Ah, another in a long line of mediocre (and sometimes, simply awful) movies based upon Saturday Night Live skits. In the same week that Paramount is releasing the latest effort ("Ladies Man"), they also bring to DVD this 1993 vehicle, starring Dan Ackroyd and Jane Curtin as two large-domed aliens new to Earth. Beldar (Dan Aykroyd) and Prymaat (Jane Curtin) set themselves up as illegal aliens, and soon, it looks like there's a baby on the way.
Although everything seems like it's going okay as the years go by, an INS agent named Gorman Seedling (Michael McKean) starts suspecting something's up and seeks out the two Coneheads, with the aid of his assistant(played fairly well by David Spade). Meanwhile, daughter Connie(Michelle Burke) and local boy Ronnie(Chris Farley) fall in love, much to the predictable anger of father Beldar. As with the rest of the "Saturday Night Live" sketches turned to films, a 5-10 minute sketch tends to break apart when pulled to a 90 minute feature. This is especially apparent here, where, as the "Coneheads" were skits were only moderately amusing, there's just not enough involved to do a great deal with.
This leads to the usual techniques of a "SNL" film, which involves pulling together a virtual parade of cameos (Adam Sandler, Drew Carrey, John Lovitz, etc) for one-minute, slight jolts of amusement before getting back to, well, nowhere in particular. The biggest joke in the skit and in the movie is that the two main characters talk funny and look funny - and bits like that hardly carry a feature. Writers Bonnie Turner and Terry Turner have managed to be more successful with their sitcom "3rd Rock From The Sun"(which also stars Curtin), but even that seems to have run out of steam as this will be the last season for that show.
VIDEO: This is a fine 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer from Paramount - although "Coneheads" isn't visually remarkable, the studio gives the material an enjoyable and quite satisfactory presentation. Sharpness and detail are generally very good, although the film is not without a few scenes where softness creeps in slightly.
Flaws are kept to a minimum - there's a tiny bit of grain in a scene or two and a couple of very slight print flaws, but pixelation and edge enhancement are nowhere to be found. Colors are pretty natural - there's the occasional bright color that stands out, but the moderately budgeted film remains realistic looking as the Coneheads visit various suburban Earth hangouts. Not much to talk about, but also really nothing to complain about, either.
SOUND: This is a suprisingly decent Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation. Although it's not anything close to "Independence Day", there are some rather creative instances of surround use and very respectable sound quality. Much of the film is what you would expect from a comedy, as dialogue-driven scenes dominate a great deal of the film. Yet, the more intense sequences do distribute sound effects nicely around the room, as the surrounds fire up more often than I would have expected - see the massive fireworks display in chapter 9, for an example. Better than the average comedy audio presentation - definitely a suprise in the audio department.
MENUS:: Menus are non-animated, with very basic film-themed images serving as backgrounds.
EXTRAS: The trailer.
Final Thoughts: I've never been a fan of "Coneheads", but Paramount has done a very good job with the audio and unexpectedly strong audio quality. If you're a fan of the film, it's a DVD worth picking up. Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend it.
The Film * 1/2
Video 89/B+ = (356/400 possible points)
Audio: 89/B+ = (356/400 possible points)
Extras: 69/D+ = (207/300 possible points)
Menus: 70/C- = (140/200 possible points)
Value: 80/B- = (240/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: * 1/2
DVD GRADE: B