Monday, 18 November 2013

Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965)

The Soviet SF film Planeta Bur has been converted to an English language release on at least two occasions. This was the first. As far as I can tell from a synopsis of the original film, this release follows pretty much the original story, with the only significant difference being the addition of a few new scenes featuring Basil Rathbone (who was either hard up for cash or owed someone a favour, I guess). These new scenes don't really add anything to the film other than a moderately famous name, but that was probably all they were meant to do.

Anyway, the plot sees two teams of astronauts (Soviet in the original, multinational in the US film), along with a robot, land on Venus. As the film's title might suggest, however, this is a highly romanticised Venus: it has oceans, dinosaurs, and signs of a former civilisation. One of the team is particularly taken with these remnants, insisting a strange voice-like sound may be the calls of the people who live there. Various dangers, both creatures and environmental, confront the astronauts as they explore.and eventually they blast off from the surface as the termors shake the ground. Once they are gone, a human-like reflection is caught in a pool of water.

It's a pretty slow and clunky film, honestly, with lots of explosition cluttering up the place. Even the action sequences tend to be loaded with dialogue. The lack of a strong narrative beyond "explore the dangerous planet" also hurts it, I think.

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