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In director Mike Hodges's only openly comedic film to date, Anlgo-American pop culture of the '70s and early '80s is mercilessly lampooned. From "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977) to "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975) to David Bowie as the avatar of Ziggy Stardust, nothing escapes a satirical mauling by Hodges and writers/actors Griff Rhys Jones and Mel Smith. On the surface, much of the humor appears to be at the level of Benny Hill, but it is actually much more subtle in its subtext, addressing the mindlessness of celebrity worship, the nature of friendship, the willful self-delusion that can arise from one's own expectations, and the fleetingness of fame. With satire more subtle than seen in similar, American films of the same period (e.g., "This is Spinal Tap" (1984)), "Morons from Outer Space" may not be to everyone's taste. I will be the first to admit that British humor is an acquired taste for many of us non-Brits, but I found this film far funnier than many recent American comedies that have received rave reviews ("Meet the Parents" (2000), "Something about Mary" (1998), "Analyze This" (1999), etc.). Any viewer willing to expend the effort to actually concentrate on what is going on and being said in the film will be amply rewarded. The most difficult part of viewing this movie is finding it, a problem with many of Hodges's works. Rating: 7/10.
I first saw 'Morons From Outer Space' on cable television when I was 12
years old. (1986.) Recently I spotted it for sale on DVD, and what, with a
price tag of only 10 dollars, thought I couldn't pass up owning this
So how does it look now that I am older and more sophisticated? (Or at least just older...)
Its 100 times funnier now. I actually GET the jokes I didn't when I was 12 because I have seen the other movies they reference (Cuckoo's Nest, etc.) I also have a better eye for subtly and timing. The other IMDB reviewer here was right-there is a lot more to this film than there appears to be at first viewing. Not to mention the nice part where the Aliens are brought 'down to earth,' metaphorically speaking.
If you have seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail 2000 times and are sick to death of it, well, go and watch it again. But after that, see Morons From Outer Space. Every scene in it is like a small sketch and will actually get funnier with repeated viewings, much like Python.
Favorite scenes: The 'therapy' at the psycho ward with the Iron Maiden record, and the sneeze inside the space helmet. Classic!
Morons from Outer Space is ridiculous. The humour, at first glance, is very low-brow. Look beneath the surface, and the movie is rife with satire and irony. The characters are absurd, but believable in the context of their world. The real triumph of the film are the subtlety of much of the gags. It takes familiar themes of human life and extrapolates them to their most ridiculous conclusion. It is extremely silly, but I never tire of watching it.
If you are expecting a film called Morons from Outer Space to somehow
be incredibly deep and fulfilling, you're approaching it all wrong.
This film presents exactly what it sets out to present: a campy, hilarious comedy without pretense. Reminiscent of films like Crime Wave and even the Pink Panther films, it is well acted by a great cast.
Don't go into this film expecting the answers to life, the universe and everything (that's a different story). Watch this movie for fun and check your higher intellect at the door.
Smith and Jones, who have long had great on-screen chemistry in television, are strangely separated for the majority of this film... living in two separate sub-plots.
Watching the film, you would think they must have had a moderately high budget, but I have a feeling they just made good use of what they had.
Don't discount this movie based solely on the other reviews here. I personally have laughed out loud so much I've had to pause it. You have to pay close attention and listen to everything to get the funniest bits.
Yes I did like this film, so what about it? It's well written and better than any Hollywood rubbish crappy comedy about Aliens invading earth, (with the exception of MARS ATTACKS!)the humour is subtley handled by the cast, especially, Jimmy Nail, turning in his best performance as one of the "Moron" aliens, in Auf Wiedersen Pet, I thought he was just irritating and over-rated, but here he almost steals the show. Paul Bown and Joanne Pearce also far well, as the dim-wit and dizzy blonde repectively. James B. Sikking is wonderfully dry in his slightly underused role and Dinsdale Landen has many a good line, with his rolling monotenous, authority, sing-song voice. The two stars; Smith and Jones also do well, especially Mel who wanders around the film looking for someone to believe that he is the fourth alien when, as he describes them; "So-called friends" leave him destitute while they enjoy a life of Fame, Fortune and Luxury. The sequence where he finally bumps into them at the end is quite moving and underplayed, with a subtle message regarding people you either know or who are your "so-called friends". Griff does O.K, but his role is slightly wasted, he appears only to but at the brunt of the joke or pamper to the aliens constant needs. All in all, it really is O.K and the film runs at a good pace, what's wrong with Aliens being out there who are thick, other aliens on their planet (peculiarly named:BLOB)could be highly intelligent but these unfortunately are the ones we meet. Favourite Moment: When told they are played with the chess set, one glance sees them not actually playing the game in the normal way, but having one holding the board and hitting the chess pieces which come their way.
This movie takes aim at both Hollywood and its alien flicks and more importantly, British cinema's unfortunate marketing subordination to same. The special effects, cast, acting and production values are excellent proving that big budget Hollywood can at least be replicated in a lampoon genre. Contrary to nearly every paid critic's review, it is well written. No American or British icon escapes unscathed. The US critics really killed it and frankly, I don't know what Hodges did to deserve that kind of undeserved malice. It's akin to the politically correct fallout from "A Fish Called Wanda". Feel free to go there if you will. It's one of those small British films that people who enjoy silly and dark humor; satire and understatement; and simply well-made, good looking spoofs--this is one of those. It is dead on-target. Enjoy the payback from a great unassuming film that Hollywood made sure was dead on arrival: they were right in the sense that it was and remains "dead on".
Goodness knows here are many worse, and dumber, comedies out there, but its truly a shame that Smith and Jones didn't put this script through some more refinement, and hired a veteran comedy director (one who has a sense of timing), before blowing their chance at international fame. The main problem with the film is it tries to do to many things and use too many comedic styles at once. On one hand it tries to satirize our celebrity focused culture, while on another it tries to send up the conventions of science fiction films (and films in general)a la the Zuckers. At the same time that its trying to juggle those concepts, its also trying telling a story that could have been inherently funny on its own, without the distractions of the slapstick and the parodies. The idea that the first aliens to openly visit Earth are here by accident simply because they're too stupid to pilot, let alone understand the workings of, their rented spacecraft had great potential, but the movie is too distracted by everything else it tries to do for it to work. Despite its problems, there are some genuine laughs to be had here, and its well worth a watch.
It's British, so it's not going to look or feel like the American style
of sci-fi comedy. It compares well with Spaceballs or Galaxy Quest. The
humour is subtle and ironic, it spends as much time sending up the
tabloids and cold war paranoia as it does spoofing contemporary sci-fi.
It also goes down the one road that sci-fi doesn't travel very often:
What if we are well up the food chain compared to our neighbours? The
answer it arrives at is "Then we are in trouble." Above all this is as
gentle as ET, with a big heart and a good moral at the end of the
story. If you like this movie, try the 2000AD strip 'Skizz' a much
darker treatment, but again from the alien point of view.
Is this flick an incredibly sharp look into one of the great truisms of
man? Visits to Wikipedia and IMDb provide useful reminders that,
although smart people keep advancing the accomplishments of science and
technology, most people are no smarter than most people were a thousand
years ago. In a few years you will be able to contact & communicate
with your friends simply by scratching your butt. You shall be able to
travel to Topeka, Kansas, in two minutes with out even having to get
out of bed. Mankind will have colonies throughout outer space. But they
won't be just populated with today's astronauts. The bulk of earth's
population--stupid people--will not all be left in LA & NYC. No, there
shall continue to be stupid people everywhere that there are
intelligent people, and that'll include extraterrestriality.
However making a straightforward point of that in a science fiction film was too simple for EMI to bother with. Oh no, they decided to go one better and really drive their point home by using only stupid people to write and direct their flick. I suspect they also were trying to drum up a little sympathy for Britains from us charitable Americans, "Wow, Britains have to settle for so-called 'comedies' like this which are not funny? OK, I won't complain about Congress sending them more financial aid." How can someone not like a movie which tries to poke fun at aliens by mocking crappy pop singers & Belgian drivers? Did you miss the first vomiting gag? Don't be glum. They puke throughout this flick. I did find this DVD interesting for the further little insights into British culture that I picked up from watching it. I figure that's worth an additional two stars. And, although only several lines were actually funny, I did laugh AT this film a lot; I was laughing at the failure of the lines & situations to be funny that were obviously MEANT to be but, yes, I was laughing, so I figure that's worth a couple stars (if you laugh at people falling down stairs, as I do). And for those of you who bought the DVD and need a reason to ever watch it again, it featured a view of a man's naked penis. Look to see if you can spot it. That's worth a fifth star in a PG-flick.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In 1985, 'Jim'll Fix It' made one boy's dream come true by giving him
the chance to review a movie Barry Norman-style. The movie he saw was
the recently released 'Morons From Outer Space'. He loved it. When I
went to see it at my local cinema, I found the place was packed with
'Morons' was the big screen debut of Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones, following their successes in both 'Not The Nine O'Clock News' and 'Alas Smith & Jones'. Lots of television comedians have made chumps of themselves making the transition to the big screen; the year before this came out, Kenny Everett starred in the vile 'Bloodbath At The House Of Death' and more recently, Horne and Corden's 'Lesbian Vampire Killers' failed to set the world on fire.
Here Smith and Jones were unable to blame the writers - they were the writers. Smith plays 'Bernard', one of four aliens from the planet Blob enjoying a holiday in a spaceship that resembles a caravan, when an accident sees them crash on the M1. Bernard, who was in space at the time, finds his way to Earth, and tries to track down his friends. Usually in sci-fi movies, aliens are depicted as being super-intelligent, but here its the other way round. The Blob people are idiots, pure and simple. With the help of a manager named Graham Sweetley ( Jones ) they go on to become celebrities.
Aside from penning a script lacking in humour, the other major mistake Mel and Griff made was keeping their characters apart for much of the movie. Anyone who saw 'Alas' will tell you they worked best when bouncing their humour off each other.
'Aufpet''s Jimmy Nail raises a few chuckles as one of the aliens. When the military blows the door off the spaceship, Nail's road rage-style outrage is amusing.
Mike Hodges, the director, was responsible for the Michael Caine classic 'Get Carter', so what he was doing here is anyone's guess. He is completely out of his depth. It is equally surprising to find the great Verity Lambert credited as 'Executive Producer'.
There are a couple of bright spots - Bernard's encounter with a skeletal space-pilot and the 'Close Encounters' spoof where Andre Marianne's French scientist tries to communicate with the aliens by playing 'The Entertainer' on a Wurlitzer but overall the film has little to recommend it. It is basically a two-minute sketch stretched well beyond its limits. When Dinsdale Landen's character burst into song I nearly walked out. The kids I saw it with seemed to enjoy it though.
For their next picture 'Wilt' ( 1989 ), Mel and Griff sensibly hired Andrew Marshall and David Renwick to adapt a Tom Sharpe novel. It corrected every fault critics found in 'Morons'.
Viewed now one can draw parallels between the Blob people's celebrity status and that of reality show contestants. So yes Mel and Griff were ahead of their time in that respect.
I do not hate 'Morons' but considering the talent involved in its making, it should have been far better.
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