Movie Quality - 8.5
Packaging Quality - 7
Audio Quality - 7
Video Quality - 3
Summary : Although the movie is definitely an underrated classic, this transfer simply doesn't do it justice.
When I heard that Mill Creek was finally going to release one of the most underrated movies of my childhood on blu-ray, I was absolutely ecstatic. Given the label’s notoriety for cheap (and affordable) releases, I wasn’t expecting much more than a barebones release, but sometimes that’s alright when you get a really good transfer. As I’ve noted in the past, Mill Creek Entertainment has a pretty good record of putting out reference quality high definition content when they do a blu-ray release. From time to time, the results are a bit sketchy, but you can usually trust that your movie is going to look good in HD. Unfortunately, that simply isn’t the case with Spaced Invaders.
I wish I could sugar coat this review, especially given the fact that we’re talking about a movie where a bunch of aliens go trick or treating. However, the reality is that this blu-ray release has a lot of problems. If I were to guess what went wrong here, I’d say that they were given a print produced for the DVD and threw it on a blu-ray disc. It’s either that or the print they got was just in rough shape. Not only are there pops and whistles all over the place (it almost feels like a real theater experience), but the color balance was a bit wonky and there appeared to be edge enhancement. In one early scene, we see a red truck and green tree in the background; in this transfer, the pickup truck is fire engine red and the plant is almost neon green.
The grain structure appears to be left intact for the most part, but it’s hard to tell when you’ve got such a dirty print to work with. If this transfer were a record, it would be the old used copy you find at a garage sale with no jacket, a plethora of visible scratches and a fine layer of dust. I don’t know if I can be more descriptive than that, but let’s just say that this is not the best blu-ray you’re ever going to see. Even so, it is fair to say that certain details are much more noticeable in high definition than they were on the DVD. If you’re a die hard fan of Spaced Invaders, it might still be worth it to pick up this release of the movie.
Then again, you’d have to be a really big fan if you really want to see some of the failings of practical effects that simply weren’t as noticeable before. In one instance during the opening credits, we see the beautiful model work on display as an alien spaceship slowly moves throughout an artificial background of outer space. Unfortunately, if you look closely enough, you can notice where one panel of the background begins and another ends, which takes you out of the movie a bit.
In other cases, models that were perfectly acceptable before are simply goofy now that they are in high definition. Of course, this might actually do a service to the film given its concept, but that’ll be up for the fans to decide. In the end, this Spaced Invaders blu-ray is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, one of the most ridiculous Halloween movies of all time is finally available on an HD format; on the other hand, the transfer is laughably bad at times.
I’ve always loved this movie for a variety of reasons. First of all, although it never really caught on as a holiday movie, it takes place on Halloween night and fits solidly into any Halloween movie marathon. Second, the movie pays homage to Orson Welles‘ telling of War of the Worlds, as a radio DJ plays the record in celebration of the Halloween hijinks that took place so many years earlier, prompting the aliens to actually invade when they think that it’s actually a distress signal (Orson Welles was just that good). Third, it stars Royal Dano in a role that is almost exactly the same as the role he plays in Killer Klowns From Outer Space, which makes Spaced Invaders an excellent companion piece to that film.
While I can’t recommend that you run out and pick up the Spaced Invaders blu-ray over the DVD, I do recommend that you get this movie if you haven’t seen it yet. Heck, even if you haven’t seen it in a long time and you don’t remember if it’s a movie you like, trust me on this one: it’s worth a shot. This movie is very similar to films like E.T. and Flight of the Navigator, in that it features fairly non-threatening alien invaders that are sure to elicit a few laughs. Whether you’re in the market for some good old fashioned Halloween hijinks or you just enjoy a family friendly alien movie now and then, do yourself a favor and check out Spaced Invaders.
I guess if you’re going to own the movie, you might as well own it on blu-ray, even if the transfer isn’t that great. The packaging is pretty much a carbon copy of the DVD set, and that’s definitely acceptable given the price point of this release. Even though it’s not the best blu-ray you’re ever going to buy, it’s definitely worth it just to see this cult classic once again.