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MOVIE REVIEW : 'Invaders': Nothing Out of This World

April 30, 1990|KEVIN THOMAS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

While listening to a recording of Orson Welles' famous radio production of H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds," motion picture visual effects artist Patrick Read Johnson was inspired to come up with his "Spaced Invaders" (citywide).

Instead of the humans believing in a Martian invasion, it's a couple of Martians themselves who believe what they hear on a 50th-anniversary broadcast of Welles' show--and head for Earth, landing in an Illinois farming community on Halloween (where, of course, everyone at first thinks these ugly little green creatures with antennas sticking out of their outsized heads are revelers in costume).

Good movies have been made from less imaginative premises than this, but unfortunately Read Johnson and co-writer Scott Lawrence Alexander haven't come up with sufficient wit and humor to sustain theirs. As a result, "Spaced Invaders" (rated PG but more like a G) is a tedious, frenetic and sour business in which humans and Martians alike are all pretty stupid, except for the local sheriff's pretty, peace-loving daughter (Ariana Richards). Even the special effects aren't anything special.

'SPACED INVADERS'

A Buena Vista release of a Touchstone Pictures presentation in association with Silver Screen Partners IV of a Smart Egg Pictures-Luigi Cingolani production. Executive producer George Zecevic. Director Patrick Read Johnson. Screenplay Johnson, Scott Lawrence Alexander. Camera James L. Carter. Makeup effects and animatronics Criswell & Johnson Effects. Music David Russo. Production designer Tony Tremblay. Stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos. Film editors Seth Gaven, Daniel Gross. With Douglas Barr, Royal Dano, Ariana Richards, J.J. Anderson, Gregg Berger, Wayne Alexander, Fred Applegate, Kevin Thompson, Jimmy Briscoe, Tony Cox, Debbie Lee Carrington, Tony Madden, Patrika Darbo.

Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.

MPAA-rated: PG (parental guidance suggested).

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