My Favorite Martian (1999)

My-Favorite-Martian

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Brings back memories.

This film was selected from ‘The 250’

Am I the only person that misses the comedic stylings of Mr. Jeff Daniels? I’m not talking about Dumb & Dumber, even if that is his most memorable comedic role. No, he was in a few other films that people remember – and his sense of humor is really great. He used to be a really funny and charming guy in his roles, but now that The Newsroom began, it’s been nonstop drama for Daniels. However, I must say that I am very much looking forward to Dumb & Dumber To…but because that is several months away yet, I decided to watch a movie you all probably have heard of, and even seen, just forgot Jeff Daniels was the other main lead. That movie, of course, is the film adaptation of My Favorite Martian, which began as a TV sitcom in the ‘60s. I can’t tell you anything about the TV show, but this film still gives me fond memories of a good childhood.

It’s about a TV reporter named Tim O’Hara who is struggling with climbing in his career because of a stubborn boss and awkward persona. The opportunity for the perfect story hits him as a UFO crash lands right in front of him. Out of the spaceship strides a quirky and curious Martian by the name of Uncle Martin. At first, all O’Hara wants to do is to lock in that perfect story to further his career, but then he starts to like the strange visitor – helping him locate a part to his ship so he can return home and ultimately escape the clutches of those pesky evil scientists that are out to probe his Uranus.

Well, this movie brings me way back. Before watching it, I was worried…after the fiasco of travelling down the memory lane that was Flubber. We’re talking about a ‘90s live-action Disney film that brought us laughter as kids that just isn’t as effective anymore…so I was worried about the same thing here, especially considering the scores that it has gathered from critics. However, I can say that it was still pleasantly effective in the humor department – as well as being a great go-to film for the whole family. My greatest fear has been realized though – My Favorite Martian has been cast into the Island of Misfit Films.

Yes, even though plenty remember this movie – they more or less recall it as “that one movie they saw once.” After another viewing, however, I can’t help but wonder what made it so mediocre to so many people in the first place. No, it’s not the best movie in the world, but it is far from the worst. All I can really come up with is that it’s an adaptation of an old TV show – a show that the kids of the ‘90s wouldn’t even know or care about anyways – and the parents that do were probably too hell-bent on the ways of the original TV show that they probably hated any liberties taken in the film. It’s really all unfortunate, because the movie isn’t half bad.

Believe it or not, I was pleasantly surprised at the use of special effects here. Not everything looked perfectly real, but you wouldn’t believe how shocked I was with some of these scenes. Both with CGI-heavy shots and practical effects. They may not have had the biggest budget in the world, but they definitely made use with what they had. I still have trouble fathoming how they did the scene with the limbs…that’s still a very fun and cool-looking scene.

If I had one complaint, it would be that the acting wasn’t the best. It was far from the worst, but come on, it’s a comedy! That being said, I actually found myself laughing at a lot of the moments, and if I wasn’t laughing, I was at least smiling and enjoying myself. I think there were plenty of spots where it could have gone horribly, horribly wrong, but it gathers its strength by the comedic performances of Jeff Daniels and Christopher Lloyd.

The Good:

My Favorite Martian is what I consider to be a pretty underrated film. No, kids from the ‘90s didn’t care for a ‘60s TV show; and no, kids from the ‘60s may not care for the changes made in the ‘90s version. But if that’s your only reason for disliking the movie, then you need to re-evaluate your reasonings and stop being such a dork and watch the movie as if there was never a ‘60s TV show.

The Bad:

The very fact that people have forgotten this movie is kind of depressing, because it still has a decent level of nostalgia and humor. However, I wasn’t entirely sure what the message was supposed to be, and for a kids movie, that’s rare. I think it had something to do with keeping your eyes open in general, and being aware of others’ needs…or something. I don’t know, it was more of just a fun movie than anything else.

The Random:

Even though I never watched the original show, nor cared much about it, The connection they had with it – I have to say – was genius.

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