Thursday, July 5, 2012


Well, I'm glad I finally got that out of my system. I watched WAR OF THE PLANETS, the other night. I recorded it off of Turner Classic Movies. Saves me the trouble of hunting down a DVD of this turkey.

If I had seen this Italian science-fiction movie when it first came out in 1966, I might have enjoyed it. It probably would have screened (heck, maybe it did) at the old Austin Theatre on South Congress. That seemed to be the place for films of this kind back then. At the age of ten, my critical faculties weren't very well developed and I can imagine liking this one. Or, if I had encountered it on late night television while in high school or college, I probably would have gotten a kick out of it. However, watching the film as an adult served only to expose how truly awful a film it is.

On a New Year's Eve of some undisclosed year in the future, several Earth space stations are simultaneously attacked by aliens who manifest themselves as either green lights or a green mist (there goes half of the $1.98 special effects budget). The aliens take mental control of some of the space station personnel and force them to do their bidding as part of a "hive mind." The other spacemen (and women), journey to Mars (depicted here as looking like a piece of red atomic fireball candy) where they do battle with their mind-controlled fellow humans. An armada composed of four (count 'em, four) spaceships arrive to bomb the planet and the surviving space crew uses the force of the destructive blasts to propel their rocket off of the surface just in time to avoid total annihilation.

If that makes sense, then I've done a better job than the guys who wrote the script. Badly dubbed, woodenly acted and lethargically paced, WAR OF THE PLANETS is only for those die hard '60s science fiction film fans who want to see everything produced during that era regardless of the quality of said features. Several of the leading actors resemble each other (making it difficult to tell them apart and to figure out just what is going on), the miniatures and models are cheap and unconvincing (albeit colorful!) and the "tech" speak is pure gibberish.

Cross against the light to avoid this one.

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