Classic of the Week: The Cat from Outer Space (1978)

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The Cat from Outer Space is a 1978 science fiction film directed by Norman Tokar and starring Ken Berry, Sandy Duncan, Harry Morgan, Ronnie Schell, Roddy McDowall and McLean Stevenson. The film was produced by Walt Disney Studios.

The story follows an unidentified flying object that makes a landing on Earth and is taken into protection by The a United States Government. The inhabitant of the UFO is a cat like alien named Zunar-J-5/9 Doric-4-7. Because the Mother Ship cannot send for a helping team, before it leaves the solar system, the cat decides to research how to repair the ship himself. Using a collar that is special and amplifies telekinetic and telepathic powers, he follows the military to the Energy Research Laboratory, where they want to learn how the UFO’s power source works.

This is quite a strange children’s film, very different from other classic live action Disney productions. It is one that young children may find a bit scary. It is not one of Disney’s best science fiction pictures, but it’s not plain awful either. I enjoyed this film a lot when I was a kid and still do, although it is such a silly story, with pretty bad effects.

The acting is not that great, but what do you expect from a film like this? It is still very fun, yet strange at the same time. I remember watching this on TV when Disney Channel did Vault Disney late at night, when I was allowed to stay up late. Is this a Disney movie I could watch over and over without getting tired of it? No, but when I do watch as an adult, I still enjoy it just as much as I did when I was a kid.

This is quite a good film, but not nearly as good as other Disney sci-fi films like Flight of the Navigator and Escape to Witch Mountain. This one is still very entertaining. It is a bit cheesy, but not Mystery Science Theater cheesy, but just enough to intrigue older children and adults. 8+ 3.5/5

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