Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Battle Beyond The Sun!

It seems that Roger Corman saw three Russian science fiction movies somewhere and had an idea. He and his Filmgroup would buy the rights to the movies, and use the visual splendor as the basis for not three English-language variations but four. It all gets quite confusing, but it made for some  weirdly fascinating movies, not necessarily good ones, but  fascinating.

The first up is Battle Beyond the Sun which tells the tale of a future in which the world is divided into two spheres of influence, each competing to travel into space with the destination of Mars.

This an English variation on the movie Nebo Zovyot. How close this version is to the original is hard to judge, but it appears to be pretty coherent. There is a huge space station one power is using to stage its attempt to go to the red planet and then one day a ship from the competing power shows up needing some repairs. There is a cordial offer of help but the ship of the competing power learns a lot and then jets off to Mars, but then runs into more trouble. The "good guys" try too and get into more trouble, but I'll tell you now they don't make it to Mars but get hailed as heroes nonetheless for simply surviving not being sucked into the Sun.

The story is a bit slothful, with the English-language version (spearheaded by Francis Ford Coppola it seems) not wanting to make too much of a fuss of the politics. There is one scene where the hero is alone on an asteroid and confronts an alien creature which looks like nothing less than a walking vagina. That this creature is then accosted by another alien which is best described as a one-eyed monster lets you know something about the symbolism here.

There is heroism in this one for sure, but the mustached twirling by the bad guy is extreme and the heroes seem a little too pure and jovial given their respective plights. The good thing is the message of cooperation wins the day, though how these inept spacemen will ever get to Mars is questionable.

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