Many people want to make science fiction movies. That is a tough genre to break into because the subject usually demands some top-notch effects and sets. Those things cost money.
Not to be dissuaded, the late 70s spawned an Italian production that didn’t see the need to have money, talent or a good story. This movie is ‘Cosmos: War of the Planets.’
A space crew sees what appears to be asteroids preparing to bombard their ship. It turns out, it is a mirage of something that happened many years before. This coincides with odd behavior from some crew members.
Soon enough, the ship is sent to explore an ‘unstable planet.’ Once there, they see that something fishy is going on and it may be the source of their recent bedlam.
Before we get into the meat of this film, it is important to convey just how cheaply made it was. Imagine an episode of the original ‘Star Trek’ series. Now, cut that budget in half. The makeup effects look as though someone just smeared a little gray foundation on an actor, stuck some psuedo-Vulcan ears on and called it a day. Even more troubling is the main villain which mostly seems to be a toy robot with a flashing mouth to signify speech. None of these complaints even mention the cheap sets, the visible strings which hold up actors and the ridiculous costumes the crew wears at all times.
As far as the story, it is deadly dull. There are talking scenes that seem to be never ending. This probably helped to mask the budget. A few things happen and there is some danger, but it is presented so ineptly that it is hard to care. People floating helplessly in space, being “chased” by a robot (the victims don’t really run away, opting to back away screaming ‘No!’ ad-nauseum while a blinking red light illuminates them) and weak stock footage negatives and random lights simulate a dangerous asteroid field.
The only moments of the film that even work a little bit is a late-game sequence where a crewmember who is possessed by the evil computer (huh?) goes on a killing spree. It will remind some of a dumbed-down variation of how many subsequent space movies reach their climax. You know: someone goes crazy and begins killing everyone either thanks to insanity or some supernatural causes. It just goes to show that real tension and entertainment value are more directly related to good plot choices than fancy special effects. The movie, overall, goes to show that if you want to make a science fiction movie, you will need some kind of budget.
Special features include: nothing. You’re lucky to get the movie.
Allegedly, ‘Cosmos: War of the Planets’ was made in an attempt to cash in on the success of ‘Star Wars.’ Comparing the two films in any way is about as lopsided a juxtaposition as one could make.
This has lapsed into public domain for a very good reason: it is just plain awful.
Not Rated 95 minutes 1977