Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Journey To The Seventh Planet

Scandinavian space opera from REPTILICUS producer/director Sid Pink, who also rewrote Dane Ib Melchoir’s original script (and probably not for the better).

Filmed entirely on a soundstage in Denmark, partially with funds from American co-producer AIP, JOURNEY TO THE SEVENTH PLANET has a few good ideas in its 76 minutes, but almost none of them are expressed with anything approaching imagination or awe. AIP rejected almost all of the Danish crew’s special effects, and replaced them with stock footage from EARTH VS. THE SPIDER (tinted blue), the Pink/Melchior production THE ANGRY RED PLANET, and a new stop-motion one-eyed monster built and animated by Wah Chang and Jim Danforth (later dialogue indicates it’s supposed to be a rat, but it doesn’t look like one).

All the trouble and budget overruns are for a film not worth the extra effort. Four horny astronauts and their commander (Carl Ottosen) journey to Uranus (wisely pronounced with a short “a” to limit the comic effect) to find life there. They land in an area inhabited by pine trees and breathable air that’s surrounded by a solid gray force field. When they reminisce about their lives back on Earth (mostly women), their thoughts materialize on Uranus. One cool effect is Ottosen describing his family farm while it appears in stages over his shoulder. Astronaut John Agar (this is one of his worst films, and that’s saying something) gets to have conversations with former Miss Denmark Greta Thyssen, playing movie star Greta Thyssen.

The astronauts’ investigation turns up an ice cave with green goo, “quicksnow,” the afore-mentioned Danforth/Chang creature, and ultimately a giant one-eyed brain that is using its massive mental abilities to create all the illusions. It wants to conquer the Earth, but why it wants to or how are questions Pink never gets around to tackling. As mentioned above, JOURNEY occasionally presents an interesting image or idea, but it’s mostly hokey, cheap pulp without the directorial skill or the budget (the sets are extremely small) to exploit them to their full potential. And, oh mercy, that song that’s sung over the end titles. Oof.

1 comment:

Grant said...

Even though I'm so attached to REPTILICUS and ANGRY RED PLANET, it took me forever to see this one.
As you say, the way the planet's name is pronounced manages to accidentally be a highlight of the movie. It's easy to imagine comedians (including amateur comedians) practically gnashing their teeth every time that pronunciation is used, because a straight line is being taken away from them!