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Friday, September 28, 2018

Invaders from Mars (1953)




Friday means yet another classic genre movie from the fifties. Invaders from Mars is a bit different as it falls more into the science fiction genre than monsters from outer space. There is also an interesting twist that is unlike anything else that I’ve covered so far. More on that later.

Our main character is a young boy named David. When we first meet him, he is getting up early to check out some cool stuff on his telescope. The kid is a bit of a science nerd and so is his father who is an engineer. When the boy sees a spaceship land in the field behind their house he tells his father, who decides to investigate. When Dad returns he isn’t himself acting almost mechanical and snapping at David. Something is clearly going on. But what?

After a few more people go into the field and return changed David convinces some adults to check it out. They find that an alien ship has landed in the field for a very specific purpose. In a pretty big logical leap, they speculate that the secret rocket program that his Dad is working on is a threat to theoretical alien space ships/stations where the Martians live now that their planet is uninhabitable. They are controlling people like David’s father to sabotage the rocket program and save them from the threat. How do they come to this conclusion? It just sort of happens. The Army shows up and there is a big showdown with the Aliens. How does it end? Not the way you would expect.

Be warned there are some spoilers below. If you don’t like that sort of thing skip to the last paragraph of this review to get my final word and recommendation on Invaders from Mars. Got it? Okay you were warned. The plot here makes some strange leaps in logic, like I’ve already mentioned. But we also have adults that inexplicably believe a kid when he tells them his parents have been kidnapped by Martians and changed. Not only do they believe him, but they call the military and roll the tanks immediately. That was a bit much to take when it came to suspension of disbelief. Instead of accusing the movie of lazy plotting I have to appreciate it for the explanation which comes in the big twist. Here comes the spoiler, this is all a dream that David is having. The paranoia and fear of losing his Mom and Dad along with finding sympathetic adults that will help him out fit nicely into the narrative of his nightmare. Which also explains the lack of logic shown by some of the adults. This is a kid’s dream. Okay movie you get a free pass on that one.  

It isn’t just the plot that has a unique point of view. They even do an amazing job with the visuals from the colors used to the spartan sets that have odd angles and doors that are way too large. There is a surreal and dreamlike quality to the movie that is perfect for the story that is being told. Now that being said I will admit that as nicely as it was executed this does come off as a kid’s movie. Because of that doesn’t hold the same interest for me that some of the other better invasion movies do. I found myself more than a little bored waiting for the action to begin. We don’t’ even see a Martian until the last twenty minutes of the movie. And then they are mostly the mutants aka. guys in body suits with the seams visible who keep running thru the same couple of hallways over and over again. The only highlight is the head in a bowl and that doesn’t get enough screen time.

Slow pacing and not enough Aliens make Invaders from Mars a chore to get thru. I do appreciate what they were trying to accomplish, but it just didn’t do it for me. This movie is only for those hardcore fans of fifties science fiction, everyone else should take a pass on it. I know that it is considered a classic by some but I can’t recommended it.



© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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