|JOURNEY TO THE SEVENTH PLANET
|Copyright 1962 Cinemagic
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 2 May 2003
- Eric - Despite being the mission commander, everyone uses his first name. His leadership style involves shooting the dilemma at hand. Great when the problem is a monster, but bad when it is a woman (or child, puppy, etc.).
- Don - John Agar! Second in command and a chronic womanizer.
- Karl - The blonde German boy. He takes a cat nap while on guard duty and later becomes brain food.
- Barry - What space exploration team would be complete without an Irishman? Oddly, he stays sober the entire film.
- Svend - Scientist who gets little screen time and no character development. Svend might as well have been a chair.
- Ingrid, Ursula, and other floozies - Scantily dressed figments of the crew's imagination.
- The Brain Monster - Talk about a control freak! It is also prone to talking to people who cannot hear its gloating. Frozen, then blasted apart.
|I am happy to say that this was the first movie I ever watched with my daughter, Jenna. She was only a few days old, but awake and hungry in the middle of the night. What better way to pass the early morning hours with an unhappy infant than to watch a cheesy old science fiction film? So, on the anniversary of that exercise in insomnia, I watched it yet again.
Something interesting about "Journey to the Seventh Planet" is the avoidance of calling the planet "Your Anus." The actors all distinctly say, "Your Ah Niss." One would think that this was to head off any attempts at lowbrow humor. However, the script then seems to go out of its way to use words like pulsate, penetrate, and (of all the semantic possibilities) probe! The rationale behind this behavior escapes me, but I have been known to be thick.
Enough about the quirks of screenwriters and directors. The narrator informs the viewer that with space exploration came peace on Earth. In 2001, the United Nations rules the planet with a fair and benevolent hand and the pioneering men of its space agency explore the solar system. This expedition was apparently scrambled to suddenly investigate Uranus (Don complains about having to cancel social plans). The crew is now hurtling through space on their way to the seventh planet. Actually, they are traveling at a velocity I find incomprehensible. (I might keep using that word. It does mean what I think it means.) The crew casually remarks that they passed the moon twelve minutes ago and will reach Mars' orbital path in forty minutes. HOLY FREAKING COW! Depending on where Mars is at in its orbit and their cruising speed, we are still talking about, say, ten percent of the speed of light. If the speed itself does not impress you, think of the acceleration involved. I think that the crew would look like pancake batter.
Breakfast aside, the rocket does arrive at its destination. There a shimmering light show puts the men to sleep while a disembodied voice gloats over their impending doom. Eric and his friends wake up what must be a week later. I say a week, because Barry's apple turns into a shriveled mass during the gloating session. Fortunately, the humans are no worse for wear. I guess the malevolent intelligence made sure they ate and used the bathroom during the Rip Van Winkle episode.
Unperturbed by the weird hiatus from reality, the crew lands on the surface of Uranus. They find a lush forest and a mysterious forcefield. Karl watches Don push a stick through the barrier and, despite the result (a frozen stick), the reckless youth shoves his arm in up to the elbow. Guess what happens. Exactly, a flash frozen limb. You are a lot smarter than Karl. Eric and the others drag him back to the ship's homey control deck (which includes a psychedelic fireplace). Later, the arm is none the worse for wear.
On a side note, I think that Tchaikovsky wrote the film's score. Well, except for the crooning title track. What the heck was up with that crazy thing? Absolutely incomprehensible!
Pretty soon Eric is reminiscing about better times. As he spins his tale, the farm described therein becomes reality in the background. This includes the affectionate woman who he associates with, ah, recreation. The sudden appearance of Ingrid causes Eric to herd everyone back into the rocket. Even Don goes, after fighting off a couple of random tarts from his sordid past.
Maybe you have already guessed that an archfiend with extraordinary mental powers inhabits the planet. The mysterious creature is able to rummage through the men's minds and turn their thoughts into reality. It wants to dominate the crew and use them as a vehicle to reach Earth.
Eric does a little research on the suspected adversary. Okay, he asks Ingrid and she tells him all about the space brain (convenient). Then the explorers turned warriors don their Alaitoc uniforms and make an abortive attempt to kill the lurking monster. You have to understand, the evil presence dwells in a lair outside the forcefield. It is protected by a forest of razor sharp crystals and nightmares dragged directly from the men's subconscious. After deciding that discretion is the better part of valor, Eric and the others flee back to the artificial paradise. Unfortunately, the clumsy commander rips his suit open on a crystal and nearly dies.
"While the commander is comatose, the crew will play." Don and the others, bereft of effective leadership (they just need a recording that yells, "Shoot it!" now and then), spend their time playing with the floozies. Hahahaha! They know that the women are not real! Heck, they know that the nymphs were created by something evil! It does not stop the crew from doing what men do with harlots. Personally, I would be afraid that Ursula would suddenly sprout tentacles out of her back or develop teeth in an unfortunate place. Thanks, but no thanks.
Sure, I have watched a lot of anime. Why do you ask?
The commander wakes up, finds out what is going on, and bawls out his crew. A plan is formulated to create a massive blowtorch. With the impromptu weapon, the humans can destroy the space brain and safely return to Earth. That plan fails, resulting in the sudden munching of Karl. Eric hatches another plan on the fly. Mankind's envoys to the galaxy douse the brain with liquid oxygen; it freezes and becomes brittle. The beam weapons that proved useless earlier are mighty effective against the frozen cerebellum.
For some reason Eric tries to save Ingrid (the fake oasis is rapidly disappearing). He carries her aboard the rocketship, only to watch the blonde damsel disappear shortly after takeoff. Poignant end - cue the music.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- The correct pronunciation is "your-ah-niss."
- The surface of Uranus is made of magic sand.
- Voltage meters can be used to measure anything, from radioactivity to an atmosphere's oxygen content.
- People who use rockets to travel over one billion miles also use torches for light.
- Not only do rubber gloves prevent dishpan hands, they also are airtight and insulated to -200 centigrade.
- Mind control is easier when the subject is weightless.
- The tarantulas on Uranus are extremely large.
- Blood + freezing temperatures = inner tube repair kit.
- Never expose your brain to liquid oxygen followed by laser carbine fire.
- 1 min - No way that only eleven rockets have investigated every planetary body between the Earth and Uranus.
- 10 mins - Exactly how I feel...
- 15 mins - You grew up on Uranus?
- 17 mins - If God had been a florist.
- 24 mins - It is one of my memories. Shoot it!
- 45 mins - At least it was not a huge marshmallow man. Although, that would make for one huge smores.
- 57 mins - Why does your emergency kit not include duct tape?
- 69 mins - What just happened?
- 74 mins - Maybe it is time that Eric asked the real Ingrid out on a date.
- Narrator: "There are no limits to the imagination and Man's ability to make reality out of his visions is his greatest strength. Through this skill, he has been able to conquer time and space."
- Don: "Well, at least we know it can be penetrated."
Eric: "Yes, and that's all we know."
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Eric: "It sure is an effective way of inviting us outside. Get your guns."
||Space Brain: "But my weapons are more powerful than yours. Your own fears have created the means of your destruction!"
||Barry: "It's not only our fears and weaknesses, it's also our greatest desires." |
Eric: "You're right Barry. Our minds are being probed."
||Ingrid: "There is a being, a lone being, on this planet." |
Eric: "Where does it come from?"
Ingrid: "From space and time itself."
Eric: "Go on."
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Eric, Don, and Karl are being chased by poorly exposed tarantula footage. When their laser carbines fail to hurt the monster, they turn to the age old trick of shooting the roof to cause a cave-in.
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