This movie is a broad parody of the monster-aboard-a-spaceship style of movies that have been a part of SF cinema since its inception. The basic storyline is that a space-faring crew of Americans and a token British scientist encounter a strange new world, where they find a finger-sized "bit of goo" that seems able to choose who it likes. These are just people doing a job that involves space travel, not space explorers, but nevertheless they take the goo aboard their ship, and once there, the goo grows into a cyclopean humanoid monster. Halfway through the movie, the monster sings (and dances) that it wants to eat them. From that point on, the storyline becomes predictable as crewmembers become monster chow until the two youngest crewmembers manage to eject the monster into space.
A person wants so much to like this movie that it's hard not to wonder what went wrong. The costumes and sets would have worked well in a serious SF television series. The painted sets are almost archetypically 1960s Sci Fi. When the script works, it works despite being G-rated in its humor, a rare feat these days. The actors bring non sequitur moments of dignity, glimpsed just here and there beneath the surface, though those moments of dignity clash with the parody that the movie tries so hard to be.
In many ways it looks as though the author had been intending an absurdist work, a sort of Ionesco or Beckett theatre of the absurd set in outer space, then tried to make it marketable by disguising it as the usual parody with goofy shtick and talented comedic actors. On the other hand, this movie also looks like a cinematic fan-fic that the actors all played out as a favor to writer Bruce Kimmel, somehow shining in their individual moments despite the poor editing and flaccid plot (the actors often appear to be enjoying themselves rather than worrying about creating a movie).
Oddly, the best lines and comedic set pieces go to the least famous stars, Cindy Williams and Bruce Kimmel, while celebrated old hands Leslie Nielsen, Gerrit Graham, and Patrick Macnee end up dying at the hands of the creature. It's a little bit like the tactic used in, for example, the first Harry Potter film, in which the several unknown child stars in that film were surrounded by brilliant actors who helped make them look good (although Cindy Williams and Bruce Kimmel are far from unknown).
Williams demonstrates impressive comedic timing in her role as the Ignored Voice of Reason; for a good example of such timing, look at the gag when she screams an absurdly long scream or when she patiently (and, of course, unsuccessfully) tries to explain to the resident scientist that the monster had just finished a lounge act about how much it wants to eat all of them. But the script and editing never allow her likable moments on-screen to cohere into an actual character.
Kimmel is adorable as the clumsy, nervous Space Cadet; there's nothing particularly original or hilarious about his shtick as crew cook, crew monster bait, and crew sad sack, but he excels at the puppy dog role so well it's hard not to want to give his character a hug.
However, it becomes noticeable that, as the writer, Kimmel has made his character the hero in lieu of the more experienced actors around him: his character finds the goo (which likes him), faces the monster on his own with a brief comedic monologue, defeats the monster alongside Williams' character, and finds himself praised repeatedly by the lone female character throughout the film, who spends an inordinate amount of time with her arm wrapped protectively around him. His character "gets the girl" -- while the characters played by Leslie Nielsen, Gerrit Graham, and Patrick Macnee get eaten. This only increases the feeling that this movie is a fan-fic for Kimmel, with pals Nielsen, Graham, and Macnee gamely playing along. (I have no idea whether Kimmel is actually pals with any of these actors.) Leslie Nielsen, Gerrit Graham, and Patrick Macnee give their usual talented performances, but their performances are oddly laid back for a comedy movie: it's never quite clear whether they are playing this as a comedy or as a comedic drama. Nielsen's character has more in common with his serious-minded Commander Adams from Forbidden Planet (albeit more snarky) than he does with any of the characters Nielsen has played in recent years. (For example, there is a scene where Nielsen's character is apparently intended to be perversely glancing down Williams' neckline, but the way Nielsen plays it, it looks far more as though he is gazing down with fatherly affection on Williams and Kimmel as the frightened Designated Couple cling to each other.) Graham's character is clearly intended to be a parody Red Neck in Space figure, but he gives the character a certain angry dignity that is at odds with the parodic feel of the movie. Macnee always has fun with whatever role he accepts these days, but he shows his usual talented comedic timing even with jokes that the movie never seems to take anywhere once he's finished with them.
I would rate this movie a '9' for potential that peeps out from every corner of the movie and for the actors all bringing far more to the script than it merits, and a '4' for its failure at utilizing any of that potential, rounding to a '6' because it's just not good enough for a '7'. The only way to enjoy this work is to treat it as a group of amusing and likable set pieces and not a movie at all.
Review by CineMage
from the Internet Movie Database.