reeves as actors, but even souped-up special effects couldn't breathe life into their low-pulse performances in the remake.

Remarkably, Fox has done a brave thing with Tuesday's release of the new film. The two- and three-disc DVD and the three-disc Blu-ray ($30-$40) include the entire 1951 film as an extra. So you can see for yourself.

The three-disc sets also have, for the new film, a commentary track, making-of footage, deleted scenes and various galleries. The Blu-ray adds a picture-in-picture feature for the new film and a Gort game.

To see the voluminous extras created for the classic version, you'll have to track down its separately sold stand-alone DVD and Blu-ray releases (Fox, $20-$30). When you do, you'll find that even when it comes to presentation on disc, the original 1951 film is light-years ahead of the 2008 follow-up.

Randy A. Salas • 612-673-4542