Mom and Dad Save the World (1992)
Film review #368
Director: Greg Beeman
SYNOPSIS: Dick and Marge Nelson are driving on their way to spend the weekend away for their anniversary. On the way, they are abducted and taken to the distant plant Spengo, where it’s evil emperor Todd intends to marry Marge himself before he destroys Earth with his “Super Death Ray Laser”. Dick must find a way to rescue his wife and save the Earth while also contendng with the local rebels and a bad back, so it probably won’t be easy…
THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Mom and Dad Save the World is a 1992 sci-fi comedy film. The film starts by introducing married couple Dick and Marge Nelson, who are about to drive on their anniversary getaway. However, they end up going a lot further than expected, as their car is abducted and taken to the far away planet of Spengo, where the ruler of the planet, the evil emperor Todd plans to marry Marge himself before blowing up the Earth with his “Super death Ray Laser”. The plot really is this simple, and essentially revolves around Todd trying to marry Marge, and Dick trying to stop him and rescue his wife. From the outset we see the couple are pretty average, with kids and some issues between them, but nothing that majorly stands out: Marge wants to be more adventurous, while Dick is unwilling to go beyond his comfort zone. Meanwhile we see the evil emperor Todd is a bit of an incompetent and non-threatening villain (not least because his name is Todd), and the whole film just has that cheesy, silly tone to it that shows it is not meant to be taken seriously. I suppose it is primarily a comedy film with some sci-fi and adventure elements as this middle-aged couple attempt to overthrow this not-so-evil dictator. The pair make for unlikely heroes, although their characters don’t offer too many surprises, it is unusual to see those types of characters in this type of situation, so it does make for a bit of a unique experience.
Although the film offers little surprise in terms of story or characters, there are some more noteworthy aspects to it. Firstly, there are enough jokes that land to make this film entertaining enough to sit through. There’s some occasions where it can get a genuine laugh, and others where it maintains the humour throughout, such as the “light grenade” scene. Most of the humour is family friendly, but there’s some jokes only an adult will get, so there’s a variety in there that will appeal to a wide range of audiences. Most of the humour however is pretty goofy and slapstick, as the planet Spengo is self described as a “planet of idiots”, and the plainly average Dick is regarded as a genius compared to them. Another positive to the film is the some of the production aspects. The alien costumes, which are anthropomorphic dogs and fish, are quite well done, and are able to convey a range of facial expressions that give them real character. The rest of the special effects are fairly typical of their time, but there’s clearly a decent amount of effort gone into creating the setting and characters. One other interesting note is that the actor for Todd voices Artie in The Simpsons, who on more than one occasion also attempts to steal Marge from her husband, making a very obscure reference.
Overall, Mom and Dad Save the World is a rather average film. It’s premise is silly, and it delivers some silly humour as you would expect. There’s some genuinely funny moments using a range of humour, and the costume designs are pretty good, so while not being the most stand-out film of all time, manages to be entertaining enough to warrant sitting through it.