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Not Rated
Copyright 1979 Nais Film
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 28 February 2010

The Characters:  

  • Prof. Mauri - Proud card carrying member of the Leopard Orthodox Church of Dracula.
  • Dirk - This man's confidence is a threat to conservative fashion. My son, who is five and has an arachnid obsession, does not wear silver sequined spider shirts.
  • Irene - If Sigourney Weaver worked at a renaissance fair...
  • Oliver - His posture, fashion, and moustache are so flamboyant that even the stars have a problem staying straight when he appears on the screen.
  • Shawn & Bridget - Brilliant chemists, but also unscrupulous opportunists. These are not the sort of folks that you want designing a breakfast cereal.
  • Norman - An accomplished boxer, which turns out to be useful in defending the world from robots and spaceships.
  • Tilt & Tili - A pair of gloomy codependent robots.
  • Cmdr. Barr - Oliver is his protégé. 'Nuff said.
  • Lord Kess of Kobal - A powerful lord of the universe, but his face looks like the outside of a smoked ham. He needs to take a vacation on the planet Vaseline, in the constellation Intensive Care.
  • The Android Army - Lady Gaga's male fan club has gone too far this time.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

If there is one genre that can be compared to low budget Italian zombie flicks, it must be bargain budget Italian space operas. Both of them are the mental equivalents of $.29 frozen burritos, and both of them cause my wife serious anguish (as do cheap frozen burritos). Katie is more likely to complain about the zombie movies than the space operas, but that is splitting hairs. While I refuse to eat any burrito that costs less than $1.50, I have finally come to the realization that the movies I watch are not good for me.

Oh well.

Before I get into the review, I beg of you to cut me some slack if I get a character's name wrong. We are talking about a low budget Italian space opera. It is dubbed and there are no subtitles. I actually considered referring to the characters by descriptive phrases, such as "Mad, Bad Spandex" or "Mascara Armageddon."

To start off, an alien spaceship zips through Earth's space defenses, and when a human craft intercepts the UFO, the visitor from beyond the stars proves hostile. Mankind's military tries every weapon at their disposal, to no avail. Even the atomic cannon cannot damage the mysterious invader! Lord Kess' warship begins destroying humanity's defenses with complete impunity. Why the alien is agitating our planet is quite simple: Lord Kess won the Earth via an auction, and now he intends to exploit it for profit by enslaving the population for sale to other galactic merchants.

Humanity's only hope of avoiding indentured servitude to a universe filled with blue-skinned capitalists is Professor Mauri. The scientist is a genius with mental powers, but he is going to need help to defeat Lord Kess and his android army.

First off, Irene (she is Prof. Mauri's daughter) goes looking for Dirk. He, like the professor, has mental powers. Hypnotizing people, x-ray vision, moving objects without touching them - that sort of thing. The charismatic rogue spends his time gambling. I bet that casino owners have nightmares about people like Dirk. The future thanes of Vegas have the same reaction to Dirk's preternatural luck. Whenever he shows up at the casino, it means that a fistfight is a near certainty. Faced with fists at the blackjack table or hanging out with Irene, Dirk makes the easy decision.

Critical to Professor Mauri's plan to save the Earth are Shawn and Bridget; the pair of con-artist chemists are the only people capable of creating a weapon that can penetrate the intheorium armor of Lord Kess' spaceships. You are probably wondering what kind of element intheorium is, and I don't blame you. Don't waste your time looking for it on the periodic table. Whoever dubbed the movie made it up. Anyway, Dirk has to rescue the chemists from a maximum security outer space prison because they almost destroyed the world's economy by creating artificial gold.

Look, it's okay to make gold if you are already rich. Otherwise it is a no-no.

The other members of Professor Mauri's team are Norman, because he is a pugilist, and Tilt and Tili. The moping robots are INFURIATING. Their voices are an affront to my ears, their conversations are excruciating exchanges, and I hate them. Imagine watching Paris Hilton for an hour as she cries about how tough it is to be her, when everybody else is not. That is what it's like watching the pessimistic robots bemoaning their misfortune, and they start whining the minute that Norman reactivates them (the depressed machines had tried to commit suicide). For the rest of the movie, Tilt and Tili are the unwelcome comic relief.

Marvin the paranoid android is funny. Mattresses are funny. People with fish in their ears are funny. Tilt and Tili? NOT FUNNY.

While the chemists get to work on creating anti-intheorium, the rest of the characters fortify the Professor's dwelling. They do this by burying bombs in the woods behind the house. Listen, do you smell something? Did you hear what I just typed? Dirk and his friends dig holes, with shovels, to protect themselves from robots from outer space. Incredibly, booby trapping the backyard turns out to be a good idea. An army of blonde-haired androids stomps through the woods to attack Professor Mauri's house. Dirk, Oliver, and Norman do their best to stop the invaders, but how do you stop a bunch blonde-haired goons with flashlights that make things explode? That's right, you don't. Even though Norman gets his hands on a laser sword, the humans are facing certain defeat. As Lord Kess' androids close in for the kill, Shawn and Bridget pass out pills to the heroes. After taking them, Dirk and his friends fall over, appearing to be quite dead. The androids, who have obviously never read "Romeo and Juliet," fall for the ruse and depart.

Yeah, really. The only beings in the entire universe who have had the good fortune to experience Shakespeare cannot appreciate their luck. Instead, we think that an annoying teenage girl smelling her armpits is hilarious, and that Tom Cruise is God's gift to the vampire genre. We really are a bunch of dunderheads.

By the way, if you would like to read about a galaxy that appreciates Shakespeare (but not necessarily humans), check out "Muse of Fire" by Dan Simmons. It is the last story in this collection: The New Space Opera.

I like to think that Shakespeare will be mankind's legacy to the universe, but with our luck the only art that will survive humanity's eventual destruction will be a DVD filled with Lady Gaga music videos. Arrrggggh! Who made that...thing? Whoever you are, I want you to take that DVD out from under your pillow and replace it with a waterproof copy of "Hamlet." Do it now, because I'm worried the world is going to end tomorrow and G'Zaat 1002.391 (that's its name - the alien archeologist) is going to, someday, find whatever it is that you keep under your pillow. I want that to be "Hamlet," not "Poker Face."


The chemists, with the help of Tilt and Tili, succeed in creating anti-intheorium. However, the alien androids kidnap Professor Mauri and his daughter. Dirk and the others manage to sneak aboard Lord Kess' ship and have a swashbuckling adventure hacking, kicking, and zapping their way through an endless supply of alien androids. Once the Professor has been rescued, it is time for the climactic space battle between Lord Kess' armada and Earth's defenders. The anti-intheorium can penetrate intheorium armor (hence the "anti-" part), but the aliens' ships are so fast that the Earth fighters cannot get a shot. Professor Mauri uses his mental powers to slow down the enemy warships, resulting in Lord Kess' eventual defeat.

If I were going to use a nickname for Mauri, it would be "Eyebrows Ex Machina."

Oliver, Norman, and Commander Barr all become space dust during the final battle, but Dirk and Irene live happily ever after. What about Tilt and Tili? The good professor offers to upgrade them with happy parts, meaning that the morose metal lovebirds will be able to experience the forbidden fruits of biological romance. Zounds! Inflicting sexuality on someone who already suffers from depression and mood swings might not be such a good idea. Even worse, the robots never age; imagine being stuck as an emo for eternity.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Roulette is a random form of prostitution.
  • When you die you see a light, and it's like totally psychedelic.
  • Robots are naturally fluent in mechanical owl.
  • Androids automatically qualify for the heavyweight division.
  • The correct pronunciation of UFO is "oo-faux."
  • Intheorium, the most durable metal in the entire universe, can be melted with a bunsen burner.
  • Being the target of a psionic attack makes you feel like your brain is being rolled in powdered Tang.
  • Physical violence saves time.
  • The Italians should stick to making zombie movies and porn.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • Opening Credits - In alphabetical order! At first by the first letter of the first name, then by the first letter of the last name, and finally back to the first letter of the first name. Right, that makes sense to me.
  • Opening Credits - I'm drunk, in case you were wondering.
  • 10 mins - That is a midget inside of a drum. Cool.
  • 13 mins - No, it's a catch 22.
  • 36 mins - He has varicose veins in his face.
  • 45 mins - What this has to do with Earth being conquered by intergalactic slavers is completely beyond me.
  • 71 mins - My good fellow, you need to lay off the hair gel and lay on the lotion.
  • 79 mins - All of you are now honorary members of the benevolent order of the scallop. Congratulations.
  • 95 mins - I think that you mean telepathy, telekinesis, or one of those other "tele" words.
  • 102 mins - Your auction technology is hundreds of years behind ours.

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note starodyssey1.wav Irene: "They're barbarians. They don't place any sort of value on human life."
Prof. Mauri: "But you're forgetting how the white man behaved toward the Negro and the American Indian. It's the most powerful race which makes the decision who's civilized and who's not, and I'm afraid we'll have to accept our inferiority, and submit to the inevitable."
Green Music Note starodyssey2.wav Cmdr. Barr wants to know about the oo-faux, and he wants to know now!
Green Music Note starodyssey3.wav Tilt: "Damn you, Norman, you interfering warm-blooded animal. Who authorized you to reactivate me? Why can't two poor robots commit suicide in peace, without some meddling human recharging their circuits? Tili and I wanted to put an end to it all let me see. Why was it exactly? Anyway, you should have kept out of it!"
Green Music Note starodyssey4.wav Lord Kess: "Prepare storage space. You'll probably need accommodation for over one million slaves. Let me know when you're ready to load."
Android: "We will follow your orders."
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipstarodyssey1.mpg - 7.8m
Dirk, Norman, and Oliver are trying to hold off the androids. Norman's laser sword appears quite effective, but Dirk is shooting at the invaders with a camera flash; that doesn't seem to work so good.

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