Now, I’m not familiar with the Rod Allbright and the Galactic Patrol book series, but did find out that it’s internationally renowned, and the four part series has sold over 17 million books worldwide, so it makes sense that a studio would jump on the film rights and have a go at bringing the books to life – and that’s just what’s been done with Aliens Ate My Homework.
Aliens Ate My Homework is based on the first book, which introduces audiences to Rod Allbright (Jayden Greig), a 12 year-old boy who’s having a rough time ever since his dad up and left in the middle of the night three years earlier. Not only does he have to deal with the school bully, Billy Becker (Ty Consiglio), but now he’s just learned that his smart mouth cousin, Eslpeth (Lauren McNamara) is temporarily moving in with his family while her parents deal with some issues.
It doesn’t take too long, however, for Rod’s life to get even more complicated, when a small ship crash-lands in his bedroom and the aliens on board tell him they need his help to save the world. Apparently this rag tag group of aliens forms the Galactic Patrol, and they’ve come to Earth to stop the evil alien, B’kr, from destroying life as we know it.
Aliens At My Homework is a fairly fast-moving movie at 90-minutes, and fans who read the book will likely be happy to see the characters they’ve read about come to life. While parents should be fine watching this alongside their kids, the jokes and story is targeted almost entirely at the age group of the lead characters in the movie. It’s harmless fun, with some lessons to be had about respecting parents, giving people a chance, and things like that – though they’re mainly in throwaway lines, and not heavy-handed lessons in the least.
But it’s really just a family friendly science fiction movie that younger kids should enjoy. A lot of the setup for things that happen later in the film are easy to catch and predictable to those who understand story beats, but those experiences with such things isn’t who the movie was made for, and kids should find enough to enjoy with the well-paced story, unique alien life forms, and multiple slapstick moments that happen throughout.
I don’t really want to knock the movie too hard for anything. It is what it is, and that’s light entertainment for kids. I mean, if it was bad, I’d say that straight up and not recommend it to anyone, but I was never bored watching it. That might not sound like a ringing endorsement, but it’s a good thing. There are plenty of family movies out there that have stories and jokes that deliver a good time to adults and kids alike…this just isn’t one of those types of movies. It has a younger target demographic, and I believe they’ll enjoy what it has to offer; but that being said, parents should have no problems sitting through it alongside their kids with a smile on their face that isn’t forced.
One small thing – which is likely in the books, but I think likely could’ve been left out – is Elspeth pointing out twice to Rod that he could use a diet. The first time it’s random and a bit of a throwaway line, but later, they’re sort of having a heart to heart, and again she says something along the lines of, “But a diet really couldn’t hurt,” before they’re interrupted by incoming trouble. It just seemed so unnecessary – especially the second time around – to body shame this 12 year-old kid in a movie that’s targeted at younger kids, some of which may be somewhat self-conscious about their weight. It may sound drastic, but those are the little things that just stick in your head at an impressionable age, and I don’t think a light-hearted, fun movie needed to have those lines when absolutely nothing would’ve changed without them.
While I’d have to think there’s a bit more substance to be found in the books, the adaptation of Aliens Ate My Homework leads to an entertaining enough 90-minutes that I think kids will enjoy. The production level and acting is all on par with this type of family movie, and it does leave the door wide open for a sequel. Fans of the book should likely give it a shot, as well as parents who have kids that may be interested in aliens, space or science fiction in general.
The audio and video transfer of the film is well done. The digital effects look quite nice for the budget the movie likely had, and the picture is nice and clean throughout. The sound mix is also well done, with the dialogue coming through nicely, and never being overwhelmed by the score.
The special features to be found on the disc are:
Not Of This Earth: Creating Alien Life Forms – This piece focuses on creating the various aliens that are a part of the Galactic Patrol, their ship, and designs, etc…
Aliens At My Homework: From Page to Screen – This feature focuses on the adaptation of the movie from the best-selling book series.
On the Set with Bruce Coville – The writer of the book series visits the set and takes the viewer with him.
The Galactic Patrol Wants You – A brief feature about the Galactic Patrol.
Universal Pictures Presents Aliens Ate My Homework. Directed by: Sean McNamara. Written by: Garfield Reeves-Stevens Judith Reeves-Stevens. Based on the Novel by: Bruce Coville. Starring: Jayden Greig, Ty Consiglio, Lauren McNamara, Christian Convery, Carmela Nossa Guizzo, Dan Payne, Sean McNamara, Sean uan, Kirsten Robek, William Shatner. Running time: 90 Minutes. Rating: G. Released on DVD: Mar. 6, 2018.
Tags: Aliens Ate My Homework, Bruce Coville