Mutant Aliens (2001)
Mutant Aliens (2001)

Genre: Sci-Fi Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 21 min.

Release Date: January 24th, 2001 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Bill Plympton Actors: Dan McComas, Francine Lobis, George Casden, Matthew Brown, Jay Cavanaugh, Amy Allison

 


 

A

spaceship lands on the White House lawn during a welcome-home ceremony for Astronaut Earl Jensen (Dan McComas), taking the spotlight away from the big event. From within the mysterious craft emerges a cute little chipmunk, among other creatures, but they immediately reveal sharp teeth and begin consuming the wide-eyed crowd, as well as the reporter trying to get a better look. The film then flashes back to 20 years earlier, showing the Department of Space’s preparations for their star astronaut as he bids farewell to his cherub-faced little daughter, Josie (Francine Lobis).

Once Earl is in orbit, Dr. Frubar (George Casden) remotely activates a fuel dump that finds Jensen’s shuttle floating away toward certain doom; there’s no possibility of sending another craft into space to save him. It’s a morbid scheme to get Americans to donate funds to the Department of Space, ostensibly to prevent such a tragedy from ever occurring again. As the years pass, Josie grows up, pursuing a career at an observatory. While fooling around with boyfriend Darby (Matthew Brown), she spies a meteorite headed straight for Earth – and it just might be her father’s shuttle, finally returning home.

Right from the start, extreme angles are used to convey unusual perspectives, which aren’t camera tricks – they’re drawn with writer/director Bill Plympton’s signature exaggerations. The look is highly unique, full of distortions so severe that they’re absolutely hilarious. And facial features boast comparable, practically mutilative alterations, with grotesquely oversized or undersized noses, eyes, lips, teeth, and more.

This same visual derangement carries over into the comical asides, from showering to urinating to intercourse, all featuring remarkable amplifications of routine human activities; normalcy is given a rattling edge of perversion, sexual or otherwise. Even the first aliens Earl encounters are little more than pink sacks of flesh with breasts and butts (later, they’re described as noses) – and he wastes no time before copulating with their leader. It’s equal parts offensive and gut-busting, as well as disgusting yet profound (the orchestral and operatic music helps considerably with this), particularly when the nose-aliens defend themselves against an onslaught of warring conquerors shaped like fingers, lips, feet, and tongues. Bursting with deviant creativity, “Mutant Aliens” transitions into quite the adventure film, full of shootouts and high-speed chases, though it remains less focused – and, ultimately, less amusing – than Plympton’s previous efforts.

– Mike Massie

  • 6/10