Plot: What’s it about?
Beldar (Dan Aykroyd) and Prymaat (Jane Curtain) were sent from the planet Remulak, with a mission to pave the way for a full scale invasion. But when their ship crash landed, they were forced to adapt to our realm, at least until a rescue vessel could be sent. After a few missed attempts at a normal life here, the two finally settle down and start a life together, which includes of course, the birth of their first child, Connie (later played by Michelle Burke). Beldar becomes a driving instructor and Prymaat serves as the perfect housewife, all while they simply wait until the joyful day when the rescue vessel is dispatched to retrieve them. But they soon discover that that date is a ways off and as such, have to further adjust their lives to fit in, which means new friends and other new customs. Beldar takes up golfing and becomes a real ace, while Prymaat has a gossip circle of sorts and Connie starts to rebel, as all teenagers do. Although they look unusual and behave in strange ways, this family has managed to blend in to perfection, until INS worker Gorman Seedling (Michael McKean) decides they’re aliens and promises to send them back.
As you should know, Coneheads was based on a series of skits from Saturday Night Live and as you also should know, SNL movies haven’t always done so well in the theaters. This was no exception and while it has picked up a nice audience on home video, Coneheads was not the smash success Lorne Michaels had hoped for. I usually like the SNL based flicks and this one is no different, so I am very pleased to own it on this format, after a lengthy wait. Yes, the jokes are often corny, the acting is usually bad, and all the usual SNL film complaints, but I still think Coneheads is hilarious. Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtain reprise their roles from the television show and do well, considering the outlandish characters they’re dealing with. The supporting cast is very good also, with such names as Chris Farley, David Spade, Michael McKean, Jason Alexander, Adam Sandler, and even Sinbad on deck. If you want brain driven humor, then this isn’t your best choice, but if you want a funny movie with hilarious moments, then Coneheads is a wise choice indeed. As usual, Paramount offers little in terms of value, but I feel the movie alone warrants the cost involved.
I think the show here belongs to Dan Aykroyd, who steps back into the role of Beldar after many moons, but never misses a beat. This is role I think only he could play, since of course he invented the character back on SNL, so I am pleased he was given the chance to reprise the role. Aykroyd gives the role all the outrageous antics it needs and that’s no simple task, especially with a massive prosthetic cone attached to his head. So while I doubt he won many awards for this role, he does a fine turn as Beldar and once again brings his creation to life, with skill and tons of humor. In addition to acting within the film, Aykroyd also helped write Coneheads, which is perhaps why he seems so at home with the material. You can also see Aykroyd in such films as Ghostbusters, Grosse Pointe Blank, The Great Outdoors, Trading Places, and Spies Like Us. The cast here also includes Jane Curtain (Tv’s 3rd Rock From The Sun), Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap, Airheads), Chris Farley (Tommy Boy, Black Sheep), Sinbad (First Kid, Houseguest), Jason Alexander (Tv’s Seinfeld), Adam Sandler (Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore), and David Spade (The Adventures of Joe Dirt).
Video: How does it look?
Coneheads is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I can’t say that I am totally satisfied with this visual presentation, but it is a more than decent treatment. The image is not bad by any means, but it lacks the crispness and sharpness we’ve come to expect from these discs. The main issue is the grain, which is more present than I care for, especially for such a recent movie. I mean, I could deal with this much grain on an older title, but this one is not old in the least. The grain doesn’t knock the color balance much, but it does throw off the contrast a shade. As I said, this is a decent looking effort, but it should have been much better in the end.
Audio: How does it sound?
I am pleased with the included Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which provides an ample audio atmosphere, though not on the same level as more action driven fare. The main surround use comes from the musical soundtrack, but some of the alien devices and such also allow for some depth and that adds to the experience, of course. A few choice scenes also offer some real punch, such as the ones with space vessels and the fireworks sequence, very cool indeed. I had no problems with dialogue either, which came across as rich and clean here, with no volume errors in the least to discuss. This disc also includes 2.0 surround tracks in English and French, as well as English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.