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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 Show:  

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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