Friday, May 1, 2009

Cheesy Sci-Fi Movie Review: Assignment Outer Space

Also known as "Space Men," "Assignment Outer Space" is an unusual old science fiction film directed by Antonio Margheriti, AKA Anthony Dawson, famous (or infamous) for films such as Battle of the Worlds. (Never seen that one, but any movie with the line "I have one advantage over all of you. Calculus!" must be pretty entertaining.)

This movie, like some others, is in the public domain, and is worth checking out (if you're tolerant of slower old movies) because it represents an achievement (if this page is to believed): "Less than 30.000 US$ [US$ 30,000], and it was completed in 20 days, including the special effects."

Watching the movie, it was fairly easy to dismiss it as simply being a rather more thoughtful science fiction flick. It featured space travel portrayed in relatively realistic fashion, the only things that appear odd now (other than the cheap effects) being things that newer ideas have rendered obsolete (e.g., use of a fueling cable-spacecraft couldn't dock in the film). The most insane and impossible thing in the film is an invisible forcefield that vaporizes things, but it's the only part of the film that feels "truly" impossible, and even that is a relatively small order of magnitude harder to believe than the rest. (There is some weird technobabble here and there, but that's forgivable.)

The character Al (spacesuit number X15) was a somewhat older black guy, and my sister positively adored him. He was certainly a striking character; probably the only one with his head screwed on straight.

Not really much to say about it, because it's not actually that crazy a movie. Either you'll be pleasantly surprised by it because it's actually a halfway decent movie, or you'll hate it because it's dull as can be.

-Signing off.

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