Battle in Outer Space

1959 [JAPANESE]

Action / Sci-Fi

0
IMDb Rating 5.7 10 1225

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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MartinHafer 7 / 10

In context, this is actually a very good sci-fi film.

In the 1950s and 60s, quite a few Japanese sci-fi and horror films were sold to the US. Then, the studios chopped the films apart and inserted American actors into some of the scenes to supposedly make them more acceptable to the public. Perhaps this was true, but in all these cases you wish today that you could also see the original non-bastardized version as well. One of the most famous examples of this sort of film is the original "Godzilla"--where they added lots of footage of Raymond Burr saying and doing practically nothing of value! In fact, his pointless performance was parodied very cleverly on "Pinky & the Brain"...with Burr's character saying "...yes....yes...I see..." every time the camera cut to him! "Battle in Outer Space" was originally "Uchû Daisensô" but was sold to Columbia Pictures for American distribution and I assume, too, that changes were once again made for domestic distribution. Unlike many of these films, it has been unavailable for viewing due to the film's decomposition (the print turned red). Somehow, they've either restored it or found a decent copy, as recently it has finally been re-released on DVD as well as on local On Demand viewing--and I must say the glorious 1950s color is outstanding.

The film begins with a UFO attack on an Earth space station orbiting our planet. Soon, UFOs are seen all over the planet and naturally the governments of the Earth (led by the Japanese) are organizing to combat this. But the scourge is much worse--aliens have also been kidnapping humans and implanting them with devices to control them! And, when you think it can't get any worse, the aliens set up a base on the Moon--presumptively to use for an eventual attack on the planet. All this occurs just in the first 20 minutes! Can the human race survive in an eventual battle in outer space?! If you compare this to other space films of the era, "Battle in Outer Space" is actually quite exceptional--and is probably among the best. However, with huge advances in technology since this film was made, today it all comes off as very quaint. But, don't dismiss it so quickly--as I said, for its time it's very good. The action sequences (especially those in space where you can't see all the wires!) and effects are Japanese 1950s robot cool. The biggest weakness in the film is in its narrative and characters--which are a tad bland.

Thank goodness the Earth they had their flying weinermobiles! See the film and you'll know what I mean.

Reviewed by gavin6942 6 / 10

A Fun Sci-Fi Romp

The nations of the Earth unite in a common cause to fight off an invader from outer space.

The film is considered a loose or "nominal" sequel to "The Mysterians" (1957), jumping ahead several years to 1965, when Etsuko Shiraishi and Dr. Adachi, among others, are now heavily involved in the United Nations Space Research Center in Tokyo. The continuity is not important, though, and if someone did not see the earlier film they will not be confused in the least.

Although not the first time "Godzilla" director Honda takes on space, a topic on the forefront of everyone's minds in the late 1950s, this is probably one of his better explorations of the theme. It is always interesting to see what movie creators thought space travel and space suits. This film was able to correctly predict a fair number of things, and even takes a crack at what walking on the moon would look like.

Howard Thompson gave the film a generally positive review, stating, "The plot is absurd and is performed in dead earnest... the artwork is downright nifty, especially in the middle portion, when an earth rocket soars to the moon to destroy the palpitating missile base... the Japanese have opened a most amusing and beguiling bag of technical tricks, as death-dealing saucers whiz through the stratosphere... and the lunar landscape is just as pretty as it can be."

I have nothing to add to what Thompson has said, other than to note that critics today would likely be even more favorable in retrospect -- the film holds up well and displays a sense of fun and imagination rarely seen today.

Reviewed by Woodyanders 8 / 10

An enjoyable Japanese sci-fi alien invasion outing

A race of no-count aliens plan on invading earth. They make their base of operations on the moon. An expedition of folks made up of people from all over the world embark on a mission to the moon in order to thwart the dastardly extraterrestrials. Director Ishiro Honda relates the absorbing story at a reasonably snappy pace, maintains a serious tone throughout, and stages the stirring action with rip-roaring gusto. While the opening third is a bit slow and dull, the narrative fortunately picks up considerable steam and momentum once the mission is underway. The sequences on the moon are quite gripping and suspenseful. The spaceship dogfights are likewise very lively and exciting. Another memorable highlight occurs when the aliens destroy Tokyo. The cast give admirably sincere performances, with an especially stand-out turn by Yoshiro Tsuchiya as a scientist who falls prey to the aliens' ability to control human minds. Akira Ifukube contributes a robust and rousing score. Hajime Koizuma's bright color cinematography makes breathtaking use of the widescreen format. The squeaky-voiced aliens are a total hoot. Best of all, Eiji Tsuburaya's nifty and impressive special effects are truly something to behold, with striking matte paintings and nice miniatures (the opening scene with a train being wrecked rates as a particularly memorable moment). Moreover, there's even a positive and uplifting central message about how the human race can be a mighty and unbeatable force by banding together against a common foe. A solid and satisfying item.

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