Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 01/02/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The original 1953 INVADERS FROM MARS is a cult classic, appreciated for both its influence on later similar films and the fact that it reads as hilariously corny by today standards. But this 1986 remake--in spite of a big budget, several very talented actors, and a deliberately campy script--is unlikely to inspire the same sort of loyalty, and it was universally condemned by critics and audiences alike when first released.That said, the film really isn't as bad as you may have heard. The plot follows the original version quite closely: the imaginative young son (Hunter Carson) of two loving parents (Timothy Bottom and Laraine Newman) catches sight of a UFO as it lands beyond the hill behind his house--and when his father goes out to investigate he returns... well... different. When his mother and his evil school teacher (Louise Fletcher) follow suit, he turns to the school nurse (Karen Black), and together the two alert the local military to the strange goings-on.The cast is really quite good. Although the script gives her little to do beyond run around screaming, Karen Black has a unique screen presence--and it is as evident here as it is in her more celebrated films. Her real life son, Hunter Carson, does the honors as the child lead, and aquits himself very well. But the most memorable performances are from Laraine Newman, Timothy Bottom, and Louise Fletcher, who are transformed by the UFO and sent abroad to do the aliens' evil will. Fletcher is particularly enjoyable, wringing the most from her role as every child's nightmare school teacher. The special effects have dated and seem remarkably derrivative, a mix of STAR WARS and ALIEN, but they too are entertaining in their own way, and although it isn't always successful the script has enough campy humor (much of it in reference to the original) to give you an occasional hoot.As pure fluff, the 1986 INVADERS FROM MARS works very well, and kids ten and up are likely to find it extremely entertaining. Still, I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way for this particular movie. It is mindlessly entertaining, but I don't think it is a film to which many viewers will care to return."
Make sure you get the correct DVD with the extras
Robin Simmons | 09/16/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There seems to be two versions of this film on DVD, the one I purchsed has "Midnight Movies" printed at the top of the DVD case, and even though there does not seem to be any mention anywhere, apart from the Trailer, there are two featurettes on the DVD. Unlike a lot of featurettes which are filmed for DVD now with photos from the time the film was made, the two on this DVD were made at the same time as the movie. They are 8 minutes, and 15 minutes in length, contain interviews with the main cast, as well a great look behind the scenes at shots in the movie as they are being filmed. There are also interviews with some of the crew, and a look at the production props, and special effects.It's worth buying this version of the DVD for the extras, and the opening titles are still amongst the most exciting I have ever seen.I nearly gave it 4 stars by the way"
BETTER THAN YOU THINK
Robin Simmons | Palm Springs area, CA United States | 04/18/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"With little fanfare, MGM has quietly transferred a handful of great B films to DVD that they not too arbitrarily categorize as "Midnight Movies." The nice looking digital prints are in their original theatrical format and appear as if they were taken from original material. The discs come with no substantial extras but care has been lavished on the box art, often reflecting the lurid lobby cards and posters of their initial release. Even acknowledging the B category, these are for the most part well-crafted and, well, adequately acted. In "INVADERS FROM MARS" Tobe Hooper directs a terrific cast -- Karen Black, Timothy Bottoms, Bud Cort and Louise Fletcher -- in a straightforward update of the of the 1953 cult classic. This flip side to the benign aliens of "E.T." or "Close Encounters" delivers bad guys from space who not only want our planet but our souls as well. Creepy fun that can still raise the hair on your neck."
It's a B-movie, people...have fun with it!
Robin Simmons | 12/08/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"That's what I'm saying! Granted, I do concur with most of the preceding reviewers that Tobe Hooper has conjured more visceral cinematic thrills with the likes of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Poltergeist", & "The Funhouse." But I've always found "Invaders From Mars" to be enthrallingly fun popcorn flick fodder for my Friday nites. Sure, Dan ("Alien", "Total Recall") O'Bannon's script ain't Golden Globe material, and the acting's quite over-the-top at times...but it does boast an eerie score and sound design, as well as resplendent color & shadow schemes in its cinematography that still leave me in inexplicable wonderment. Even the ensemble F/X crew of Oscar winners Stan Winston, John Dykstra, & Les ("Raiders of the Lost Ark") Dilley did a commendable job on the creature and spacecraft design work when considering the budgetary constraints imposed on them from working under the Chapter 11-ridden Cannon Films banner.As for the story, it's a formulaic 50's sci-fi motif from start to finish...but damn fun! Young David Gardner (Hunter Carson) makes a harrowing discovery of witnessing a Martian U.F.O. land behind his backyard one evening. As time progresses, he notices something's ominously wrong with his family and the other townsfolk. They each have grotesque flesh wounds on the backs of their necks, have extreme appetites for raw meat, and behave like stoical drones. The Martians have landed and plan to enslave humanity via implanted subliminal biochips and deplete the Earth's copper supply in the process! Able to convince the school nurse (Karen Black) and ironically the local NASA base's Marine Corp general (James Karen), what ensues for David is a fight-to-the-finish against the extraterrestial baddies! But it was all just a bad nightmare for poor David...OR WAS IT!? I have seen both the 50's & this 80's version of the same chilling story a number of times. Hooper's interpretation, in my opinion, had appropriate equilibrium in keeping the story at times a taut, surrealistic sci-fi thriller, as well as a campy kiddie horror flick at others...though its 'PG' banner was really stretched to the limit. The fear "Invaders From Mars" tries to project comes naturally if one can elicit their inner-child and empathize with the common terrors of being alone with no place to hide and no one to believe you in a hostile environment...trite, but true. MGM has compiled a very decent DVD re-release of this film. The 2.35:1 widescreen transfer is the cleanest (albeit with some minor grain) version I've seen, and it really does a sublime job in accentuating the spacecraft interior scenes! The 2.0 surround track does a satisfactory job, but a 5.1 remix would have really satiated my audiophile sweet tooth. Two Behind-The-Scenes featurettes are even included (I never knew Hooper was such a chain cigar smoker before watching his interviews and set shooting footage), as well as the perequisite trailer. This is fun sci-fi/horror escapism on a bargain-packed DVD! Give it a chance...at least as a rental."