måndag 30 maj 2011

Mission Mars (1968)

There is a certain expectation when you look at a castlist and it includes Darren McGavin and Nick Adams, at least in my book. When you start watching the movie and it has a surfrock soundtrack and more stock footage than you've ever seen in a movie before, you know you are in for a ride. Darren McGavin and Nick Adams play astronauts about to go on a journey to Mars, both of them having some trouble with women, their ladies not wanting them to go into outer space. Especially Nick Adams ladyfriend who knows that Nick is a daredevil wanting to always go places that no one has gone before (a rather obvious plotpoint that inevitably will make Nick sacrifice himself for the greater good.). After about 45 minutes of the same stock footage repeated over and over ad over again (one scene repeated in reverse to simulate docking) they land on Mars and encounter a frozen Russian astronaut and some rather strange and hostile creatures (one of them a sphere that opens up looking a bit like a vagina).

That the budget was low on this one is an understatement, at least a fourth of the movie consists of stock footage and repeated scenes. The spacesuits are motorcyclehelmets with antennas on the top and the martian landscape is mostly a miniature. Not much happens on the journey to Mars and it drags a bit, consisting mostly of our actors doing really low budget spaceship things like being strapped on benches and swaying around pretending to be in a meteor swarm. But as soon as they arrive on the red planet, a bit of fun starts. The special effects are low budget but imaginative, and the creatures encountered more fun than usual. These arent your average martians, they're actually rather alien and no explanation is given for their behaviour, appropriate for their.. uhm.. "alien-ness?". The martian landscape is suitably atmospheric even though the miniatures very rarely match with the studiobased set but who cares? You dont go into a movie like this without expecting something like that and Darren McGavin and Nick Adams are both fun actors to watch and they do a decent job with the little resources they have.

Your average monsterscififlick then. If you like setups like this there is a good chance you might enjoy this movie, in spite of it's slow first half. I sure did.

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