Friday, March 20, 2020

Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965)

There are all manner of horrible movies out there.  Some productions honestly tried.  They did the best with what they had and it wasn’t enough to be considered great.  Then, there are those that are just plain bad.  You wonder if they even tried.  At the bottom of the barrel you have movies like Voyage to a Prehistoric Planet.  It’s obvious that someone was trying to put forth as little effort as possible.  In fact, there’s little original footage.  It was a Russian movie that someone dubbed over.

The prehistoric planet in question is Venus.  The movie starts just as three ships are arriving.  One is destroyed by an asteroid.  The remaining two ships inform the lunar base of what’s happened.  After some discussion, two people go down with a robot.  As soon as they touch down, the team loses contact with the ships in orbit.

You might think this was a good time to turn tail and head back to Earth.  You might be right.  Except that another team is sent down.  This time, it’s three men and a hovercar.  Their mission is to contact the first team, but they don’t seem to be in any rush.

Each team wanders around the planet making various comments about the planet and how it looks nothing like what Venus actually looks like.  The two teams meet up, but the robot has to be sacrificed.  It’s a shame, because he had a really monotonous voice and no personality.

All the while, one of the men claims that he’s hearing some woman’s voice.  No one else hears it, but they do find evidence of an ancient civilization.  One guy even points off into the distance where he sees some lights or something.  Fortunately, they don’t have time to explore.  They make it back to the one working rocket ship and make it back to the expedition ship.

Everything about this is bad, from the video quality to the dialogue.  I honestly wonder how closely they stayed to the original material.  There are a few scenes where a human has to talk to the robot.  Each time, the human leads with 10-15 seconds of telling the robot that it’s absolutely necessary to listen closely.  You must listen closely.  This is very important.  I suspect that this was filler used in place of actually writing anything.

When you take into account certain factual errors, it would seem that no one really cared.  The astronauts seem to walk around normally on the ship, yet one comments that’s it’s nice to have weight again once on Venus.  It’s possible that the original Russian film had artificial gravity.  It’s more likely no one bothered to actually think about it.

I’ve commented how some movies are made for a free day at school.  This is great for a free day if you don’t like your students.  There’s no cursing or fighting.  The only violence is a robot melting and a ship blowing up.  It will leave your students wondering what they just watched.

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