Thursday, August 02, 2012

“Trumpy, you can do magic things!”

In the international spirit fostered by the Olympics, how about a low budget Spanish/French horror movie that got a cutesy plot about a kid adopting an alien tacked on because E.T. was a huge success? Or a cutesy movie about a kid adopting an alien with a horror movie tacked on because it was too similar to E.T. 1983 produced Los Nuevos Extraterrestres, AKA The Unearthling AKA Extraterrestrial Visitors AKA The Pod People (there are no pods. There are eggs, but not pods.)

Nothing good will come of this.

Well, we’ve actually got 3 plots. Plot A involves a group of rather bored looking poachers sneaking into a park to, well, poach. One of them wanders into a cave and finds a bunch of weird eggs, so his first instinct is to start smashing them up. He destroys most of them before being killed by the camera--err, monster, who then goes a-huntin’ for humans.

Plot B involves a bunch of unlikable but innocent (bad) musicians going camping in the same woods for the weekend and they get systematically killed off by the same monster.

Plot C involves a weird little kid named Tommy who lives with his mother and grandfather in a house in the same park (??) who finds the last egg and hatches it. It grows into a short fuzzy thing with an elephant snout that he calls Trumpy. Trumpy has incredible powers over time and space that he uses to do really dumb stop motion effects.

The three storylines collide, people die, the audience is left confused because nothing makes any sense.

Directed by Juan Piquer Simón, the visual elements of the movie never mesh. The best scenes are the big establishing shots of foggy mountains. When that’s the best the movie has to offer, it’s a bad sign. The rest of movie? Not so good. The alien costumes are really, really bad and there’s WAYYYYYYY too much fog. Pacing is also an issue, as well as mood whiplash because you go from a monster stalking teens in the woods to a friendly monster befriending a disturbingly sheltered kid.

Joaquín Grau and Juan Piquer Simón on scripting duty. 3 storylines, 2 different moods. It doesn’t work. At all. Doesn’t help that the characters are all universally unlikable. Although two of the dumb poachers are at least somewhat amusing, but they get killed off halfway. Trumpy is somewhat likable, but he doesn’t speak (which is probably part of his charm).

The music is really, really bad.  There is one musical number because the teenagers are in a recording studio because they’re a band, but the lyrics are near unintelligible.

I read somewhere that the director was never happy with the end result, and I can see why. The Pod People/Extraterrestrial Visitors/The Unearthling/Los Nuevos Extraterrestres is a mess of conflicting moods, bad characters and bad effects. Although the MST3K version is a riot.

Good? He's the BEST!

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