MGM is taking a couple of their older DVD releases and repackaging them in this Midnite Movies double feature. If you have the original releases of Morons from Outer Space and Alien from L.A., then...well, I'm sorry, first of all...but you might want to go ahead and close your web browser now 'cause there's nothing new on this budget-priced disc. Actually, I guess you should close your web browser regardless since both of the movies are pretty lousy, even from a campy, schlocky standpoint.
First up is Morons from Outer Space, a mid-'80s British comedy about a group of aliens who crashland on Earth and inadvertently become international celebrities in the process.
Nope, there are no elaborate prosthetics or make-up effects -- the joke is that the aliens look and act exactly like humans. Self-absorbed, incomprehensibly stupid humans, sure, but humans nonetheless. After their intergalactic Winnebago careens into a British highway, three aliens are taken under the wing of a dimwitted reporter who helps catapult them to superstardom. The fourth member of their group later winds up stranded stateside, and while his supposed friends live the Robin Leach lifestyle, he's stuck wearing dead squirrels and gobbling spaghetti from strangers' plates. Astonishingly, it's even less funny than I'm making it sound!
Morons from Outer Space is a harmless and completely ineffective comedy. It's the cinematic equivalent of lettuce and water; it's not painful to go down, but there's no taste or flavor to it, and...y'know, why bother? None of the comedy's groaningly bad, if that's even an adverb, but I didn't once laugh, chuckle, grin, or whatever else thesaurus.com would list if I felt motivated enough to do a search. One of the aliens is convinced that trash bins are the dominant form of life on Earth. Okay. There's a bit with a nod to the musical notes from Close Encounters... that spirals into a reveal of a guy playing a Wurlitzer organ. Okay. No reaction, positive or negative, for the entire length of the movie. I just sat in front of my TV stonefaced for 90 minutes or so, went upstairs, and wrote this. So, yeah. Not really recommended.
You might remember Alien from L.A. from its appearance on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and that probably says it all right there. It's also notable for marking the film debut of washed-up-model-turned-K-Mart-fashion-designer Kathy Ireland, shortly before she'd light up the screen with roles in movies like Necessary Roughness.
Kathy stars as Wanda, a clingy, pretty thoroughly unlikeable dweeb with a voice so excruciatingly high and squeaky that it'd send a Yorkshire Terrier into an epileptic fit. Anyway, Wanda hasn't heard from her archeologist father for the better part of a decade, and after praying for some sort of...something, she gets a letter from Africa notifying her that Pops fell down a bottomless pit. Off to Africa she goes, where Wanda stumbles onto the entrance to the post-apocalyptic-ish Atlantis in Dad's basement. From there, I guess it's supposed to be some sort of light-hearted fantasy/adventure. The movie's interminably boring, its lead character is grating and whiny, and the plot's an incoherent mess. The set design's reasonably impressive for a low-budget effort like this, but that's not enough to salvage a movie this painfully dull. If you're truly desperate to see Kathy Ireland in a bikini, just look at the cover or do a quick search on Google. It's not worth suffering through 85 minutes of this movie for that quick glimpse.
|Here's the obligatory bikini shot. With that out of the way, please, please don't watch Alien from L.A.|
Video: Morons from Outer Space is presented in anamorphic widescreen, slightly letterboxed to an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. There's nothing particularly impressive about the way the movie looks on DVD, and that can probably be traced back to a slim budget and lackluster film stock. The photography's somewhat soft and grainy, and detail, color saturation, and all those other comma-delimited usual suspects are all kinda middling as well. Maybe it's as good a transfer as can be expected with the way the movie was shot, but still somewhat below average. Alien from L.A. looks surprisingly good (the quality varies from shot to shot), but even though this appears to be a spiffy new transfer, MGM opted to go the full-frame route, "This film has been modified..." disclaimer and all.
Audio: Morons from Outer Space sports a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix (448Kbps) along with a monaural French dub. Most of the action stays anchored up front, with the surrounds reserved to reinforce the score and to hammer home some of the pans. The film's dialogue and some other elements of the soundtrack are somewhat strained, and the whole thing just sounds like a remix. I think I would've preferred the original mono, stereo, or whatever it was. Alien from L.A. gets the stereo surround treatment, and there's not really anything about its soundtrack to compel me to write much more than that about it.
Both movies are closed-captioned and include subtitles in French and Spanish. Alien from L.A. also offers English subtitles.
Supplements: Nothin' for Morons from Outer Space and just a full-frame trailer for Alien from L.A.. I guess I could talk about the menus and stuff, but I don't really feel like padding out this review.
Conclusion: Even with a bargain basement sticker price, a double feature's not really worth forking over ten bucks for if neither of the movies are any good. Skip It.