Film Review: The Cat From Outer Space (1978)

Release Date: June 9th, 1978
Directed by: Norman Tokar
Written by: Ted Key
Music by: Lalo Schifrin
Cast: Ken Berry, Sandy Duncan, Harry Morgan, Ronnie Schell, Roddy McDowall, McLean Stevenson, Sorrell Booke

Walt Disney Productions, 104 Minutes

Review:

“Frank, on my planet we have an expression. You rub my fur, I’ll rub yours.” – Jake

I wasn’t a big fan of this movie when I was a kid but I would watch it when it was on. I think I actually like it more now, as I found it kind of charming and otherworldly.

Honestly, I’m surprised that Disney hasn’t tried to remake this, as they have with dozens of their other older movies. I think that this would work well with a modernized version, even if I think studios should focus on original ideas, as opposed to rebooting and re-imagining everything under the sun. But let’s be honest, the creativity well in Hollywood dried up a long time ago.

Anyway, I mostly only know the actors in this film from the sitcoms they were on. Ken Berry was on Mama’s Family, Sandy Duncan was on The Hogan Family and Harry Morgan was on M*A*S*H. But you’ve also got Roddy McDowall, who I loved in the Planet of the Apes and Fright Night films, not to mention his one-off role as The Bookworm, a villain in the ’60s Batman television show.

That being said, I like the cast in this a lot and they bring a sort of whimsical energy to the proceedings.

While I don’t think that the chemistry between Ken Berry and Sandy Duncan was that great or natural, it didn’t break the movie and this wasn’t so much about their potential romance, as it was about having a story about an intelligent space cat trying to get back to his mothership. The cat can also talk to people via an advanced psychic power it has. It also wears a fancy light-flashing collar that has different types of magical powers that we have to mindlessly accept because this is a goofy kids movie.

Sadly, I don’t think that this will play well for modern audiences, especially kids. It feels pretty damn dated and even though it has genuinely hilarious moments, it employs the sort of smart humor that kids (and most adults) today won’t pick up on.

Rating: 6.25/10
Pairs well with: other Disney live-action films of the ’60s and ’70s.

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