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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this spoof was made as a loving tribute to '50s B-movie sci-fi -- and, as such, has the same squeaky-clean feel and mild peril of those films. There's some sci-fi violence, but since it's being perpetrated by a guy in a rubber suit, it's hard to be too alarmed when men, women, and children are dissolved into goo. Expect a fair amount of pipe smoking (accurate for the era) and some kissing and ogling.
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What's the story?
After an opening sequence explains that audiences are about to see a "lost" '50s sci-fi movie, ALIEN TRESPASS begins in the desert town of Mesa, where astronomer Ted Lewis (Eric McCormack) is watching a meteor shower. When one strikes, Dr. Lewis rushes out to see -- but instead of a meteor, he finds a space craft. Turns out the crash freed a hungry hideous creature called the Ghota, so the ship's captain, Urp, seizes control of Ted's body to stop the hungry horror before all of Earth is destroyed. Meanwhile, Mesa's cops and citizens can't believe Dr. Lewis' crazy-talk -- but will they before it's too late?
Is it any good?
While Monsters vs. Aliens simply borrows a few '50s sci-fi ideas, the much lower-budget Alien Trespass dives in whole hog -- from the score to the creature to the wooden acting. It raises the question of why you'd try so hard to pay tribute to a fairly shoddy type of filmmaking.
Certainly, the affection of everyone involved is obvious on screen; McCormack brings zip and vim to his dual role, while the other cast members seem to know exactly what kind of movie they're in. But Alien Trespass plays like a curious mix of nostalgia and parody, without any real reason to watch it or care. If you were to stumble across this shabby, slapdash spoof on TV on a rainy afternoon, you might be diverted, but seeing it in a theater is a far less exciting prospect.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the look, feel, and themes of '50s sci-fi. What did many of those movies have in common? How do they compare to today's sci-fi movies? Is it just the effects that have gotten more sophisticated, or have other things changed, too? Why?
Families can also discuss whether the '50s B movies idealized the era they were filmed in. Was everything really that squeaky clean? How do you think today's society will be portrayed in movies down the line?
- In theaters: April 3, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: August 11, 2009
- Cast: Dan Lauria, Eric McCormack, Jenni Baird
- Director: R.W. Goodwin
- Studio: Roadside Attractions
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Space and Aliens
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: sci-fi action and brief historical smoking.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.