Quite bizarrely this family friendly affair that debuted on Netflix recently is from Stephen Chiodo, the director of Killer Klowns from Outer Space, an outlandish eighties comedy sci-fi horror which is fairly amusing but also quite crude and not something you’d particularly wish a young child to watch. This really couldn’t be more different however as it’s a sweet natured and cutesy work about an alien who learns all about kindness and love and sickening emotions like that.
It’s a fairly simplistic affair though, originally it was planned as a full length movie but even at forty minutes it’s stretching its plot fairly thin already. Narrated by a slightly annoying Santa Claus (Keythe Farley) who overexplains every single plot point, it tells of a group of shitty aliens who have plundered all the natural resources of their own planet (because this really is a subtle film) and so are flying around the universe nicking everything they can.
When they discover Earth they’re all but orgasmic as there’s so much they can pilfer, and they send poorly named alien X (Dee Bradley Baker) off to the North pole to create a device that will destabilise gravity on earth allowing everything we have to float off in to space and thus be stolen easily. When X initially discovers Santa and his elves he’s overjoyed about the amount of things he can nick, but then he’s spotted by an Elf called Obie (an uncredited Jon Favreau), mistakenly thought to be a doll, and given to his daughter Holly who teaches him all about the joys of Christmas and kindness.
Unfortunately all his alien pals are still cunts though, and “The battle for Christmas Town” begins, and it’s here that Alien Xmas is at its most fun, there’s some very amusing violence and the snow men and elves do a fairly decent job of standing up for themselves, though they are still defeated in the end. Alas that’s not it for the residents of Earth and of course X saves the day, and Santa patronises us yet further as he wraps everything up.
In some ways it feels like something that Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman Animations would knock up, but it lacks their trademark quirkiness, it’s cute, and kids will love it, but there’s not a great deal for adults and that’s the big difference. There’s some really sweet moments and a good few bits of strong slapstick, but yeesh is it unsubtle and then some, and its main themes (giving is better than stealing, father’s shouldn’t work too much, don’t fuck up the planet for god sakes) are hammered home to such an extent that it becomes quite irritating.
Due to that it’s only a three star affair, and if it’s something young kids watch over and over again I can imagine parents might begin to hate it. Which is in many ways a shame as it does a lot of things right, and it does look great, but the script really needed some punching up, more jokes and more daft action based set pieces, and less of the condescending dialogue that plagues way too much of its running time.