|ALIEN FROM L.A.
|Copyright 1988 Golan-Globus
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 5 December 2008
- Wanda Saknussemm - Kathy Ireland! Yet again, proof that anyone looks like a nerd if you stick a pair of thick glasses on their nose.
- Guten "Gus" Edway - He believes that a man should, "Speak softly, and carry a twenty inch frying pan." He does not wear glasses; his teeth are normal in size and spacing.
- Roeyis - Gus' unhappy girlfriend. Why is she unhappy? She is an Eloi who was born 800,000 years too early, meaning that she is going to miss out on "Happy Happy Joy Joy" hour. She is pretty bitter about that.
- Charmin' - At first, this suave underworld dweller was going for the Valentino look, but he quickly discarded that and settled for the much easier "tough dude on a motorcycle" shtick.
- Prof. Saknussemm - What luck, he discovered a bottomless pit in his mud room!
- Gen. Rykov - She is such an epitome of the empowered woman of the 1980's, black peacock eye patch and all, that she is often mistaken for a man.
- Shank - Imagine if Lydia from "Beetlejuice" became a bag lady.
- Mambino - The midget mob overlord of the underworld. His eyelashes are so long that they probably hang in his minestrone soup.
- Lord Over - Doesn't sitting on that throne ever make him dizzy?
|Wanda Saknussemm is an insecure nerd with an annoying voice, and it is hard to feel sorry for her. Sure, she cannot help it that nature graced her with a goat's larynx. Nor did she have anything to do with her father's decision to move to Africa (actually, her voice might have had something to do with that). However, Wanda's biggest problem is that she thinks "adventuresome" means taking a walk on Malibu Beach, which is across the street from where she lives.
Thanks to her father's occupation, the high-pitched geek's life is about to change. Professor Saknussemm studies deep holes in the ground. That is why he moved to Africa: to study deep holes in the ground (not to escape his daughter's annoying voice, as some irresponsible individuals have theorized). While checking out one of these deep holes, the good professor fell in. The grim news that her daddy is somewhere at the bottom of a bottomless pit finally pulls Wanda out of the worthless rut that is her life. She climbs aboard the first rattling C-47 destined for Africa.
"The bottom of a bottomless pit" - isn't language a funny thing?
Once she gets to Africa, Wanda barely has enough time to read her father's research notes before she falls into the same bottomless pit that already sucked in the senior Saknussemm. Well, the pit is not quite "bottomless." It has a bottom! Wanda hits the sandy surface. She is not horribly splattered, bloodily ruptured, or even gruesomely permeated by the silica. She just makes a Wanda-shaped impression in the sand, dusts herself off, and starts following the footprints her father left after experiencing the same miraculous survival in the face of certain death.
Look, I'm all for Nature preserving the number of beautiful women in the world (even the ones with whiney voices), but that was ridiculous.
The reason Professor Saknussemm spent years studying deep holes is that he believes the lost continent of Atlantis was actually a spaceship that was swallowed up by the Earth, and that it is the center of an underground civilization. He was right, and his daughter meets an unlucky Atlantean miner named Guten, who she nicknames "Gus." Professor Saknussemm already knows that his hypothesis was correct, because he is currently a guest in the Atlantean prison. Good on ya, mate! You proved that you are not the crackpot that every other scientist under the sun thought you were. Don't drop the soap.
For reasons unknown, Gus helps Wanda look for her missing father. He is not interested in having sex with her, taking advantage of her, exploiting her, or any of the other things that a man wants when they do something nice for a woman. Wanda fails to notice Edway's noble assistance. She is either gawking at the sights and sounds of the buried metropolis of Atlantis, or remarking how sad it is that Gus has never seen the sun, moon, or the stars.
Look, Wanda, we are all happy that you found an entire race that is more pathetic than yourself. People who think that the whole of creation is just a series of dark and dirty caves. Don't let it go to your head. There are still more than six billon of us on the surface who think that you are a geek.
The crammed subterranean city of Atlantis is not a bad attempt. It turns out better than the one in Super Mario Bros. (not that that is hard to do). The underground society is also a police state. Regular broadcasts remind the citizens that there is no such thing as the "surface world" and, by that reasoning, there can be no such things as "aliens" from the "surface world." Inappropriate thoughts are considered contraband. Anyone harboring them should turn themselves in to the proper authorities, so that the improper ideas can be removed at the earliest opportunity, using the most invasive means.
I swear, one of the best things about this movie is the Atlantean announcer who constantly issues absurd propaganda bulletins over the city's video system. The whole film tries to be weird, in that elusive "cult weird" sort of way, but it utterly fails. The announcer is one of the few successful attempts. They should have made the movie about him.
There are a multitude of dangers in Atlantis. One of those dangers is Shank; she is a freaky girl who kidnaps people by injecting them with some sort of narcotic, and then sells them to either the government or Mambino. Shank abducts Wanda and sells her to the mob boss. Fortunately, Gus puts in an appearance and thumps the lipstick-wearing mobsters. Unfortunately, the government learns that another alien is loose in the city. To help capture the alien, the authorities decide to bring back the lottery. In this case "lottery" = "manhunt." Find the Wanda and win big! Where's Wanda?
It doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it?
Now Wanda has the entire city after her, but her lucky streak continues. A mysterious stranger (Charmin') saves Wanda from an orthodontically enhanced version of Frankenstein's monster; Wanda falls in love with Charmin' at first sight. I have no idea why. Maybe it was his manly way of beating another living being's skull in with an iron pipe, maybe it was the way he looked, with the turban and black mascara, not entirely unlike Valentino, or maybe it was his honesty. Something made Wanda fall in love with Charmin'.
"Do you just want me for my body?"
"Will you not help me if I ask?"
"Do you want to eat my brains?"
"Do you have a girlfriend?"
"Do you like my voice?"
I hope that all of you male readers were paying attention. Charmin' answered every one of those questions correctly. Most girls will not go out with a guy who wants to eat her brains, and any girl who looks like Kathy Ireland, but sounds like Wanda Saknussemm, already knows that her voice is the reason she is single in the first place.
The Atlanteans consistently refer to Wanda's physique as "big-boned." That is quirky and amusing. I spent the whole movie looking for something quirky and amusing, or, failing that, entertaining. "Big-boned" and the propaganda broadcasts were all that I found.
General Rykov's police finally capture Wanda, and she is taken, with her father, to Lord Over's chambers. The military leader wants to execute Wanda and her dad as spies; it is obvious that the surface dwellers are planning an invasion. The only thing standing between the annoying girl from Malibu Beach and a hangman's noose (or however they execute spies down there) is her ability to convince Lord Over that she and her father are not spies. Which means that Wanda has to talk, which is a bad thing.
Did anyone else find the way that Wanda says "Daddy!" just a little creepy?
Surprisingly, Wanda manages to convince Lord Over that she and her father are just wayward explorers. At that moment, Gus barges in and starts head butting people. He drags Wanda and Professor Saknussemm out of the audience chamber, and takes them to meet Professor Galba. The nutty Atlantean scientist has been telling everyone for years that there must be a surface world. He even built a rocketship to find it! No, really. The poor fellow built some sort of exhaust-propelled craft to reach the surface. I guess that climbing is a lost art in Atlantis.
That, my friends, is how Wanda went from being an insecure geek with an annoying voice to a bikini-wearing vixen who knows that she is God's gift to the men of California (so long as she does not open her mouth, because her voice is still enough to drive a man into the arms of a lesser woman).
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Useless girlfriends are the reason men invented surfing.
- God hates whiny nerds.
- If you see a mail carrier wearing a pith helmet, it means that they are delivering a letter out of Africa.
- Archeology and dominos do not mix.
- The suburbs of the center of the Earth look like a hemorrhoid relief cream commercial.
- After a hard day, nothing tastes better than a hot open-faced blueberry annelids on rye sandwich.
- Sometimes, just sometimes, being the "key hair stylist" is a fate worse than death.
- 7 mins - Before you open that door, let's go over the checklist. Matches: check, sweat-soaked handkerchief: check, sandy floor: check, functioning lungs: check, Milla Jovovich: uh-oh...
- 15 mins - You are lucky that you did not wake up slathered with KY and choking on a ball gag. They do that in films these days.
- 20 mins - That is the end of the movie! Thank you all for coming. Good night, and God bless...ah, fiddlesticks!
- 36 mins - Is that green felt?
- 42 mins - That looks like a bottle with a glow stick glued to the end.
- 50 mins - He is right about your voice. An-noy-ing. Say, shouldn't you be dead?
- 55 mins - Great galloping green garbanzos!
- 59 mins - That must be a Spyderco knife; the entire blade is serrated.
- 67 mins - You just missed the perfect opportunity, moron.
- 74 mins - Warning: the film becomes very painful, and it continues with painful for the next four minutes, at which point "complete and utter desolation of the movie watcher's soul" sets in. The movie actually gets better after it ends, because the propaganda announcer reappears.
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Wanda: "What don't you like about me, and I'll change?" |
Ex-boyfriend: "All right: your glasses make you look stupid, your hair is ugly, you dress like a nerd, you walk like a clod, and your voice gives me a headache. Is that enough?"
Wanda: "How come you never told me this before? Huh? Why'd you even go out with me in the first place if I'm such a geek?"
||Prof. Galba: "What do you want?" |
Gus: "You was kicked out of the University for yapping about there being a surface world, right? Aliens and stuff?"
Prof. Galba: "Yes, yes."
Gus: "Well professor, how would you like to meet an alien?"
||Charmin': "Okay, maybe I might help you. It's only because I'm a sucker for big-boned dolls in trouble. Now, tell me your problems and I'll decide if I've got the time." |
Wanda: "Well, it started when I was ten years old."
Charmin': "Wait a second."
Charmin': "Is that really your voice? Come on."
||Announcer: "Lord Over has issued a statement which reminds citizens of Atlantis that there is no such thing as a 'surface world,' and rumors of the actual existence of aliens are wrong, misleading, and counterproductive to the future of our great city-state."
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Gus introduces Wanda to Atlantis. Gosh, her voice is so annoying that even the rocks would cover their ears. |
The funny thing is that Wanda's irritating vocalization almost worked in the film's favor. They just got it too right.
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