Netflix is rolling out a new adaptation of the hit children’s book series by Rod Allbright called Aliens Ate My Homework. With 17 million books published in the series, this is something of a smart play for Netlfix with a licensed property. Could they turn it into a franchise?
Our epic tale (this is a lie) begins when a minatruized space ship filled with Oscar caliber costume designed (this is a lie) aliens crash into the bed room of middle schooler Rod Albright. Because they can help save the stranded aliens in their bedroom, Rod and and his cousin Elspeth, who really shines in the film (this is a lie) get to join the
Guardians of the Galaxy…err… Green Lantern Corp…err… Legion of Superheroes…err… Starfleet…err… Robotech Defense Force…err… Galactic Patrol, a intergalatic group of space cops. In a brilliantly original plot twist (this is a lie), the school bully who picks on the lead character is also in league with the evil aliens. With that set up, the film unfolds brilliantly (this is a lie). The best part (this is a lie) is when the alien hijinks effect Rod’s school work and he has to tell his teacher that…wait for this… ALIENS ATE MY HOMEWORK!
Man… This doesn’t play like a bad theatrical film. This doesn’t play like a bad direct to DVD film. This doesn’t play like a bad regular cable film. Aliens Ate My Homework plays like a bad Disney Channel movie. Sean McNamara cut his teeth at the network directing shows such as Jonas, Kicking It, and Jessie, so he was the right man for the job, I guess?
McNamara does have one decent size feature film to his credit, Soul Surfer, which garnered a middling 46% Rotten Tomato score (kind of good compared to the rest of his filmography) directing Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt to nearly $50M box office gross.
Of course, the RT Critics Consensus said, “There’s an amazing true story at the heart of Soul Surfer — and unfortunately, it’s drowned by waves of Hollywood cheese.” McNamara bright the gouda there and he brought it here. But there were no talents like Quaid and Hunt to save any scenes.
Particular scorn goes to the most famous member of the cast, William Shatner (TJ Hooker), who provides the horrendous voice work for Phil the Plant. His character’s visual appearnce looks like Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors. I mean, like the costume they would use at a poor, rural elementary school performance of Little Shop of Horrors. It is practically paper mache.
Clearly the whole budget was spent to get Captain Kirk to vamp a bit into a mic, where he delivers the line reading of his horrendous dialogue with all the gusto of Krusty the Clown doing voicework for the new “Hey, Hey Talking Krusty” doll.
With Aliens Ate My Homework, Netflix shows they are not only trying to deliver content that competes with the Diary of the Wimpy kid like big screen films, but that they also want their films to compete with Nick and Disney. It will be hard to distinguish which one you are getting and that should scare people off from trying their kiddie fare that attempts to bring in a lot of eyeballs like the heavily marketed new release, Benji.
Overall, I give ALIENS ATE MY HOMEWORK 3.5″Lilliput of the Stars” out of 10.
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