INVASION PLANET EARTH / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: SIMON COX / SCREENPLAY: SIMON COX, SIMON BOVEY, GIL BRAILEY / STARRING: SIMON HAYCOCK, ROXI DRIVE, JULIE HOULT, SOPHIE ANDERSON, DANNY STEEL, TOYAH WILLCOX / RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 5TH (LIMITED CINEMA), DECEMBER 30TH (DVD)
Run! The bug-like alien spaceships are raining down on Earth zapping anyone and everyone. What in the name of all that is holy is going on? Yes, we assume it is an alien invasion to suppress humanity and turn us into their slaves. It is the kind of thing we have done for centuries to our own Earthly neighbours.
Well, this time the alien invaders have other motives, but before we get to them or the zippy zapping spaceships, this film introduces us to Tom and Mandy Dunn (played by Haycock and Drive). Mandy is a primary school teacher who discovers she is pregnant and Tom is a doctor who works at a care home that is about to be closed down. Times are certainly about to change for them and in many more ways than they expect.
The film slowly builds up to the moment when the aliens bombard our planet with an apocalyptic vision, and it is not long before Tom along with three of his care home residents find themselves abducted to a strange new planet.
The four of them have flashbacks and visions that are like nightmares that mix their own experiences with films. This process seems to resolve their problems and clears their minds. Tom, echoing the adventures of his childhood, saves the group and then humanity from immediate oblivion.
For a low budget film the special effects of the alien craft and battle scenes are well executed, and the wonderful opening mock TV version of The Six Million Dollar Man; the half robot, half man ‘Kaleidoscope Man’ that fires Tom’s imagination sets the agenda for the whole film. The TV features in other scenes,with news bulletins and we get a brief glimpse of a funny kid’s TV programme.
Toyah Willcox makes a cameo appearance as an enigmatic character who might be an angel, and at Mandy’s school she teaches about Noah’s Ark that in the past saved us from being wiped out by devastating floods.
The alien invasion puts the life of Tom into the much wider context of what life means, and can we only appreciate it when it is taken away from us? The death of the Dunn’s daughter, Rebecca, a few years earlier is a very personal loss but their forthcoming new arrival gives them renewed hope, much in the way the death of our planet might pave the way for humanity to start again.
Invasion Planet Earth warns us about our self-destructive power and greed, we have to be saved from ourselves or risk oblivion. It is an entertaining twist on the invasion theme that injects some thought about our home planet and how we have messed it up. A science fiction film for our Extinction Rebellion era.