Set in the near future, Lance Polland’s Another Plan From Outer Space sees five astronauts crash-land on Earth after a deep-space trip to Mars. Lost in the desert with no signs of rescue, things take a dark turn when mistrust and paranoia begins to take hold within the group.
A riff on the sci-fi films of the 1950s and 1960s, Another Plan From Outer Space may wear the kitsch aesthetics on its sleeve, but everything about this black and white effort is played straight. There’s a touch of the original Planet Of The Apes and Peter Hyams’ Capricorn One about this story of the astronauts making their way through a deserted wasteland in search of hope and rescue. The film runs slow as our characters plod across the rocky terrain and a running time approaching 100 minutes (including credits and post credits sting) means that Another Plan From Outer Space could do with a bit of additional trimming to tighten the pace.
As a director, Lance Polland knows the genre that he’s riffing-on and shooting the film in black and white was a wise choice and cinematographer Vito Trabucco adds some visual panache, which transcends the film’s (obviously) tight budget. Serious kudos must go to composer Alessio Fidelbo for a wonderful score, with additional points added for using the theremin to give the piece added aural authenticity.
On a performance level, Another Plan From Outer Space isn’t bad. For a film supposedly shot in only eight days, nobody is stand-out terrible but there’s the occasional line fluff and a few additional takes wouldn’t have gone amiss, but this imperfection adds to the ‘Ed Wood’ charm of the whole endeavour. Speaking of Ed Wood, the film’s title may conjure-up memories of his most famous flick, but Another Plan From Outer Space lacks any mention of little green men or grave robbers from Mars.
A quirky sci-fi film with enough ideas to keep you intrigued, Another Plan From Outer Space is a fun slice of B-movie fun. It’s no masterpiece, but it’s far from a disaster and if you go along with it then there’s fun to be had. The film gets-off to a great start with a wonderful opening credit sequence (echoes of Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks!) and it ends with a twist ending that leaves the door open for a sequel – which is effectively a continuation of the film’s narrative.