The Spanish-language film is a boy-meets-girl story under the threat of an alien invasion. Julio (Julián Villagrán) and Julia (Michelle Jenner) awake in her apartment after a drunken one-night stand neither remembers. Of more concern is that the streets are empty and an alien ship hovers overhead menacingly.
They’re pestered by a nosy neighbor (Carlos Areces, The Last Circus) — the only one left, apparently — and then Julia’s boyfriend (Raúl Cimas) returns home. Despite this, Julio and Julia continue their budding sexual relationship, which creates a mess of jealousy.
And little else. With so few characters that you can count them on one hand, and largely taking place in one setting, Extraterrestrial is like an off-Broadway play. Or maybe an off-off-Broadway work that only friends come and see.
Luckily for Vigalondo, he has lots of friends in the film world after the thriller Timecrimes, which I still see as a work of mind-bending genius. Let me be clear that I was not expecting another Timecrimes here; with the absolute shift of genre, I really didn’t expect anything. I merely hoped for a good time.
Yet I didn’t care for any of the characters. I kept waiting for a plot to show its face, or at least conflict that didn’t stem from who’s genitals were merging with Julia’s. My patience was rewarded with … well, nothing.
The DVD contains four of Vigalondo’s short films, most more satisfying than the feature, if only for brevity. One of them, “Domingo,” could be viewed as a companion to Extraterrestrial, being a single shot of a static UFO while the couple behind the camcorder bickers. Another, “A Lesson in Filmmaking,” also has something in common: not quite pointless, but smacking of pretension. —Rod Lott