Invaders From Mars
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.
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