Aliens Ate My Homework

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Aliens Ate My Homework Movie Poster Image
Cartoonish violence in live-action book-based alien tale.
  • PG
  • 2018
  • 89 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

May spark interest in science. Reference to and brief explanation of the Drake Equation, which is used to estimate likelihood of finding life in the galaxy.

Positive Messages

Values promoted: healthy and respectful disagreement and teamwork -- each individual has a part to play in a successful task. It's important to overlook our differences and find ways to connect.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Young hero, the victim of a bully, gains self-confidence, courage, and pride in his own abilities. His cousin and partner, a know-it-all girl, learns to be less judgmental and rigid. Adults are responsible, caring. Some ethnic diversity.

Violence & Scariness

Mild action and suspense. Aliens, with one exception, are more humorous than scary. The one exception: A boy transforms into an alien villain with hideous teeth and threatening demeanor. Ray-gun fire, lightning storm. Characters are shaken, threatened, momentarily frozen, held captive, and chased. A bully smooshes a large bug onto his victim's head and face. Visuals of creepy crawlies: a tarantula, a scorpion. 

Sexy Stuff
Language

Rude humor: "boogers," "fart." Massive stomach gurgling erupts into projective vomiting. 

Consumerism

Razor helmet, Shock Rocks candy.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Aliens Ate My Homework is a live-action adaptation of the first book in Bruce Coville's successful series, Rod Allbright and the Galactic Patrol. In this origin story, Rod Allbright (Jayden Greig), a 12-year-old boy, is visited by aliens who are out to save Earth. The miniature beings, more humorous than scary, crash-land in a miniature spaceship in Rod's bedroom. Expect frequent mild action: ray guns, lightning, characters (including small children) frozen in place as hostages and held captive. (Spoiler alert: The villain is vanquished when he's pelted with muck.) Another sixth-grader bullies the hero and his friend, mashing a large bug into his victim's hair and face. Words like "booger" and "fart" are used to get laughs. Some sad moments relate to Rod's father disappearing three years earlier in a turbulent storm. But overall it should be OK for kids who are comfortable with real vs. pretend violence.

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What's the story?

Rod Allbright's dad, dedicated to making science fun for his family, disappears when a strange storm carries him away in ALIENS ATE MY HOMEWORK. But before he is whooshed away, he promises Rod that he'll return. Three years later, Rod (Jayden Greig), now a sixth-grader, still misses his dad terribly but never stops believing that he'll come back. Bullied at school by the ruthless Billy (Ty Consiglio), Rod and his best friend, Mickey (Sean Quan), are simply outmatched. But things are going to change for Rod Allbright. To his utter amazement, a miniature spaceship crash-lands in his bedroom. Four very small (action figure-sized) alien members of "The Galactic Patrol" -- three creatures and a talking plant (voiced by William Shatner) -- are in desperate need of his help. Their mission is to find B'kr, a ferocious villain guilty of the galaxy's greatest crime: cruelty. Certain B'kr is masquerading as a human, they must stop him before he can execute his plan to destroy the earth. It’s all overwhelming at first. Not only does he have to keep the Galaxy Patrol's arrival secret and help them repair their damaged spacecraft, but his annoying cousin Elspeth (Lauren McNamara) has also arrived to stay with his family. And, most bizarre of all, the evil B’kr may be posing as someone Rod knows!

Is it any good?

Kids will find some laughs and some characters to like here, but the primitive special effects and general amateurish production make this movie hard to recommend. What's good about the film -- an inventive premise and the emphasis on science -- came from the book. It’s clear that having William Shatner on board was a casting coup for the filmmakers, but his performance is more annoying than engaging. A crucial plot element, the disappearance of Rod Allbright's dad, isn't resolved, and the movie's ending indicates that there will be further adventures. On a positive note, Aliens Ate My Homework may inspire some kids to read the popular Coville book series, and that's always a good thing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Aliens Ate My Homework. Even though it's a live-action movie, the action is more cartoon-like than real. What is the impact of violence on kids? Does cartoon violence lessen that impact? Why or why not?

  • How did the arrival of the Galactic Patrol help Rod work out his own issues? With Billy? With Elspeth? In what ways did Rod change over the course of his adventure?

  • The Drake Equation -- estimating the possibility of other lifeforms in the cosmos -- really exists. Have you ever thought about that possibility? Create your own ideal planet or star. What would the civilization and its inhabitants look like? What kind of world would it be?

Movie details

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