Thursday, April 7, 2011

Battle in Outer Space (1959)

Director: Ishiro Honda

Starring: Ryo Ikebe, Kyoko Anzai, Koreya Senda, Minoru Takada, Leonard Stanford

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Moon is Captured! The Earth is Next!

Plot: When an international space station is destroyed in a mysterious attack, a team of United Nations scientists, led by professor Adachi (Senda) and Maj. Ichiro Katsumiya (Ikebe), discovers that a race of malevolent aliens are plotting to take over the planet. With the fate of mankind hanging in the balance, Earth's most powerful nations band together to defeat the sinister spacemen and ensure the future of humanity.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.


I dig goofy stuff like this. BATTLE isn't a sci-fi classic by any stretch but it is a good deal of fun. For some reason I thought this was from the late 60s, but that it's from '59 makes it even more impressive. Japanese genre film makers LOVE their models and so do I. Sometimes they look great and sometimes they don't. Either way, I'm happy. BATTLE features a shit ton of model work.

It's about 50 minutes before we get to the moon where most of the action takes place. There's a pretty lengthy and ambitious battle between the Earth team and the unknown aliens. Sadly, we only get a glimpse of the aliens and they're in space suits. I really wanted to see what kind of adversary we had. Anyway, the fight is a good one and of a large enough scale that I can't think of another science fiction flick that had a space battle that big until STAR WARS (1977) nearly twenty years later.

After the moon fight I thought the picture was over. Nope. Earth must arm itself for the inevitable second wave of flying saucers. Months of preparation later, there's another fight but this time it's in the skies of Earth. We win. Now it's over. It's 90 minutes of escapist fun. The script writers won't win any awards for their effort but the special effects team should have. It's not often during this period that we got a sci-fi flick like this, taking place in space with actual ship-to-ship combat. Neat-O!

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