Spaced Invaders (1990) on Blu-ray

| September 13, 2015

In response to a 50th anniversary broadcast of Orson Welles’ The War of the Worlds, a group of Martians believe their compatriots are invading Earth and scramble to catch up, crash landing in a small Midwestern town on Halloween night while everyone believes they’re simply kids trick or treating.

25 years later, Spaced Invaders is coming to Blu-ray.  I probably haven’t seen this movie in close to 20 years, but had fond memories of watching it with my family so I jumped at the chance to watch this new blu-ray transfer from Mill Creek Entertainment.  I have to admit that a lot of the movie holds up really well even today.  The puppetry effects for the Martians as well as their idiosyncratic personalities were clearly the result of a lot of time and effort.  The structure of the film and how the comedy functions as an intergalactic comedy of errors is also pretty good.  There are a lot of genuine laughs here, although it’s obvious this was intended for children and that creates some logical fallacies when watching the film as an adult.

One thing that’s a bit difficult to swallow about the movie is how connected the Martians seem to be to Earth culture.  They’re constantly making pop culture references, as well as topical references to issues like immigration and traffic laws.  It would be one thing if the Martians were receiving Earth television signals all these years and were thus familiar with our movies and television shows.  This would even account for the Martian pilot modeling his entire personality on Jack Nicholson.  However, that theory falls apart when you consider that the Martians aren’t familiar with The War of the Worlds, which forms the entire premise of them coming to Earth believing Mars is already invading.  It’s something I can look past and still enjoy the rest of the movie, but it does stick out revisiting the movie as an adult.

I had completely forgotten that the lead human character here was played by Ariana Richards just a few years before she played the teenage computer hacker Lex in Jurassic Park.  After her brief appearance in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, she kinda fell off the face of the planet, sticking to TV movies until her most recent appearance in 2013 when her IMDB page just stops.  It’s a shame because I thought she did a great job here as well as in the Jurassic Park films and apparently chose to move away from acting for other pursuits, or had more and more trouble getting work until she stopped trying.  Her precocious portrayal of Kathy here is a lot of fun as she teaches the children at home to not judge anyone based on their appearance or their temporary plans to destroy the planet.

Available on Blu-ray for the first time from Mill Creek Entertainment on September 15.

About the Author:

Joe Ketchum Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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