Thursday, June 28, 2012

EXTRATERRESTRIAL (2011)


We’ve all woken up next to a hot Spanish chick after a wild night of, how can I put this tastefully, “drunken what-have-you”. Well, maybe not. But the opening to Extraterrestrial makes this FEEL perfectly plausible, not to mention relatable. The awkwardness. Not knowing the other person’s name. Pretending to be good friends with the other person when visitors show up. We can relate to individual moments even if the big picture eludes us (donde estas las senoritas por favor! Aye papi!). The cable, phones, and internet are even out, making things even more awkward. You can’t even call a cab, and instead have to ask the other person to drive you home. If that wasn’t enough, the streets are completely devoid of people and there’s a giant UFO hovering above. I HATE it when that happens! 

No, wait a second. That NEVER happens. In fact, I wish it DID happen. Besides the scientific revolution that would come out of meeting aliens, it would be totally awesome. I could teach the little grey dude how to high five and maybe how to do the electric slide, and hopefully he’d let me dick around in his spaceship for awhile. I know what you’re thinking; aren’t you afraid of aliens? Frankly, no. I refuse to believe that an advanced race that invented something as technologically awesome as a spaceship would want to spend time shoving a wand up my butt. Let me put this way; do you think Albert Einstein spent his free time trying to jam things up the butts of strangers? Probably not. Maybe, but probably not. Actually, that would be awesome if he actually did, but I doubt it happened. 


The astute reader would’ve paid special attention to my mention of the fact that the streets have been vacated. Surely a UFO hovering above a vacated city portends ominous developments for those stragglers left behind. Maybe everybody’s been zapped and turned into space cola syrup? No, not exactly. Rather, the military ordered everyone to high tail out of the city on account of the saucer thing. You see, the military are simply not as hopeful as I on matters of random butt intrusion, so they prepare for the worst in humanity (or alien, in this case). However, our two good looking leads Julia and Julio (Michelle Jenner and Julian Villagran, respectively) were too busy getting drunk and doing the horizontal shuffle to notice that the entire city is preparing for an alien invasion. Or where they actually boinking? As it turns out, Julia’s boyfriend Carlos (Raul Cimas) shows up, making things even more awkward, but he doesn’t really expect anything unsavory. Even though there is clearly sexual tension between Julia and Julio, this may have been a case where Julia was thinking about cheating but never went through with it. However, don’t tell that to next door neighbor Angel (Carlos Areces, who was “El Supremo” in The Last Circus), who is clearly jealous of Julia and her hot bod, and fully believes that she has cheated on her longtime boyfriend. Angel therefore becomes poised to be a tattle tale. 

While Carlos clearly has his mind on the UFO business, the other three are more interested in their own high school-esque sexual drama. Have you ever heard that one about the guy that learns that a meteor will destroy the earth in two hours, so he uses this as an opportunity to quickly drive over to Hooters and ask one of the crying Hooters girls “hey, we’re all gonna die soon, so why don’t you and I spend our final moments doing the nasty in the back seat of my Toyota Corolla?” Well, maybe you haven’t heard that one, and probably because I just made it up, but the point is that most men are pigs looking to use any opportunity to get laid, even if that opportunity is the destruction of the human race. 


Now, the situation in Extraterrestrial is not that dire. However, these incredible circumstances are ingeniously interwoven into a story of sexual dynamics and human pettiness without the movie ever really being about a presumably benign alien visit. Sometimes a movie will use a genre backdrop even though the movie is really about human relationships and could’ve jettisoned the genre elements and still remained mostly intact. The flip side would be to have a story about how a small group of people directly deal with something extraordinary. However, Extraterrestrial kinda falls somewhere in the middle, where the UFO stuff subtlety but consistently affects this comedy of manners. For example, is cheating still cheating if there is a small chance everyone could be getting vaporized soon? Are you really gonna be keenly worried about whether or not your girlfriend is cheating on you when a UFO is hovering above and their might be a military afoot? If subtly utilizing UFO paranoia could help you get in the sack with a fiery Spaniard, would you be able to resist the temptation to do so? And so on and so forth. 

Perhaps the film is more simply described as a French-style drawing room comedy under the strain of mild UFOria. It also feels like a sci-fi play made cinematic, much like director Nacho Vigalondo’s previous film Timecrimes. However, Extraterrestrial is more concerned with human behavior than typical science fiction problem solving (although the two are more thematically and structurally similar than it would initially seem). If that sounds boring or incongruous, the film manages to flow naturally (and comedically) thanks to Vigalondo’s script and direction and the spot-on performances. Look at it this way; both sex and UFOs can drive people crazy, so why not combine the two? Wait, that sounds like some porno movie. Well, you know what I mean. Pervert. 

P.S. This was my 300th post!  Maybe that doesn't sound like a ton, but as longwinded as I am, that's like 4 books worth of stupidity.  Why someone would want to fill 4 books with stupidity I will never know.

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