EARTH BOUND (1981)
Article 3689 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-5-2011
Posting Date: 9-20-2011
Directed by James L. Conway
Featuring Burl Ives, Christopher Connelly, Meredith MacRae
What it is: TV series pilot that somehow made it to the big screen
A family of aliens and their pet green monkey end up stranded on Earth where they befriend a hotel manager and his orphaned grandson. Can they find the crucial element to fix their spacecraft, avoid capture by government officials, and solve all of their friends’ personal problems in the two and a half days they have left?
I actually caught this pathetic little science fiction comedy when it played in the theaters, albeit not from my own choosing; it was what is known as a “family” night at the movies. It’s like one of the Disney shopping cart movies except it never once approaches the energy level or the lunacy of those films, despite the fact that they have given the alien family an array of convenient super-powers. Its acting is competent and uninspired, the writing is cliche-ridden, and it never works up an iota of momentum or suspense. It’s the type of movie that is mildly comic at its best, blandly dull at its worst. The ads highlighted the green monkey, but the animal is practically a non-entity; other than the fact that he seems to eat light bulbs (talked about but never seen), he adds little to the proceedings. And, after reading the user reviews on IMDB, it’s primarily championed by people who like it because it doesn’t have violence or foul language and is a true family movie. All I can say about that is if this was the type of movie they had to champion, it says something about the decrepit state of family movies at the time. And had it become a TV series, I’d have given it six weeks at best before cancellation.