While there is nothing Earth-shattering about director Patrick Read Johnson's first film, it is often quite entertaining. SPACED INVADERS makes fun of just about every outer space film ever made, and throws in some Three Stooges-like mayhem for good measure. The simple yet creative story
line concerns a small group of Martians (short green creatures with heads that look like watermelons) who believe they are supposed to invade Earth. Led by a captain who wears aviator glasses and a leather flying jacket, and whose voice bears a remarkable resemblance to Jack Nicholson's, the
Martians pick up a rebroadcast of Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" and assume they are late for the invasion. Their broken-down spacecraft lands near Big Bean, Illinois, on Halloween night. Sam (Douglas Barr), the town's new sheriff, and his daughter, Kathy (played wonderfully by Ariana
Richards), join with Brian (J.J. Anderson, a child dressed as a duck) to help the Martians avoid the townspeople who want to kill them. "Prepare to die Earth scum," one Martian repeatedly tells the townsfolk, but the captain just wants to get home in one piece. The ensuing action allows for jokes
that are variously dumb, mildly funny, or hilarious.
SPACED INVADERS is ET meets Monty Python, with a little subtle Hollywood humor thrown in. And it is not as bad as it sounds. This is a film that children can watch without parents having to worry about rough language or adult situations--no mean recommendation given the current dearth of suitable
entertainment for young children. Richards takes on her role as the new kid in town with a joyful mixture of innocence and precociousness. "They're not bad, just stupid," she says of the Martians, and her father can't help but believe her. SPACED INVADERS could have been a fantastic spoof of alien
films and a fine comedy were it not for its unevenness and lazy writing. It appears as if no one challenged the writers to undertake a rewrite to perfect the silliness; presumably they assumed their target audience to be 10-to 12-year-olds and wrote accordingly. SPACED INVADERS has all the
elements of a very good film; regrettably, it is something less than that.
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- Released: 1990
- Rating: PG
- Review: While there is nothing Earth-shattering about director Patrick Read Johnson's first film, it is often quite entertaining. SPACED INVADERS makes fun of just about every outer space film ever made, and throws in some Three Stooges-like mayhem for good measur… (more)