Upbeat Cynicism

what do you mean i lost my mind?

Cosmos: War of the Planets, 1977

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It’s hard to write about this movie as a movie, because it isn’t, not really.

What Cosmos: War of the Planets is, I don’t know. But a movie, it is not.

A movie that’s a science fiction adventure usually at least tries to make sense. This one makes a certain amount of sense in outline form, but if you look any closer than that at it — like, say, watching it — it will confound you, sneering at your very attempt at comprehension.

Some of it may be the fact that it has been dubbed from Italian. Some of it. However, given the dedication and attention to detail in the production design — space ships have office chairs that not only aren’t nailed down, but roll about on casters — I think it’s safe to say that details in the original lack cohesion, as well.

For instance, there’s a war of the planets (as you may well surmise from the title). One of the planets is Earth. The other one is… well, it doesn’t seem to be in the solar system. It may be in the same galaxy. Or it may be on the other side of the universe. There is no sense of place, scale, or direction. People talk of zones and sectors, but don’t relate them to anything else.

The other planet, or rather the supercomputer (you’ll laugh when you actually see it) that runs it, lures an earth ship to it in order to carry out some tasks that it’s own indigenous life cannot. The method of allurement is stupid beyond words.

Anyway, the computer needs some memory banks reconnected or something, and forces some of the human crew to do so. Somewhere along the way, the human crew picks up one of the indigenes, makes him an instant crew member, lets the rest of the world die (destroying the supercomputer destroys the planet, apparently), and the new crew member is totally unfazed by suddenly being the Last of the Mohicans. (To say nothing of the humans’ indifference to their — admittedly inadvertent — genocide.)

Then, on the trip back to Earth, the ship computer turns out to have been taken over by the eeeevil super computer. So as they barrel on to Earth, everyone and everything is doomed.

This all makes much less sense in the actual movie, I assure you.

Is it worth watching? Not really, but it does have a redeeming feature, though not enough of one to mean that anyone should watch it.

In the future, all women are incredibly attractive, and none of them age past their early thirties. Furthermore, everybody wears clingy spandex type material, and no woman in this future ever, ever wears a bra. Though there is no nudity, at least in the version on the various Mill Creek sets, the combination of spandex, utter bralessness, and the fact that it gets pretty darned cold in space mean that there is at least mild enjoyment to be had.

Of course, the price you pay for that mild enjoyment is that your brain will employ violence in its desperate bid to escape your skull should you attempt to subject the plot to even the most glancing rational analysis. Consider yourself warned.

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  1. […] of the Robots is of a piece with last week’s Cosmos: War of the Planets. Lots of the same cast and crew and sets and (not very) special […]


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