Alien from L.A.

Watch Alien from L.A.

"The people at the center of the earth are about to get a visitor."
  • PG
  • 1987
  • 1 hr 27 min
  • 3.2  (4,347)

"Alien from L.A." is a 1988 science fiction adventure film that takes viewers on a whirlwind quest beneath the Earth's surface, blending elements of fantasy, romance, and intrigue with a bubbly dose of 80s cheer. Directed by Albert Pyun, the movie stars Kathy Ireland as the protagonist Wanda Saknussemm, alongside William R. Moses and Richard Haines. This quirky film, often remembered for its campy charm and distinct aesthetic, offers a reinterpretation of the classic journey to a hidden world.

The protagonist, Wanda Saknussemm, is depicted as an awkward and somewhat clumsy young woman with a distinctly high-pitched voice that has often made her the target of mild derision. The character resonates with audiences through her relatability and the transformation she undergoes throughout the film's narrative. Kathy Ireland breathes life into Wanda, showcasing a performance that ranges from comic to earnest, as she stumbles through a journey of self-discovery and courage.

The adventure begins in sunny California, where Wanda’s mundane life is upended following the sudden news that her archaeologist father has disappeared during an expedition. Known to be something of an eccentric, her father was hot on the trail of uncovering the mysteries of a lost civilization, which has long been thought to exist deep beneath the Earth's crust. In spite of their strained relationship, Wanda’s love for her father propels her to launch into her own expedition to find him.

Upon learning that her father had been searching for the lost city of Atlantis, Wanda embarks on a journey that will test her in ways she could have never anticipated. Her path takes a literal plunge when she accidentally falls into a deep fissure that leads into an underground world far beyond anyone's wildest imaginings. It's a clever twist on Journey to the Center of the Earth folklore, with a contemporary spin that features whimsical technology and bizarre fashion.

The subterranean world Wanda stumbles upon is an astonishing realm called Atlantium, a land filled with peculiar inhabitants, bizarre landscapes, and strange social customs that she finds both fascinating and intimidating. This civilization has evolved independently from the surface world, with its own advanced technology and a culture that appears to be a mosaic of various Earth histories, tinged with Pyun’s neon-soaked vision of the 80s.

As Wanda explores Atlantium, she encounters an array of eccentric and colorful characters that add to the outlandish charm of the film. Her most significant ally is Gus Manners, played by William R. Moses, a resident of this underground society who finds himself drawn to Wanda’s naivete and resilience. Gus becomes Wanda's guide through the customs and dangers of Atlantium, helping her navigate the political intrigues and social hierarchies that underpin this unique society.

Richard Haines delivers a notable performance as Professor Arnold Saknussemm, Wanda's missing father, whose trail she follows through a series of clues and misadventures. His character serves as a catalyst for Wanda’s journey, though his presence is felt more through his influence on her and the overarching plot than substantial screen time.

Wanda’s evolution is at the heart of the film, transitioning from a meek and ungainly girl to a more confident and self-reliant woman as she faces the challenges of Atlantium. The film unfolds as both a transformative coming-of-age story and a fantastical escapade, with the core message revolving around self-belief and the search for one’s inner strength.

However, Wanda's search for her father is impeded by the political machinations of Atlantium’s rulers and the shadowy figures who have their own vested interest in the secrets Saknussemm was chasing. They view Wanda as an outsider and a threat, setting up a series of obstacles that our protagonist must cleverly maneuver around. In doing so, her character not only begins to piece together the puzzle of her father's disappearance but also uncovers the deeper truths and potential dangers surrounding Atlantium's existence and its connection to the Earth's surface.

Visually, "Alien from L.A." encapsulates the quirky aesthetic of its era with its distinctive use of light and color to create an otherworldly ambiance in Atlantium. The film's special effects, though dated by today's standards, add a layer of charm that nostalgically brings viewers back to a time when practical effects ruled the day.

"Alien from L.A." was met with mixed reviews upon its release, and while it may not have achieved blockbuster status, the film has enjoyed a cult following, endearing itself to audiences who appreciate its fanciful narrative, the distinctiveness of its leading lady, and the unabashed blend of end-of-the-century futurism with traditional adventure tropes. It stands as a charming time capsule of 80s cinema, infused with an adventurous spirit that encourages viewers to embrace the strange and step out of their comfort zones into worlds unknown.

Alien from L.A. is a 1987 kids & family movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 27 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 3.2.

Alien from L.A.
Where to Watch Alien from L.A.
Alien from L.A. is available to watch, stream, download and on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels and The Roku Channel. Some platforms allow you to rent Alien from L.A. for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 27 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    3.2  (4,347)