is not a traditional science fiction
film. That might as well be clarified from the start. Extraterrestrial
isn't a movie akin to the bizarre and weighty,
thought-provoking work of 2001: A Space
Odyssey or the thrilling excitement found within any Star
Wars. Extraterrestrial is
basically a witty character-piece and an unusual take on the romantic
genre. It might not meet your expectations but it hurdles past them and
its own take on telling us a good science-fiction
yarn with class and sophistication. Extraterrestrial
is the second feature-length film from writer/director Nacho
Vigalondo (Time Crimes).
movie begins with the morning-after parade. I am
referring to that time when people who barely know each other wake-up
suddenly realize that they ended up spending the entire night with
else. Initially confused by the situation, Julio (Julián
realizes he isn't in his own apartment. He happens to be with the
Julia (Michelle Jenner). It isn't long before Julia begins to try to
out of her apartment. Julio is definitely not rushing to do so. He
something about staying for breakfast, but ultimately it seems he's
as someone needing to leave. Until
they see that mysterious spaceship floating within the city through
camera-feed, but of course.
television channels. No cell phone receptions. No
internet connection. It was as if technological-apocalypse had arrived.
and Julia decide to stay indoors. This can undoubtedly go without
regardless: it was shaping up to be a bizarre day.
isn't long before Julia's neighbor Ángel (Carlos
Areces) shows up at her apartment doorstep. Ángel has a gigantic
crush on Julia
-- everyone around him can tell this, and yet Ángel doesn't want
to say so
himself. It seems obsessive but harmless and incessantly annoying.
story proceeds too much further another character joins the
Cimas) happens to be Julia's boyfriend of several years. Oops.
throw Carlos off the idea that something might be
going on between them, Julio and Julia begin scheming up their own
alien-invasion ideas and they wind up using those elements as a means
together during these strange circumstances. While there is an actual
sitting outside of the city, it remains something that merely acts as a
backdrop during the film.
isn't an action-packed alien-invasion film. Nor
is it a razor-sharp satire with sophisticated philosophical ponderings,
anything of the sort. Don't expect the film to be something that it
recommend watching Extraterrestrial
with as little expectations as possible as it isn't something built on
grand scale. It's a small indie movie with some pleasant ideas, and it
Vigalondo is one of the few directors to
spring up in recent years where I am genuinely curious to see where his
might be heading. I could see him either maintaining a lengthy career
movies (like Extraterrestrial and his
earlier success Time Crimes) or I
could see him transitioning at some point to bigger-budget productions.
Time Crimes was an amazing low-budget
film with more ambition than most, and Extraterrestrial
(while not as ambitious) is highly
creative. Viewers will find a work from a confident filmmaker who is
his storytelling abilities, and this ultimately helps him take us on
will likely wind up feeling divided on the
film. There are certain ways in which the ending is ambiguous. Then
fact that almost nothing "action-oriented" even happens beginning to
will say that "nothing" happened at all during the film. I disagree and
though the film had a lot to say about people and the lengths to which
we go to
attempt being with the person or
people we care about. Extraterrestrial is
a silly character-based flick, but it works wonders by keeping things
It's a story where you marvel at how much it works simply by having the
timing, dialogue, and technique to craft a tale so interesting without
upon flashy effects and spectacle.
most alien thing about Extraterrestrial is
how quietly creative it is compared to most films made today.
haven't seen another sci-fi film even remotely like it.
take you to uncharted territories, and they just happen to be a few
on DVD in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2:35:1 and enhanced
widescreen 16X9 television displays. I'm certain that the presentation
good representation of the look of the film as intended by
D. Domínguez. The blue tones utilized give the film a decidedly
cool vibe. The
film has a stylized appearance that can works wonders on the overall
presentation. Color saturation and contrast are appropriately handled
release. The film has some inherent grain but its nothing too
adds a filmic appeal. The transfer is mostly clean and clear - a quite
and impressive transfer.
downside to this DVD release is that digital download
options presented viewers with an option to view the film in High
and eOne has not released a Blu-ray release of Extraterrestrial.
Perhaps a Blu-ray option could still be released
at a future point in time.
a front-heavy 5.1 surround sound track that occasionally engages the
for some neat effects yet this surround presentation is more concerned
proper reproduction of dialogue. The original music score by Jorge
is quite good) is presented accurately as well and it adds a certain
presented in Spanish with optional English subtitles.
(24:12) - Extraterrestrial has a decent-length making
of feature. It actually
doesn't go too in depth about how the film came into production or
process in filming. This piece is more of a collection of short
scenes moments and interviews featuring writer/director Nacho Vigalondo
film's group of talented actors.
Nacho Vigalondo explains to the viewer at
one point during the supplement that he filmed a new interview (thus
why he was in a different setting than the others that were
this was something that never crossed my mind as odd. Many DVD's
with interviews that occurred at different stages. Regardless, he
it was because the earlier footage made him seem crazy because was too
in the process by being interviewed while making the movie. They show a
of this moment.
Vigalondo is actually pictured in that "crazy"
stage in my screen-grab (primarily as a result of his fashion choice -
hard to resist showcasing a director I'm a fan of wearing a Lost
Dharma t-shirt... that's just way too cool).
Films by Director Nacho Vigalondo:
These four shorts
make a genuinely nice addition to the release. I wish more of them were
included to fully round out the release, but the included shorts
demonstrate the smart experimentation of the Extraterrestrial
Sunday (Domingo), Changing the World,
and A Lesson in Filmmaking.
short has its merits. I especially enjoyed the precursor
to Extraterrestrial found in Sunday,
which has an interesting perspective
on a couple arguing about a spaceship they find and about how they are
the discovery. True to Extraterrestrial,
nothing's about the spaceship and everything has much more concern with
relationship between these people. I also agree with the included Lesson in Filmmaking, which suggests
that many of the best sequences in films are built around audience
more than any payoff.
is included. It's such a brief trailer though that
I would like to say that it doesn't qualify as one.
a loud, brash science fiction film with action set-pieces or non-stop
and turns. It's more of an indie drama/comedy with some clever ideas
into the mix. It won't please those seeking a thrill-ride but it will
those looking for a good character based film made by an excellent
Nacho Vigalondo (Time Crimes) is
exactly that. Entirely capable filmmaking makes this quiet
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.