One is unsure what to expect when viewing the cover art of this production, but leaving an open mind for wonderment of the cinema experience helps greatly, and the film opens to a fantastic tone, which easily gives way for an enjoyable movie, while having no seriousness intended. The filmmaker, Joe Bauer, who previous directed the horror film The Killage (2011) switches gears and genres, with his first sci-fi and comedy flick, layered with nice action sequences. Bauer deserves overwhelming accolades for creating this hilariously wonderful film, as he serves in the following capacities screenwriter, director, editor, cinematographer, scoring, special effects, actor and lots more, although he did have a co-writer, Rita Artmann. Australiens made on a meager budget but the passion of the director sweeps across the spectrum and delivers a fun movie, as proven through the blooper reel found in the extras, and earned over 10-awards.
Alien-obsessed Australian-born Andi Gibson (Rita Artmann), constantly recalls that at the age of ten, she describes a close alien encounter with a glowing green flying saucer who gave her special ‘powers’ years ago. Now, any reasonable person, who is practically everyone, merely assumes she had a fantastic dream and it stayed with her, becoming a reality, however, now 17 years later she is the lead singer of a punk band in Brisbane until one notable evening, all hell breaks loose. An unfriendly extraterrestrial army launches a nation-wide assault on Andi’s home country and at the same time, for unspecified reasons, kidnaps her mother. Meanwhile, the other nations insulted by the attack and treatment from the aliens, come to Australia’s aid. The story unfolds of five young people who find themselves at the center of an alien invasion, Andi, her hypochondriac brother Elliot (Doug Hatch), retired boxer cousin Keith (Lawrence Silver) and documentary filmmaker friend Cam (Tamara McLaughlin) to stop the attack and rescue Andi’s mother. The antics of her friends become embroiled and range from hilarious car chasing spaceships versus a bicyclist, martial-arts aliens, giant killer robots and goofy family secrets, while flying saucers whizzing demolishing cities in a smoldering mess. Bauer’s movie pays great homage to Men in Black (1997) and Independence Day (1996)’s famous speech all packed into an offbeat, action flick with cheesy characters, intentionally letting the audience on the diagnosis that it pokes fun at itself and understands that special effects looks off kilter. Nevertheless, the cast worked very well together and praise to Rita and Joe as the character John, is absurd and wonderfully portrayed. Everyone commits to the low-budget production, realizing both the stupidity of the film and the enduring qualities to make the comedy work in every delightful aspect. Lastly, the appearance of the Alien Commander (Emma Randall), a wonderful comedic moment and delivers humor for an extended portion of film.
Bauer maintains a steady control, at the helm for his sci-fi comedy while holding tight to effective effects covering three distinct areas: practical, make up and CGI. The entire design of the film earns bonus points, and with humor mixing nicely into the standard tone, and all of it sounding natural, with well-placed punchlines and one-liners to deaden the impact of the more intense moments. However, a major issue that film suffers from is the running time, eight minutes off of 2-hours, and the editor took a vacation to Uranus. This notes a reason why many directors have another person assist on the editing, as to battle for the limits on the film, 90-minutes the standard, obvious the movie a labor of love, and cutting felt like a dagger in the heart, but hard choices common for all directors.
Most horror fans, know Australia for the land of deadly animals in the sea and from the air, as well as the legendary area of Queensland, but a comedy, far-fetched and yet enduring to the quality the diversity of film clearly sci-fi but appeals to horror, sci-fi and slapstick lovers of cinema. The over-the-top creativeness reigns supreme with creative scenes and aliens, and achieving distribution from Midnight Releasing makes this a movie to invest the time and laughs and is worth a repeat viewing every now and again.
This review was originally published in September 2016 on the now defunct Rogue Cinema website with a view count of 2,732.
IMDb Rating: 5.3/10
Baron’s Rating: 5.5/10