Despite the cheesy title and the goofy-looking Dvd cover, "It Came From Outer Space" is actually a pretty good 50's alien movie. The movie generates some pretty good suspense and keeps you guessing throughout because this was actually released before one of the most famous alien invasion movies, "The War of the Worlds" which cemented aliens as evil invaders bent on global domination from then on. In this movie though, you don't really know if the aliens are good or bad until the very end. They seem to show some realistic, rational explanations for some of their actions, but for others not so much. Some of these choices might be mistakes on the script and story level or they might be deliberate red herrings. It seems from the ending that the aliens are meant to be seen in one way, but some of their actions are just inexplicable. If they're good for example, why do they keep abducting humans and if they're bad, why don't they replace everyone that learns the truth about them? Although once the movie is over if you think about it, some of the stuff doesn't really make any sense, while it plays out this actually works in the movie's favor, keeping it nice and twisty. You wonder if our main character is doing the right thing, or if he is actually playing right in the aliens' hands and dooming the entire human race.
The main protagonist "Jack Putnam", a man that's actually quite interesting to follow as he tries to uncover everything that's going on with the aliens while no one really belives him and there are some good side characters as well. Kathleen Hughes is pretty memorable in a small but sexy role. Some of the other characters start off interesting but lose their charm as the movie goes on. "Jack's" girlfriend "Ellen" for example, starts off as a pretty smart woman that's not afraid of what other people will think of her but basicaly degenerates into a woman who just screams a lot by the end of the movie. The character dialogue is well written and fun to listen to, thpigh sometimes it feels too well written for the people it was given to. Although you won't mind hearing it, the rather poetic description that a lowly electrician gives about the strange noises he has been hearing is out of place.
The special effects for the film are quite good and the film was shot in 3D, with many shots using the technology well. "It Came from Outer Space" manages to have some depth without resulting to cheesy shots like people playing with yo-yos or anything like that. If you're watching it in 2D you wouldn't even know there was another option available. The space ship effects are very well done and so are the miniatures. One mistake made by the movie is that you actually get to see the aliens, which don't look very convincing and linger on the screen for way too long.
The movie isn't a grand masterpiece, but it's one of the better entries in the 50's alien/monster movie genre. It's got some good memorable moments and it's very entertaining to watch without being perfect. You won't be overly distracted by some of the blunders of the film and you'll actually be impressed with the end results. "It Came From Outer Space" is a fun alien movie that will keep you guessing. (Dvd, April 14, 2013)