Tuesday, June 7, 2011

'UFO: Target Earth' is a misfire

UFO: Target Earth (1974)
Starring: Nick Plakias and Cynthia Cline
Director: Michael A. DeGaetano
Rating: Two of Ten Stars

Alan (Plakias) and his psychic sidekick (Cline) search for evidence that a UFO has crashed in a remote, backcountry lake, and of a possible government cover-up. Viewer boredom ensues.

While the advent of the DVD made many worthy films once again available to the general public, a lot of films that deserve to simply rot away have also been retrieved from the abyss of time. "UFO: Target Earth" is in that last category. Watch it, and all you'll find when the film's over is a deep wish you could reclaim the time wasted.

"UFO: Target Earth" starts out trying to present a documentary feel, but by the time our heroes head into the forest in search of the UFO, the filmmakers have given up on that conceit. Instead, they present a film that sounds like an 11th grader's research paper and a 9th grader's poetry served as its script, with a couple elements badly mimicked from "2001" and 1970s occult culture tossed in. And they present it in the most turgid and mind-numbingly dull fashion. I'm sure the filmmakers thought they were being artsy... but the null-zone of talent surrounding this movie resulted in something that's just dull.

I don't usually say things like "worst movie ever" or "worst actor ever", but I feel fairly confident in saying that Plakias is in the running for the Top Ten Worst Film Actors Ever award. The guy is so wooden that he might as well have been replaced by a department store mannequin in this film. His facial expression never changes, his inflections never move up or down... every line is delivered with the vacant tone of a heavily medicated mental patient.

Plakias is only the worst of a bad bunch. There isn't a good actor anywhere in this film, although those playing interview subjects early in the film come close to giving something resembling good performances. Of course, actors can only be as good as the material they are working with, and the material here is damn awful. The film only manages one bit of true suspense, giving the viewer hope that maybe something entertaining will start occurring--when the psychic starts hearing creepy voices over the walkie-talkie--but it soon becomes apparent that the filmmakers were just teasing us.

Some films need to be seen to be believed, but this is a film that shouldn't be seen by anyone.

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