Coneheads

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Upon discovering an Unidentified Flying Object over American airspace, the National Guard sends out planes to warn it off and end up firing upon it when they don’t comply. Activating their cloaking device and crashing into the ocean the occupants, Beldar Clorhone and his life mate Prymaat try to adapt to the humans’ way of life despite standing out with their conical shaped skulls. Beldar gets work as an appliance repairman, and when his grateful boss Otto discovers that Beldar is an illegal alien, he arranges to have an identity created for him, which sends up red flags for the (INS). Meanwhile, after communicating with their world and discovering that a rescue vessel will not be there for several years (seven “Zurls”), Prymaat informs Beldar that she is pregnant and they need to adapt as humans to raise her safely. An ambitious INS agent named Gorman Seedling and his assistant Eli attempt to capture Beldar and Prymaat, but they elude him.

Months later, Beldar has become a respected taxi driver, and the couple live in his boss’s basement. After the birth of their child, Connie, they move to a suburban neighborhood in Paramus, New Jersey, adopting the surname Conehead as Beldar makes a career as a driving instructor. Meanwhile, Seedling gets an offer for a promotion and decides to leave the Coneheads to the next agent to take his place, however his promotion is hindered by this case and he is forced to continue it due to the expense of tracking them.

Now a teenager, all Connie wants to do is fit in with her peers, much to the objection of her father, especially when she becomes involved with a mechanic named Ronnie. Beldar is preoccupied with winning a golfing trophy at a country club where he is a member and Prymaat becomes concerned about her appearance. Eli and Seedling pose as Jehovah’s Witnesses to gain entry to the Conehead home, but they are ejected quickly when Beldar receives word from Remulak that a rescue vessel is on its way.

At a costume party that night, Connie is told they are to be rescued and she disobeys her parents by returning home with Ronnie to consummate their relationship as a goodbye, before they are caught and the INS shows up to arrest them. As Seedling is about to capture the Coneheads their vessel arrives, and he along with Eli are taken with them into space and sent back to Remulak together. While there, their leader, Highmaster Mintot accuses Beldar of treason and sentences him to fight a ferocious beast called the Garthok. Beldar manages to use his golfing skills to save himself and kill it, and is granted a request. Beldar requests to return to Earth to oversee its conquest, which Mintot agrees. Eli is left behind and becomes Mintot’s flunky. Beldar leaves with Prymaat, Connie and Seedling in tow but realizes that Connie’s feelings are more important than planetary conquest and quickly fakes a counterattack, forcing the rest of the ships to turn back as Beldar self-destructs the ship, making it look like they were destroyed. In appreciation for sparing his life, Seedling agrees to give the Coneheads a Green Card in exchange that he prove he has a talent no other American citizen possesses, which Beldar happily agrees to.

Some time later, Ronnie arrives to take Connie to the prom and after a few words of advice (55 words to be precise), Beldar uses a massive flash bulb from his home-built Polaroid camera to document the event. As Connie and a now-sunburnt Ronnie depart for their night, Beldar and Prymaat look at the picture they took and say “Memories, we will enjoy them.” before the screen fades to black.

REVIEW:

Either in the late 70s or early 80s, there was a sketch on Saturday Night Live that took the world by storm. Well, who are we kidding, just about everything they did back then was amazing, especially compared to what they try to pass off as comedy on there today. With the immense popularity of that sketch, as well as the success of Wayne’s World, it was decided to Coneheads needed to be brought to the big screen. The big question though is, how will audiences react to these strange beings from another world?

What is this about?

With enormous cone-shaped heads, robotlike walks and an appetite for toilet paper, aliens Beldar and Prymatt don’t exactly blend in with the population of Paramus, N.J. But for some reason, everyone believes them when they say they’re from France.

What did I like?

Just another family. With giant cones for heads, it would be so easy for the filmmakers to make a joke out of how everyone notices that they aren’t “normal”. However, the joke really is how that no one seems to notice, even the teenage girls (who you know notice everything that they don’t like…HA!) didn’t seem phased. Whenever alien races move to Earth, it seems to be that they are ostracized, rather than embraced. Even the aliens in Alien Nation, who look human save for some spots on their heads, had some problems. I’m glad the Coneheads skipped over this issue. It would have killed the momentum of the film with everytime someone would have noticed.

Gags. Being an alien species from another world stranded here brings about all sorts of difference in culture and what things are. One running gag that always has me cracking up is how to the Coneheads, a condom is gum. I wonder what gum on their planet of Remulak is to humans. Gags like that are the driving force behind the comedy of this picture. Truthfully, there aren’t many funny lines spoken. A few physical gags, but those are alien-related. The bread and butter are the small gags that will crack you up with how ludicrous they are.

Meet the young one. When the Coneheads originally appeared on SNL, it was during the late 70s/early 80s. This film was released in 1993. On the show, the daughter was played by Larraine Newman. While she was able to get away with playing a teenager on the show, that would not do for the big screen, so she was replaced with Michelle Burke. As a way to keep her as a Conehead, she does make a cameo appearance, ironically talking to her Burke, in the arena. It was a nice touch and showed respect to all the time she put in cultivating that character.

What didn’t I like?

Rancor…um…Garthok. The Coneheads return to their home world of Remulak and once it is found out the Beldar (Dan Aykroyd) had his teeth fixed to fit in down here on Earth, the high exalted one (or whatever his title is) accused him of treason and threw him into the pit. In this pit is a monster of great size and strength known as the Garthok. Looking at it, and assessing the situation, one can only think of the Rancor from Return of the Jedi. Why, oh why, must every film rip off the holy trilogy?!?

Too normal? Earlier I mentioned how no one really brought up the appearance of the Coneheads. However, there was this one random guy why said something and it got me to thinking. With the normal way these people have lived their lives down here on Earth, surely someone has had to have said something to them or reported something. I guess that was the reason the INS plot was shoved in here, because that didn’t really work on any level, except to make them look totally inept and incompetent.

Me want Jane. I’m not sure what the reason for this was, but Jane Curtain’s Prymaat had little to nothing to do in this film. It was almost as if Curtain had other projects going on at the same time and could only be around for a day or two, so they filmed all of her scenes real quick. Nothing against Dan Aykroyd. I love the guy, especially in comedic roles that suit him, but one of the reasons the Coneheads sketch worked so well was the family aspect. As this film portrays them, it is Beldar and his daughter. Occasionally they’ll wheel out Curtain. That just isn’t right. Can we get more Jane, please?!?

Most films from the 90s haven’t withstood the test of time very well, just go look at Twins! Coneheads has avoided that curse and, with current events being what they are, actually still is relevant. Who would have thought that a film that wasn’t thought to be a big hit would be worthy of such high praise. I think the best part of this film is not the sci-fi elements, nor the comedy, but rather the everyday lives of these people who have cone-shaped skulls living down here on a planet of “blunt skulls”, as they call us. The filmmaker’s decision to show us that part of their lives, rather than having them be a side-show attraction is really appealing and a different take on aliens than what we are normally accustomed to. Do I recommend this film? Yes, very highly! If for nothing else, then you can see that there was a time when Saturday Night Live actually produced worthwhile sketches that went on to bigger things.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: