Jun 8, 2016

Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet

Some movies are so bad they’re good, and some movies are just ... bad. My husband and I enjoy watching them both and I thought it would be fun to share the best of the worst. So without further ado, here’s my bad movie review of the week. I leave it up to you to decide whether the movie is bad, or just the review. ;-)

This week’s movie started with a debate between the hubby and I regarding what kind of bad movies I should be reviewing. This was brought on by my suggestion we watch Robot Shark on Saturday. Hubby claimed it was too “new” of a movie - it didn’t count unless it was an older movie with cheesy effects. The debate continues ...

Made 1965, this movie was a Soviet film originally called Planeta Bur. The part with Basil Rathbone as the lead scientist on the moon base was tacked on to the American version. The year is 2020. There’s already a colony on the moon and now mankind is preparing to colonize Venus. To that end, three ships are launched from Lunar Station 7 - the Vega, the Sirius, and the Capella.

The action kind of flits around from ship to ship to station in the beginning, so it’s a little hard to figure out what’s going on at first. And despite the fact we have this movie on DVD, it was pretty poor quality. We had to keep jacking up the volume. Anyway, the three ships almost make it to Venus when a meteorite crashes into the Capella, destroying it. Isn’t that always the way? So the two crewmen from the Vega, the lead ship, and a cool looking robot named John, go down to Venus, leaving token woman Marsha (who’s sporting a space beehive hairdo) behind to man the fort.

Venus is pretty much covered in clouds so they can’t really see what’s down there. Nobody likes the look of those pesky clouds so they turn control of the landing ship over to robot John. And then they promptly lose contact with Marsha so everyone naturally assumes they crashed. Marsha’s pretty upset and thinks it’s her fault for encouraging them to go down there. But there’s no time for this petty emotionalism, the Sirius is ready to make their attempt. The Sirius keeps trying to make contact with the first group when they land, but they don’t have much luck either.

They shine flashlights out the windows to see what’s out there: fog out one window, strange rock formations out the other. The commander suggests they turn on the “outside sound pickup” and hear a bunch of strange sounds. They check the oxygen level out there - 4.7, whatever that means - and put on their space suits. Up to this point they were dressed in street clothes. There’s no airlock, they just step out of the ship to have a look around.

One of them is carrying a poking stick. He has a rope tied around him, tethering him to the ship, which is a good thing because the next thing you know this plant with tentacles grabs him and starts to drag him away. The others have quite the struggle to get him free, but when one of them tries to take a picture of the plant it closes right up. Maybe they should have tried that first. They figure out where the smaller ship must have landed, so they decide to go there taking an overland route.

Meanwhile, we see that the other crew is okay, but I guess their ship isn’t because they’re on foot and they’re having to put the robot back together. They’re attacked by little man-sized Godzillas who kind of bounce around (they’re actually kind of cute). After driving off the Godzillas they finish putting John’s head back on and then start off to meet up with the other crew (one assumes).

Back to the crew of the Sirius. Their car looks like a cross between an AMC Pacer and the car the Jetson’s drove only it’s kind of a hovercraft. They pause in their trip to take a picture of what looks to be a brontosaurus. They hear that weird music like noise again and one of them swears it sounds like a girl.

The two with the robot are getting a little woozy because their suits were damaged. I’m thinking it must have been during the fight with the mini godzillas. They find a picturesque waterfall and the robot is forced to extend his claws to keep from slipping. Then he whines about how too much water will damage his systems. One of these guys is really struggling so they take shelter in a cave behind a waterfall.

One of the guys from the second crew gets the bright idea to try contacting the robot instead of the ship, and they succeed (they’re on some kind of lake at this point). The first crew is unconscious now and they tell the robot to, one at a time, open the crewmen’s helmets, give them a tablet, pour water over their face, and quickly close the helmet again. He does this and they revive.

Meanwhile, a flying reptile hits the top of the hover-car. Fortunately it’s equipped with a gun turret and they’re able to drive it away. At least temporarily. There’s a plug in the bottom of the car which they remove to sink the car so they can continue their journey on the bottom of the lake.

Marsha’s kind of freaking out because now she’s lost contact with everyone. She stares out the window, trying to figure out what to do. It’ll take an hour before she can switch on the propellers, but she feels she has to go to them.

Meanwhile, the guys with the car are on the bottom of the lake. It looks like it was filmed through an aquarium. They’ve actually stopped the car to do a bit of exploring. An adorable little squid creature pokes at one of them, another finds a cave that looks manmade, and one of them finds a statue of the flying creature with a ruby for its eye.

The two in the cave appear to be fully recovered. They decide to keep walking. The robot is tethered to a tree and starts to spin the upper half of his body to wind the rope up, causing the tree to fall to make a bridge.

The others are dragging the car to the shore of the lake. I guess maybe it wasn’t meant to be underwater after all? They build a fire to dry things out. Yes, that’s right. There’s not enough oxygen for them to breathe, but there’s enough to build a fire. They figure there could be a whole race of people out there and speculate on what they could look like. They hear the music again and one of them is positive it’s a beautiful girl singing. Oh, well. Maybe another time. The car’s finished drying out so off they go.

The other two see a volcano leaking lava. One wants to leave and the other wants to keep watching. Then there’s an explosion and the lava pushes forward. They need to get to higher ground. They end up having to get John to carry them across the lava. Halfway across John decides he needs to rid himself of the deadweight and tries to toss them off.

Fortunately, the guys in the car arrive in the nick of time. They have to leave the robot behind and it falls face first into the lava. At this point they decide to have a coffee break and the one guy is still wondering what the singer looks like. Another climbs some rock near a vent of gas and sees some dinosaurs. They head back to the ship where they find a message from Marsha telling them she’s decided to try landing the big ship by herself.

It starts to rain and a big sink hole opens up near the ship. They prepare for emergency blast off which appears to include off-loading a bunch of their supplies. Then they realize Marsha’s still up there - she was ordered to wait, but her orbit’s decaying. They hurriedly set up a weather station and the rock one of them uses for a hammer breaks open to reveal the image of a woman’s face. He seems a little obsessed with her as he returns to the ship. Just in the nick of time - the landing spot erodes just as the ship takes off.

The rain stops and we see the reflection of the woman in a pool of water. The rocket is speeding away and the narrator explains that the exploration for intelligent life will continue.

Not if they keep coming up with movies like this. ;-)

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