Flicks & Folios – Cosmos: War of the planets

Oh dear what did I stumble onto? In case you are wondering this isn’t the film with sex kitten Mamie Van Doren”?that film came out in 1980. This is a dreadful 1978 film made by Italian film director Alfonso Brescia (aka Al Bradly).

It stars a lot of people you’ve never heard of and don’t want to.

You see there was this DVD sale at Zellers with an alien theme : oh never mind. I popped this side of the two DVD set in and choked from the very beginning. Oh horrors what I have to say isn’t sweet. But you know how you can watch films just for how awful they are? BINGO.

Well: the start of this is on a space ship and there’s “a fight.” Well, ok, let’s be clear – a skinny guy I could blow down in the middle of an asthma attack walks up to another cast member and socks him. So this establishes that Captain somebodyorother is a loose cannon and has a habit of ignoring authority:or so says the brass in a meeting regarding the incident. Oh boy: this loose cannon promptly does whatever the brass down on Earth decides! Sheesh!

The plot is something along these lines: A strange signal is received. They track it down and investigate the planet it originates from. The plot does a quick pitch into nowhere now. The crew goes through a knock off of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians. Slowly… well quickly really, they disappear until a few remain. We manage to get a look at a very bad death scene from one of the “actors” and a hand of something that I take it is supposed to belong to the giant robot (gotta be a giant robot”?right?!). When the crewmembers realize their shipmates have disappeared, one man remarks, “It’s all the work of a fiend!” This then leads in to a Phantom of the Opera organ solo – no kidding! They do some investigating and decide the planet has a quartz crystal that sends messages only to Earth! STOP! I can’t take the illogic any more! My brain will burst!

Eventually they meet the much-misunderstood leader of the planet. He announces that everyone except him has been turned into mental mush. The crew agree to help these poor creatures and one of the mental mushies comes aboard as their newest member. Conveniently, though, the member has the ability to save the ship at the end – so what happened to the mental mush?!!

Throughout we have a useless plot. Something gets established and then gets contradicted with the next “poor-formance”. The reactions and line delivery are awful. I’ve seen worse mind you. There were no microphones dangling into the shot: no rotating night shot/ day shot for one lonely road and two separate angles.

Lights. Oh my. Someone had fun putting every possible light they could squeak out of their budget on a blinker! That’s important in spaceships isn’t it?

Dialogue has been changed and dubbed depending on the actor. The lips don’t match the sound SOOOOOO often.

In the scenery department we have a problem. There is a space walk near the beginning and the background is an obvious picture of a space module of some kind.

Direction suffers dreadfully. There is a highly inappropriate moment between a man and woman on the bridge when they indicate their interest in one another while a man is in agony outside the window! Crappy, crappy timing Alfonso!

Get this: you’ve heard of a “computer whiz”? Someone in Italy did too, as the computer is named WIZ. The computer has a labored male voice and an attitude. Oh dear. Everyone KNOWS a computer is female! The ummmm computer interrupts our only real romantic moment to give a ludicrous announcement that “radar shows two shining points” heading their way! Huh? The shining points are spacecraft and they’re under attack.

This leads to a major writing comment. Every single problem is considered “impossible” to get out of. Nothing but nothing is a little tough, difficult or some hard work. They say we’re lost the minute a problem arrives! Glad I’m not a member of this team: they’d have me reaching for a straight razor!

The Cosmic Love machine is a supposed sexy touch to the film. It does nothing but get in the way, makes little to no sense and is handled klutzily by the actors. No nudity, no hot kisses, no good performances: sigh. Whatta waste of film!

Sound: oh yes. There is sound. Except a real band would be tough so they hired someone to go up and down an electronic keyboard to sound “spacey”. It doesn’t work. Also apparently when you show an outside shot of the spacecraft it’s important to hear voices singing some part of an indistinguishable song! And the “thunder” inside the cave where people disappear is so bad I could do better with a Cuisinart on “chop”.

This film makes the Flesh Gordon series look like Academy Award winning films! Give it a miss or be prepared to use it as a sleeping pill.

Laura Seymour first published herself, at age 8. She has since gone on to publish a cookbook for the medical condition Candida. She is working toward her B.A. (Psyc).

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