Sci-fi in a film set in Ireland... it just doesn't sound right. But as he showed with 'The Boy from Mercury' and 'The Testimony of Taliesin Jones', director Martin Duffy is a director with a flair for the unusual and this time brings aliens to the West in 1967.
Returning to his hometown from boarding school for the holidays, teenager and aspiring hippy Dan (Sheehan) wonders how he's going to survive three months in a place full of "big mouths and small minds". With his relationship with his father (Cranitch) strained since the death of their mother the year before, no telly and only one pal (Colley) to pass the time with, boarding school looks the better option. But the endless slog livens up one night when Dan catches a beautiful girl (Kernan) trying to steal metal from his father's yard, and what she tells him guarantees he'll never forget this summer. If the locals think Dan's from Mars, he's got nothing on their new arrivals...
This is one of those unusual light comedies: it's a kids' film that will appeal more to adults. Reason being that its depiction of 1960s Ireland will be so, well, alien to any teenager that they could be watching newsreel footage. That said, while hairstyles change, growing pains are growing pains in any era and 'Summer of the Flying Saucer' is not without its charms.
Duffy has put together a cast with plenty of well-known faces and some newcomers too - all very good - and the era is recreated excellently. You're not going to see any rogue pair of headphones or too-modern runners here, and plenty of times a prop will kickstart something in your memory. But for a film that can draw inspiration from 'Glenroe' and 'Cocoon' at the same time, 'Summer of the Flying Saucer' could have been a lot funnier. There were more madcap antics to be pulled from the story and at times it feels that what's on the screen would've been better suited to the small one than the big.
In a summer of blockbusters it's hard to figure out where this fits in, but if you do go along, do so in the knowledge that you'd sit through it on TV again in the future - which is more than you can say about a lot of films with a lot more zeroes.