Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How Bad Was That Movie?

It's interesting how some really bad Sci Fi movies can have some of the more interesting concepts. I just finished watching PHANTOM PLANET (1961). The plot is simple. A roving asteroid collides with several Earth ships. An expedition to find said asteroid makes a soft landing and the surviving astronaut encounters Liliputians. Actually, the inhabitants who live in the interior of the asteroid, are small due to heavy gravity and other technobabble. The astronaut shrinks to their size, fights a duel meets girl and destroys monster before the inhabitants help him return home.

Yes, it is pretty convoluted, but the idea of an asteroid being used as a space ship has hardly been touched on by films. I have encountered it in a few stories and books over the years. Actually, the concept is pretty good for story telling. I recall a juvenile book using the idea by Joe Green many years ago. Heinlein's "Orphans Of The Sky" introduced the concept of a universe ship, where the inhabitants don't realize they are in a ship. The only time I am aware of this particular idea being used was in a Canadian series entitled "The Star Lost". Sadly it was pretty cheesy and not nearly as much fun as PHANTOM PLANET. (Ben Bova and Harlan Ellison wrote some pretty good tales based on their experiences with the series.)

So if you have some time to kill and want to park your brain, watch PHANTOM PLANET. It could be worse; you could be watching "The Star Lost".


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