Saturday, July 29, 2017

193. Hyper Sapien: People From Another Star

193. Hyper Sapien: People From Another Star (1986)
Director: Peter R. Hunt
Writers: Christopher Adcock, Christopher Blue, and Marnie Page from a story by Christopher Blue
From: Sci-Fi Invasion
Two aliens stow away on a ship bound for Earth to prove their species can live in peace with humans. They meet a teenaged Wyoming farmhand and start to discover the deeper meaning of humanity.
If you follow my Instagram/Twitter at all, you know I’ve spent the previous evening watching candles melt which has been an absolute delight. This may be evidence that I’ve been watching too many of these movies. Regardless, I’m looking to rush through this post so I can get back to melting wax.

The first thing to note about this movie is that it’s not supposed to be a crappy bargain-basement movie. It’s executive produced by Talia Shire—Adrian from Rocky—and directed by Peter Hunt who previously directed On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. That’s right, the sixth Bond film. So this isn’t made by amateurs or hacks. These are people trying to make a serious film.

Obviously it’s a trainwreck of the first order.

We start with people entering and exiting a spaceship when Robyn and Tavy sneak out to stay on Earth. A spinny orange blur follows them. Oh no! Could a monster be following them?

No, because the movie doesn’t feature any kind of conflict like that. To crib a line from We Hate Movies, this is made for stupid babies.

This still has its own hole in the ozone layer
The first thing to note is Robyn and Tavy’s terrible wigs. Their hair is so feathered it looks like they just pulled their heads out of a cotton candy machine. They look like they’ve just stepped out of a wind tunnel. It’s so big and so bad and it never really gets under control throughout the movie.

Cut to our Earthling hero, Dirt. Yes, his name is “Dirt.”

Come on, movie. This is just. . . You don’t need to make it this easy.

He sleeps in a hammock with a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, and dog tags. When he wakes up, he doesn’t get out of the hammock onto the floor, he crawls from rope to rope hanging from his ceiling. His walls are covered with clocks telling the times in other time zones and he carries a pocket tape recorder where he dictates a fictionalized, grandiose version of his own life.

Oh Christ almighty.

So he rides off on his dirt bike (hence the name “Dirt”), finds the pair, and starts crushing on Robyn. The monster shows up, only it’s not a monster, it’s a three-legged Muppet abortion that’s going to be the source of so! much! fun! throughout the movie!

You thinking "space vagina?" Are you now?
To speed things up, Robyn is psychic, Dirt takes them all to his grandpa who doesn’t react to them being aliens at all, and Dirt goes back home. His family is preparing a barbecue for their Senator friend as part of her re-election campaign and the police are worried about a potential assassination attempt. No, seriously, the movie goes down this path. Cops see some of the aliens, who are just Markie Post-looking blonds without facial expressions, looking for Robyn and Tavy and get suspicious. The aliens find Robyn at the BBQ, a cop shoots one, and now Robyn and Dirt have to rescue him from the hospital and get their Muppet back to space because he’s growing up and his telekinetic powers are going haywire.

Alien gets busted out of hospital, Dirt leads cops on a high-speed chase, and the aliens beam him and their own onto their ship. They send him home and then Robyn beams down to join him on Earth as well. THE END.

While I was literally giddy over the terribleness at the start of the movie, it just gets so boring. Everyone wants to be around Robyn cause she’s so magically special. Even the senator asks her what young women are thinking about this days, and Robyn gives the hippy-dippy, “We all need to love one another cause we’re all neighbors on this planet” answer that’s secretly somehow the message of the movie. The senator offers her a job in her administration.

Plus you have the annoying kid. Tavy is a kid to Robyn and Dirt’s “teenagers” (they’re not quite drawing a pension, but I’d say it’s been a decade since either saw their teens), and is obsessed with TV. Cause they grew up on a secret base on the dark side of the moon and they get all the channels. It’s all so precious and just awful.

The alien looks okay as far as complicated puppets go, but it’s also a source for eye-rolling slapstick. It gets a taste for gasoline and, oops, ends up at the BBQ siphoning off everyone’s gas tank. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Nothing has any consequence or purpose here. There’s no villain, no threat, and no real goals on the part of the characters. Dirt wants to protect Robyn and Tavy from discovery, but Robyn starts bristling at his protectiveness the next day. It’s not clear what she’d rather be doing, what he’s keeping her from. So the drama of the movie is supposed to be around them having basically a lovers’ spat, but they don’t know each other for any of it to matter at all.

In short, it’s not a recommend. If you find it, revel in the very 80’s first half-hour, then fast-forward to all the parts with the furry fidget spinner. Those are the ones that the movie’s actually invested in and are thus halfway enjoyable. Outside of that, I’d stay away. Unless you really need to see that final title card dedicating the movie to “the young in spirit.”

This is why I want to die

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