• Film reviews

    #538 – The Christmas Martian (1971)

    The Christmas Martian (1971)

    Film review #538

    Director: Bernard Gosselin

    SYNOPSIS: Frank and Cathy are two kids out in the snow looking to bring home a Christmas tree, when they stumble upon a spaceship on the ground. Inside, they meet an alien who is trying to repair his spaceship. They decide to have some fun and make some mischief while the people of the town try to hunt down the alien.

    THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: The Christmas Martian is a 1971 Canadian TV movie. Somewhere in a small Canadian town in the wilderness, siblings Frank and Cathy are playing in the wilderness, and have gone to chop down a tree for the family to use as this year’s Christmas tree. I’m not sure in what reality you send out your children who are no older than ten into the woods to chop down a tree and somehow drag it home, but that’s what’s happening I guess. On their wanderings far from civilisation, the two kids find a spaceship parked on the ground. Upon entering, they find an alien who is trying to repair his spaceship, and since the children have not been taught not to approach strangers apparently (especially ones not from this planet), they decide to have fun with the alien causing mischief, stealing vehicles, and other stuff around the town, while the residents try to capture the alien. The film’s plot is nonsensical and barely a plot: it’s just this alien and the kids having a mild amount of fun with “flying” through the air using a large matchstick or something. The kids then “borrow” their uncle’s snowmobile (without permission) and a snowplough later on, which I’m not sure children should be driving. Actually, most of this film is just kids doing stuff that is illegal or just not safe; again, I particularly find the fact that these kids are sent into the wilderness to chop down a tree and drag it home is just bizarre. The running “joke” is that the kid’s mother wonders where the kids are, and the Father’s only reply is that it’s the school break and they’re probably just enjoying themselves.

    The whole thing feels like a very cheap TV movie (which it is): the props and sets are fine in some respects, but things like the flying through the air looks pretty cheap and daft. The dubbing is also pretty atrocious, and barely matches the mouth movements. The spaceship has some effort put into it’s design, which is more than can be said for the Martian; who is just wearing a raccoon coat with some sort of net over his head. The only reason you might enjoy this film is if you saw it as a young kid and you have some nostalgia attached to it, but even then it would be a very tenuous link. The main problem in this film is that nothing of consequence ever really happens, and the stuff that does is so unimaginative that it’s hardly going to capture children’s imaginations, let alone anyone else’s. At least in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians there was a plot: an absurd one, but one nevertheless. You don’t need to watch this this Christmas.