Image Entertainment // 2009 // 84 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 19th, 2009
It came from another galaxy.
This retro alien romp brings PG-rated sci-fi terror to the masses via a bold Blu-ray presentation. I can dig the concept, it's the execution that left me cold.
Alien Trespass is a 1950s throwback tale about an invading organism called a Ghota. It's a giant, ugly alien with a big eye and tentacles which likes to absorb human beings and turn them into sludge that resembles poop and vomit. Apparently, this thing is geared up to somehow take over the planet and the only thing that can stop it is an interstellar fella named Urp, a silver-suited space traveler dispatched to combat the threat of the Ghota.
To achieve his objective, Urp takes over the body of Ted Lewis (Eric McCormack, Will & Grace), a soft-spoken astronomer, and begins his quest to save the world. Thankfully, he has a waitress by his side to help.
I'm conflicted on this one. Alien Trespass has a lot going for it: it's family-friendly, sports a nice light-hearted touch, features performances by people who seem to take genuine interest in the quality of the film, and is sort of fun. That's not a bad lineup of pluses and may in fact be more than enough to distinguish the film from its fellow travelers.
I'm not completely on board, though. As much as I appreciate the idea of Alien Trespass, the actual film left me wanting. For starters, it's just not very amusing. The tone is certainly tongue-in-cheek, but I never laughed. Okay, when the sheriff said "Marshall Urp," that elicited a reflexive chortle, but beyond that, nothing. The writing just isn't witty or sharp. It's as if the film attempts to coast solely on its concept, which I dig.
The homage to '50s sci-fi B-movies is a nifty gimmick and everyone involved is all-in, but is it enough to compensate for a largely flat script? I don't think so, but I could understand if it floats others' boats. It's inoffensive and, save for some over-the-top scary sci-fi music and a lot of people screaming, I can't imagine anything scaring the kids. The Ghota creature is about as far from terrifying as a puppy riding a unicorn.
Anachronistically, this retro flick looks abnormally fantastic on Blu-ray. The idea is that the film was actually made in the '50s, so seeing the pristine 1.78:1 widescreen high-def transfer Image has coughed up is a tad jarring. Okay, that's not true. If the transfer were scratchy and crappy there'd be digital hell to pay, so strike that criticism from the record and we'll settle on this: the video quality is top-notch. Details are striking in their enhanced clarity, the transfer boasting a high-gloss, stylized look that suits the Blu-ray format perfectly. Audio is up to snuff, too, the DTS-HD Master Audio track delivering a clean, active mix. Extras are interview-heavy, mixing both in-character and out-of-character stuff from the cast, which adds a nice twist to the bonus materials.
A winner of a Blu-ray and a film that might appeal to a large swath of viewers...save for this one, who found the enterprise shy of recommendable.
A guilty verdict strikes me as too harsh, so we'll let this one off on
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated PG