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Welcome To Planet Earth

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // R // December 26, 2005
List Price: $14.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Scott Weinberg | posted January 15, 2006 | E-mail the Author
The Movie

You know how the Predator in Predator was some vicious alien from another planet who just came to Earth on some sort of mini-safari vacation? Well, someone took that concept, transplanted it from the jungles of Cambodia to the jungles of New York City, got George Wendt to play the creature, and turned it into a screenplay for Roger Corman.

That guy's name was Michael McDonald and you can see him on TV every weekend. He's the guy on MADtv who wears skin-tight speedos so everyone can laugh at his hairy butt crack.

But long before he became such a universally applauded comic genius, Mike McDonald was churning out some low-end cinematic cheese for Corman & Company.

Now here's where I'd normally begin trashing the flick, but guess what? It's not entirely awful!

The setting is a grungy inner city, and our young hero has just lost his mother. Immediately after Joseph places a Room for Rent sign on his front porch, up pops a family of three who need immediate lodgings and private rooms. The dad is Charlie (George Wendt), the mom is Rhonda (Shanna Reed), and the daughter is a seriously smokin' hottie known as Daphne (Anastasia Sakelaris). They're very weird, but they're also very nice -- and they coming baring cash. So in they come.

Turns out that Charlie, his wife, and his daughter are not human at all, but are instead extra-terrestrials on vacation. To kill people. But not just any people, mind you; only the lowest of the lowly street dregs will do for this family. Since the planet they hail from doesn't have violence, the clan travels to Earth to satisfy their colorful bloodlust -- and satisfy it they most certainly do. Joseph, of course, knows none of this, but that doesn't stop him from getting pretty hot & bothered every time Daphne walks by.

Meanwhile the bodies begin piling up, Joseph is accused of murder, and the cops start closing in.

And did I mention that this thing is a comedy? It's a broad and wittingly silly mixture of Ozzie & Harriet, Predator, and E.T., and if Welcome to Planet Earth (aka Alien Avengers) isn't exactly a B-movie classic (and it isn't), it's at least a fast-paced, periodically amusing, and surprisingly bloody b-movie, and it's got a really fun performance by George Wendt to call its own.

Clocking in at a sparse 75 minutes (not including end credits), Welcome to Planet Earth isn't about to cause any stampedes at the DVD store, but if you dig weird, silly comedies that are weird and silly on purpose, you could find a worse way to spend 75 minutes.

The DVD

Video: It's a fairly clean full frame transfer, which might be explained by the fact that the movie was, I believe, originally made for cable TV.

Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, with the dialogue all out of balance with the musical score. I had to reach for the remote every damn time that music came on. This DVD kept waking my dog up, and she therefore doesn't recommend it to other dogs.

Extras: Nope.

Final Thoughts

What can I say? It's fairly fun junk that ends precisely when it begins to wear out its welcome. Period.

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