Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Anno zero - Guerra nello spazio/War of the Planets (1977)

People have asked me why I watch bad movies.  Some are entertaining in their own right.  I watch others because they’ve become cultural icons.  (Plan 9 From Outer Space is pretty much only famous for being bad..)  My reason for watching War of the Planets is that I had it laying around.

When my brother cleaned out his storage unit, he left me with a set of movies that seem to be mostly Italian-produced, cheaply made science fiction movies.  I’m going through these to see if any of them have any redeeming qualities.  If there is one, this one isn’t it.  How bad is the movie?  I’d describe it as the most horrendous assemblage of random scriptwriting ever.

I’m not even absolutely certain that I have the correct IMDb page listed below.  May of the user and external reviews seem to be talking about the same movie.  The problem with movies like this is that there are often several different cuts and each cut can have several dubs.  For instance, there seem to be at least two first names for Captain Hamilton.  He’s either Fred or Alex, depending on who you ask.  Also, the title on the DVD is Cosmos: War of the Planets, whereas IMDB simply has it listed as War of the Planets.  (Apparently, Cosmos is used in the English title for boxed sets in Japan.)  This should have told me something going in.

The movie starts with some random stuff, including a guy fixing an ancient satellite alone, which he’s not supposed to do.  There’s a very strict buddy system in place and he’s just violated it.  Anyway, he’s reprimanded.  Rather than being punished, he’s given command of his own ship.  Eventually, that ship is told to go to the source of a strange transmission.  Captain Hamilton, if that is his real name, refuses because he can do that under the new rules.

At some point, the ship winds up at the planet.  I’m not sure if he changed his mind, if he stumbled upon the planet by accident or there was some other motive.  Anyway, the ship almost crashes, right up until it doesn’t.  The crew makes it to the ground safely, but the ship needs repairs if it’s going to fly again.

So, the crew explores the seemingly uninhabited planet.  Several crewmembers find some strange Stonehenge-looking thing and disappear.  In reality, they’re transported to the other side of a mountain where a giant robot attacks them.  Also, there are people on the planet who are supposed to be painted blue.  (In the version I had, they looked dark grey.)

The captain manages to find the robot, or a computer resembling the robot, and is instructed to replace a circuit board, which he does slowly to stall.  It turns out that this is the only repair that the machine needed.  Now, he can make more machines and board the ship to take over Earth.

Captain Hamilton manages to undo this by throwing a rock at a red button.   How does Hamilton know to hit the red button?  His onboard computer said that there would be a machine and its undoing would be a button that would probably be red.  Anyway, the robot blows up, apparently taking the planet with him.  I’m not sure, really.  There were a lot of explosions and stuff.

However, the crew does make it back with one of the planet’s inhabitants.  He doesn’t seem too broken up about the destruction of the planet or the rest of his people, so maybe it wasn’t that bad.  Either way, he looks good in an Earth uniform.  That is, until he gets blown out an airlock.  Why?  Because he’s in the same room as a mutated crewmember who starts attacking people.  No one seems to be broken up about it.  At least Earth is safe.  Or is it?

The only reason I might want someone to watch the movie is so that they might explain it to me.  If you have seen this movie and understand anything about it, please leave a comment.  For instance, there was supposed to be a ship above Antarctica.  Did I miss this?  Was this removed in one of the cuts of the movie?

Also, why did the robot need humans?  I get that the inhabitants of the planet weren’t too bright.  The Evil Robot Overlord may have tried, only to find them not good enough.  However, he could apparently move around.  If he did have a ship over Antarctica, couldn’t he have gotten himself to Earth or another planet?  For that matter, this robot is supposed to be the one that makes all the other robots and machines.  Why not make one to repair the main computer.  That would seem like a good plan.  Make sure that you always have one or two of those around.

If you can tolerate really horrid movies, this one may be for you.  It seems perfect for Mystery Science Theater 3000, although I don’t see it listed under the movie’s connections.  I’d say that there may be a copyright issue, but movies like this one tend to have lapsed or nonexistent copyright.  That’s how they find their way into the movie packs to begin with.  If you’re looking for a movie with a coherent plot and decent acting, I’d say keep moving.  There’s nothing for you to see here.

No comments :