Extraterrestrial Movie Review (Great)
Review by Slant Magazine
Velador fixes its concentrated gaze on a Culiacan, Mexico cemetery where the bodies of the country’s drug lords lie in well-manicured mausoleums. The nation’s heart of darkness, this locale is a place at once untouched and defined by violence, a condition director Natalia Almada conveys through wordless views of the life that continues on amidst the dead: the titular night watchman, quietly hovering about when not listening to, or watching on TV, news broadcasts of the nation’s ongoing military-cartel warfare; workers in dusty split shoes toiling away at the construction of these final resting places; and the daily appearance of shiny hearses and luxury cars carrying mothers who wail for their fallen sons. Posters of the dead, all young men flashing tough expressions from the great beyond, line the area, as a young, beautiful woman mops the floor of her cop husband’s tomb while their daughter hops and skips around the area, instinctively treating this familiar environment—a home for both those in the ground as well as above it—like a playground.
Review by Variety
Nacho Vigalondo’s “Extraterrestrial” reps another tricky spin of sci-fi conventions toward unconventional ends following his intriguing 2007 thriller, “Timecrimes.” Far more humorous in gist than that debut feature, new pic uses a highly conspicuous UFO visitation as little more than a novel context for a droll comedy of errors in romantic fidelity. Results are offbeat and amusing, but also a bit thin as the whole essentially amounts to one long shaggy-dog joke. Sales potential will be hit-and-miss, with sleeper status as well as buyer disinterest possible in various territories. After what was evidently one hell of a drunken night out, Julia (Michelle Jenner) and Julio (Julian Villagran) wake up in bed together, not remembering each other’s names or even whether they had sex. Given the awkwardness of the situation, she’s at first eager for him to leave. But they’re soon distracted by something a tad unusual outside: a giant spaceship, evidently several miles in diameter, hovering above the city. It emerges that nearly the whole urban populace was evacuated while the two protags were zonked out.
Review by Mar R. Leeper
EXTRATERRESTRIAL is an amiable romantic comedy with a science fiction premise. Nacho Vigalondo follows up his TIMECRIMES (LOS CRONOCRÍMENES) with a lighter touch, neither as taxing nor as rewarding as his previous film. Waking up with a hangover, Julián Villagrán as Julio realizes he does not know the woman he has been sleeping with. He also slept through the coming of a giant alien spaceship hovering over his city. The film is done on a small budget with minimal special effects and not even much action. The Spanish film is amusing, but Vigalondo will have a hard time surpassing TIMECRIMES, and he is not near to doing that here. Fans of romantic comedy may better appreciate EXTRATERRESTRIAL than will science fiction aficionados. Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10
Nacho Vigalondo’s first feature film to both write and direct was the Spanish film TIMECRIMES, a clever time travel film with complexities to rival the time travel paradox stories of Robert Heinlein and David Gerrold. The good news is that Vigalondo’s second full-length film that he writes and directs is another science fiction film. The bad news is that EXTRATERRESTRIAL really does not rank with TIMECRIMES. This is a story whose plot is occasionally driven by the science fiction (one idea really), but it is not about that idea. And no twists are presented as intelligently or as engrossingly as they were is his previous film. Yes, it is good that it is a human comedy, not unlike what we might get from Pedro Almadovar, but there are many of those. This is not nearly the intriguing puzzle for the intellect that TIMECRIMES was. That was where his work stood out as being really individual. Vigalondo is not playing to strengths that made his first film strong.