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Malic's creation

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Not Rated
Copyright 1969 Toho Studios
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 12 February 2008

Capsule Review:    

Due to an unexpected underwater volcano, and a tiny winch mechanism, a bathysphere is lost at sea. We assume that the three men inside, two scientists and a reporter, are about to join the countless numbers whose souls haunt Davy Jones Locker, but then a fantastic thing happens. A futuristic submarine retrieves the bathysphere; Dr. Tashiro, Mr. Lawton, and Dr. Masson find themselves in the middle of a grand adventure (though Dr. Masson is unconscious at first, and requires either a miracle or medical attention you cannot get through an HMO).

The amazing submarine is the Alpha and it is crewed by Capt. McKenzie (Joseph Cotten), Chin, and Dr. Anne Barton. I have to say, if the future of medicine is attractive blonde girls wearing gold bikini tops, miniskirts, and knee-high white boots, I want the future to be NOW.

The Alpha and its crew are from Latitude Zero, a highly advanced city-state located on the ocean floor. It is a place dedicated to science, knowledge, and art - generally Mankind at its very best. Masson, Tashiro, and Lawton are given a guided tour of Latitude Zero by Capt. McKenzie and are stunned by what they see: an artificial sun provides light during the appropriate periods, delicious meals are delivered by automated systems, clothing is made from gold, and the medical practitioners are able to heal even the worst injuries overnight (take that, HMO).

Diametrically opposed to Latitude Zero and its harmonious society is Blood Rock, the lair of Dr. Malic (Cesar Romero - the Joker from the "Batman" TV show), and homeport of the underwater warship Black Shark. Dr. Malic is constantly plotting to do nefarious things, like destroy the Alpha. However, Capt. McKenzie always has a technological miracle up his sleeve to counteract Malic's tricks.

The evil genius does succeed in kidnapping a brilliant scientist. To save the scientist, McKenzie and his newly found friends brave the perils of Blood Rock. Ever the cunning miscreant, Malic saves the best for last. He cuts the brain out of his Asian henchwoman, transplants it into the body of a lion, and saws the wings off a huge vulture to graft them onto the big cat. Then, just to make it really dangerous, Malic gives the flying lion a growth serum that increases its size threefold! Holy cow! Who thought that up? That thing is AWESOME!

Studios should make movies like this more often. "Latitude Zero" is a lot of fun. Watching McKenzie and Malic battle is like a game of chess, but with underwater homing missiles, holographic decoy submarines, lasers, rocketpacks, and surgically-created monsters. I also love Cesar Romero as the nefarious Dr. Malic; he is a cartoon villain played perfectly straight.

Things I Learned From This Movie:  

Green Dot Bathyspheres should be equipped with shock absorbers on the outside and heavy padding on the inside.
Green Dot "Pong" was originally created as an anti-submarine warfare tool.
Green Dot Diamonds are a plant's best friend.
Green Dot The only way to test if someone is bulletproof is to shoot them.

Stuff To Watch For:  

Green Dot 16 mins - McKenzie looks really flamboyant in his outfit. Wow.
Green Dot 40 mins - "Your CFL technology is decades ahead of our own!"
Green Dot 62 mins - I can understand why none of the men want Anne to see them naked; the mineral bath is filled with cold water.
Green Dot 85 mins - Why do bats hate Richard Jaeckel?

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1]
Latitude Zero
Reply #1. Posted on February 14, 2008, 04:18:46 PM by Xenorama
this is a fun movie, and who would ever have thought we'd have a great DVD presentation?  the second disc- the Japanese version- is pretty useless, but nice to have anyway.

Re: Latitude Zero
Reply #2. Posted on May 19, 2008, 04:02:18 PM by George

The thing that can be said about Latitude Zero,is it's kind of a follow up to Atragon,(when will that ever be up for review?).
In the summer of 1969,Fuji,(remember our Emma Peelson of Japan from Ultraman).
Oh I mean Fuji,the largest scientific ship in Japan has been sent to Cromwell Combind to see if  ocean currents can make submarines go faster.
Well our 3 heroes go down in the yellow bathysphere to find out,unfortunately,(there seem to be a whole of unfortunates in these Japanese films don't there),an underwater volcano erupts,and it looks like the 3 are going to die in a yellow bathysphere,only later to wake up and see that they are saved by a certain Capt.McKenzie,(Joseph Cotton),and are taken to an underwater utopia called Latitude Zero,where missing scientist are doing lots of good stuff to benefit us all!.
Oh again,yes again,unfortunately there's an evil genius at large,none other than The Clown Prince of Crime Himself,The Joker,or here known as Dr.Malic(Cesar Romero),(Ironically Malic happened to a name of one the Dorcons in the last Maya Space:1999 episode).
Seems he and his woman friend Lickerish(Cottons wife Patricia Medina),want to either conquer LZ or destroy it.
The pair kindnap a certain doctor who's developed an anti-radiation serum,naturally he refuses to tell Malic about,and here we see that's he's able to turn people into flying lions,huge rats,and even,of all the Unholy Things Batman!,Batmen!.
Oh I suppose for the want of getting Adam West Burt Ward & Yvonne Craig on the operating table!.
We can't Malic go on so our heroes re board the Alpha and head for Blood Rock to finally put an end to Malics mad plans of world domination.
All sorts of things happen,a game of chess with submarines using homing torpedoes and death rays,run ins with giant rats acid pools,and of course a real batfight,but where were the bat graphics,(you know POW!,WHAP!,PAP,ZAP!).
Oh before that Malic turned his henchwoman into a flying lion to get them,but she just sat on top of old Smokey and watched it all,oh and during the fight Malic accidentally kills his girl,she dissolves.
Then the final battle,Malic traps the Alpha with a magnetic force,but like Atragon,Alpha can fly too!,as Malic shoots wildly at the sub,all the sudden that lion flys into action and gets Malic and the Blackshark,Malic forgot to turn off the force,and his sub got caught in it,so once again we see Hayatta as yet another henchmen,(why is he always a badguy,I think Ultraman needs to have talk with him),telling Malic they're being pulled to land.
Malic doesn't want to be bothered,however the lion has other ideas,and so the ancient art of blowing up the models at the end of yet another Japanese sci-fi,we are not dissappointed!.
After all said and done Perry Lawton,wants to go back,and why not,with diamonds and a story,he'll be on easy street,however,life on easy street ain't as easy as Sesame Street.
They send him up to be rescued by a navy ship sent to observe the splash down of a capsule,aboard he meets someone who looks like Craig McKenzie,but he's not.
And of course no believes his story,he has no diamonds,and the film is ruined,convinced he's nuts they ask the coremen,who looks alot like Malic,but with a different mustache to take him to sick bay.
If Dr.Ann Barton's there,I suppose I wouldn't mind binging in sick bay either!,meantime the ships radio tells this Capt.McKenzie $6000s worth of diamonds are waiting for Lawton at a NY bank,then they begin to wonder if maybe there might be something to this Latitude Zero business after all.
Re: Latitude Zero
Reply #3. Posted on June 06, 2011, 04:40:12 AM by Trevor
Thanks for the review, Andrew  Thumbup.

Joseph Cotten talks about this film over an entire chapter in his autobiography, detailing the US producer Don Sharpe's money hassles and that the cast, to preserve face for Toho, agreed to finish the film for nothing provided that the studio took care of all their living expenses etc.

While Jo Cotten and his wife Patricia were visiting a renowned Japanese actor who was also a fine gardener, the actor said that he wasn't happy with the new fertilizers and preferred what he called "the good old natural s**ts"."  TeddyR TeddyR
Re: Latitude Zero
Reply #4. Posted on June 12, 2011, 03:07:24 PM by Umaril The Unfeathered

Richard Jaeckel of  The Green Slime fame and Toho legend Akira Takarada, also known as the love rival of Dr. Serizawa in Godzilla:King Of The Monsters.

Takarada also was in a war movie with Frank Sinatra, where Sinatra was training Takarada's anti-Japanese freedom fighters, a regiment of Hawaiian-Japanese soldiers known as "butterheads".  He spoke his own English quite well!

Another English-speaking Japanese actor who played in Latitude Zero was Masumi Okada, better known as the father of the boy Mikko in the Space Giants TV series.
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