Thursday, August 20, 2009

Invading from a 1950's Sky, 'Alien Trespass' Pays Great Tribute

Alien Trespass seems like it arrived to the year 2009 via time machine. If the technology to do that existed I might actually believe that this really was a lost 1950's science fiction film finally recovered for our viewing pleasure.

In true form, Alien Trespass recreates the 1950's era of genre filmmaking. The story is hokey, the acting is wooden, the humor is dry and the effects are decades old. Okay, normally a film with these qualities wouldn't receive much acclaim from a critical standpoint, but this time around we have a project that just does.

Despite being full of nostalgia aimed at those that grew up watching both impressive and corny science fiction flicks in movie theaters across America during the 50's, Alien Trespass is a breath of fresh air. It can't be easy to pull off a complete restoration of a forgotten style of filmmaking, but director R.W. Goodwin must have a direct channel to the years past because he did it perfectly.

Facing the fact that most films labeled under the science fiction genre these days are chock full of animation and CGI, Goodwin dared to go simple. A goofy looking one-eyed monster is the villain here, not a monstrous robot as big as most buildings. All that's needed to stop him is a visit from a lone alien invader and a sort of tiny laser that looks like it was quickly constructed out of a pipe. In all honesty, Alien Trespass just doesn't look or act like a modern film. And for Goodwin that must be music to his ears.

Goodwin devised a retro and saturated color scheme based off classic genre films such as the original The War of the Worlds. The set pieces are also, at times, sincerely forged. Goodwin's absolute love for the films he pays joyful tribute that shows. He has the concept down pat with the inclusion of small town drunkards, a dorky local scientist, young kids the adults won't listen to, a police chief not on top of his game and an out of this world plot.

The forced and wooden acting is only a lovable nod to the original stuff, and works as true homage. Robert Patrick, best known for his role in Terminator 2: Judgment Day works alongside Eric McCormack of Will and Grace fame. The two add name and talent to a film that doesn't have what you would call a wide audience.

Alien Trespass isn't really meant to be a spoof or a comedy, and that's important to remember. Sure, there is humor, and most of it seems straight from the 1950's. Obviously not similar to the style of comedy that reigns champion nowadays. Still, it seems Goodwin's full intention is to only recreate one of the most beloved genres in the history of the United States, not to poke fun of it like other films try to do. So if you're sitting there, watching and playing along with Goodwin's dreamish photography and vintage storyline, and you aren't enjoying what you're watching, make sure your intentions are leveled with Goodwin's.

Possibly for only fans of yesteryear's genres and styles, Alien Trespass is a triumphant and respectable form of flattery from a team who clearly loves what they do. It's lovable, fun and from a decade other than our own. Most importantly, it's a change of pace from the multimillion dollar CGI-fests that invade cinemas every summer.

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