Sunday, May 29, 2011

Message from Space (1978)

Director: Kinji Fukasaku

Starring: Vic Morrow, Sonny CHiba, Philip Casnoff, Etsuko Shihomi, Peggy Lee Brennan

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Where Fantasies are Real & Reality is Fantastic.

Plot: The peaceful planet of Jillucia has been nearly wiped out by the Gavanas, whose leader takes orders from his mother rather than the Emperor. King Kaiba sends out eight Liabe holy seeds, each to be received by a chosen one to defend the Gavanas. Each recipient, ranging from hardened General Garuda to Gavana Prince Hans to young Terrans Meia, Kido, and Aaron all have different reactions to being chosen.

My rating: 4/10

Will I watch it again? NOOOOOOO!

[from the trailer]: "Never before has the screen erupted with more spectacle! More excitement!"

Really? Try STAR WARS from just a few months earlier.

This isn't so much of a STAR WARS (1977) clone as anything else. There are a few similarities to SW (like the hero theme you can hear in the trailer at 2:06) which came out the year before but then George Luca$ borrowed from shit that came before, too. BUT the timing makes it clear that they are definitely trying to capitalize on the worldwide success of SW. No doubt about that. Hell, I would have, too. MESSAGE FROM SPACE looks good as it should from the man who also directed BATTLE ROYALE (2000), THE GREEN SLIME (1968) and TORA! TORA! TORA! (1970).

Ultimately, MESSAGE is a kids outer space flick that's perfectly suited for that audience but not really for adults. It just bored the piss out of me. It wasn't easy staying awake, I'll tell you. Maybe if I saw this as a kid in '78, riding off the high of STAR WARS, I might have dug it but would have lost interest by the time I reached 13. The special effects are pretty good but nowhere near as good as SW which is kind of unfair as Luca$ did raise the bar a few notches with that one. And if you're looking for some Sonny Chiba action, forget it. He's barely in the picture and even then, not until the last 20 minutes or so. Sit this one out and be happy with your decision.

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