Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: Morons from Outer Space (1985)

Some time ago I watched a virtually unknown movie by Mike Hodges, the director of such masterpieces as Get Carter and Flash Gordon. Now I watched another one, but of this I'd heard before. Morons from Outer Space (1985) was shown in Finnish cinemas, so I'd seen ads of it and I even remember a friend of mine discussing it.

I bought the now rare movie on VHS and my viewing of it may not have been the best quality, but I still think I got a good picture of what the film was doing and how well it was accomplished. The morons of the title are four foul creatures travelling somewhere in space and somehow ending up on Earth. One of them is played by Mel Smith, amiable comedian, who performed a lot with Griff Rhys-Jones, who plays a reporter in the film. Jimmy Nail merits a special mention as one of the aliens. Morons from Outer Space aims for parody (there are references to 2001, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind and even One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) and satire - the space morons end up being celebrities, though they don't know or even understand a lot. They do speak good English, though, which is a joke unto itself. The film is a bit wacky and a bit quirky, but never funny enough. Not enough good jokes, not enough crazy slapstick comedy, not enough witty ideas. The satire is also a bit obvious, maybe dated.

The film bombed at the box office and probably made sure Mike Hodges's career will never rise to the heights of Get Carter and Flash Gordon. Mind you, though, Croupier from 1998 is a pretty good neo-noir, and Black Rainbow, made in 1989, was occasionally very good (see the link above). He made some TV stuff between those two, but his film career has been erratic and very mixed.

More Overlooked Films here.

2 comments:

Todd Mason said...

Interesting, Juri...I was aware of this one, which did get a slight run in US theaters, unlike BLACK RAINBOW, which I still need to see one way or another. I wouldn't put FLASH GORDON on a par with GET CARTER, though FLASH's terrible reputation in the States when it opened, and flopped, wasn't really fair, either. Hodges does indeed seem to have had a rather weathervaning career...

Juri Nummelin said...

Ha! I was wondering whether anyone would pay attention to that. Most certainly not is it on par with GET CARTER, but funny and entertaining nevertheless. Hodges seems to have done lots of stuff for television, which might also explaing why he hasn't been doing more films on big screen.