While we’ve often been outward facing when questioning life beyond earth, we’ve never really questioned what the aliens would see in us, how they will take our way of life, our ethics, how we impact on the earth? Would they even acclimatise, and make good guests? Based on the 60s sitcom, Disney, once again in 1999 decided to reboot the premise and ask then audiences what would happen if My Favourite Martian came to visit?
When the career of news producer Tim O’Hara is in a downwards direction, He happens upon a crashed ship that could set his career to the stars (no pun intended) yet when he gets to the ship, it shrunk to a miniature size and the pilot has fled. Tim takes the ship home and the pilot follows the alien occupant quickly becomes a house guest. While posing as Tim’s uncle he quickly grows accustomed to the ways of human life. Now Tim must try to balance work, with his love life all while trying to get his new tenants ship repaired to get him back home.
Christopher Lloyd is a solid choice as the Martian, drawing heavily on his credentials as Doc Brown, with exaggerated facial and vocal expressions fills the role well. Playing alongside him is Jeff Daniels, who would still go on to play another newsie in Aaron Sorkin hit The Newsroom plays Tim O’Hara. Both willing to commit to the pratfalls and slapstick skits that make this film shine. Outside the perfectly mismatched odd couple, we are also joined by an anthropomorphic suit that’s named Zoot (get it?) that is voiced by Seinfeld veteran Wayne Knight. As well as the instantly recognisable Wallace Shawn as the evil government scientist, making this film a who’s who of comedy support players. There’s even a cameo from the original Martian, Ray Walston, from the 60s TV series.
It’s unfortunate, that I am not familiar with the original show, as the film makes a strong case for the original elements. The antics of Tim and his “uncle” make for interesting and hilarious exploits, but the cast doesn’t have to rely on physical gags. Like with other Disney films, the C.G.I. elements help the action both pop, and to be entertaining. The usage is very varied too, lasting from some simple antennas on a character’s head to a miniaturised labyrinth of sewer tunnels. Even with relatively simple scenes, like dealing with O’Hara’s third arm is still very entertaining for young and old alike.
My favourite Martian is yet another CGI laden reboot from the late 90s that’s made by Disney, yet each one feels unique. But with strong comic actors and colourful gags, The audience is in for a real comedic treat, mixed with some patented sci-fi silliness. My favourite Martian lives up to its name and its premise by being a house guest you’ll repeatedly want to visit.
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