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Tagline: You’re in Space beyond Space.
Year: 1962 Runtime: 77 min
Director: Sidney W. Pink
Writer: Sidney W. Pink (story), Ib Melchior (script)
Starring: John Agar, Greta Thyssen, Carl Ottosen
Journey to the Seventh Planet starts with a voiceover: “There are no limits to imagination.” That may be true, but there are limits on talent. Journey to the Seventh Planet is less a movie and more one giant plot hole.
Year is 2001. The U.N. is the sole government of the world. Humanity has advanced to a point where “man has learned to live with himself.” Unfortunately this means mingling with the Irish. Without war or famine or anyone of color (smooth move there, Adolf!), man’s only concern is space travel. Specifically making a trip to Uranus.
Note: Uranus is pronounced your-AHN-us. No poo-poo jokes here, kids. This is serious business.
Just as it is in the real world, scientists are the übermensch of this brave new world, none more than the astronaut, or Spacetronaut in the parlance of the kool kids. Five of the top Spacetronauts are sent on this mission: Commander Eric, Captain Don Graham, Karl, Svend and Barry O’Sullivan (ugh!). Science is especially strong in these men. Where a normal person would be nonplussed by the bizarre things they are exposed to, these guys are barely apathetic. That is, until it comes to women. Basically this is a bunch of drunk frat boys on Saturday night.
Of the five, Captain Don, or Happy Harry Hard-on, is the biggest pervert. Not five minutes into the trip he’s spouting, “Boy was she biological. I wish I could have taught her my kind of biology.” In fact, when they finally make it to Uranus and they find women (FROM EARTH) who couldn’t possibly be there—Space Hallucinations™—, his first thought is to hit on them. In Happy Harry’s defense, when he meets a girl he’s being trying to date (ON EARTH) he asks if she’s real. I mean, Space Hallucinations™ wouldn’t lie about that kind of stuff, would they?
Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself, much like the movie.
Here’s the thing, Uranus is inhabited by a Space & Time Brain Creature™. I understand what a Space Brain Creature is, but this one is also described as being from Time. That is… I have no explanation, nor does the movie. So, suffice it to say it’s a Space & Time Brain Creature™ and leave it at that.
A similarly inexplicable plot point is the weightlessness the Spacetronauts experience—ONLY—when they establish orbit around Uranus. While weightless they are more susceptible to the Space & Time Brain Creature’s™ mental powers. Not that it matters, all it does is hypnotize the Spacetronauts for a couple minutes. During this timeout it admonishes them for their folly and lays out his evil plans to destroy them. Or not.
Thing is, the Space & Time Brain Creature™ can’t make up it’s mind about the humans. One minute it’s going to destroy them, the next minute it needs them. What could it possibly need the humans for? To escape Uranus. Why? It needs to take over one of their bodies. At which point it can escape in their ship.
Something else I failed to mention in my haste, it can create matter. Anything. Case in point, when the ship lands, the Spacetronauts see a lush, verdant forest outside their ship. When they investigate, they find that there is a breathable atmosphere. As Commander Eric reminisces about home, the village he grew up in magically appears in the distance. There they find the first of the Space Hallucinations™ that gets Capt. Happy Harry all tumescent.
Assuming you’re not a wet rutabaga, you’re probably asking yourself, “Uhm, why does the Space & Time Brain Creature™ need the humans again? Can’t he just make a spaceship? And a body to possess?” To which I would answer, I dunno.
Putting that aside, as the Spacetronauts are exploring they find the edge of the force-field bubble the Space and Time Brain Creature™ has made for them. Commander Eric knows that the answers lie on the other side, so high-ho it’s off they go. The Space & Time Brain Creature™ starts blubbering on about how it knows the humans are coming through to kill it. It loves it some exposition.
“But wait,” you might be thinking, “aren’t they just going through to get some answers? Isn’t it their mission to explore Uranus?” And you’d be right in wondering about that. I would even go further to remind that the Space & Time Brain Creature™ telepathy. Moreover, it’s been using it’s telepathy to search the Spacetronauts minds. That is how it’s been creating the forest, the village, and the people. Sufficiently confused?
I can only raise my shoulders, dumbfounded, and smile in answer.
Let’s move past that bit. Get to the good stuff. When the Spacetronauts finally see the Space & Time Brain Creature™, and it’s wavy-blue mental-radiation-hypnosis-thing, Commander Eric, the heretofore level-headed leader, decides they have to kill the Space & Time Brain Creature™. If they don’t they won’t be able take off.
I know. I said move on to the good stuff and all I’ve done is present more greasy whale vomit. This time you’re asking yourself, what the hell does a wavy-blue mental-radiation-hypnosis-thing have to do with taking off? Also, is another of the Space & Time Brain Creature’s™ powers clairvoyancy? I throw up my hands in frustration and answer, “Everything?” and “Yes?”
Like I wrote earlier, this isn’t a movie, it’s a plot hole.
Now that the Space & Time Brain Creature™ knows they Spacetronauts are out to kill it, it has to protect itself. Given all it’s powers why is it a problem to destroy the humans? It can make monsters, women, a town, forests, whatever. It doesn’t even have to do that. It could simply wait until the Spacetronauts are walking around in the forest or town, which they do without space suits, and make the atmosphere disappear. Problem solved. But it doesn’t. I can only assume the filmmakers were under the impression that by this point in the film you would either be knuckle deep into seventh base or passed out in a puddle of your own brain sauce. Either way you wouldn’t be paying attention to what’s going on.
I guess I’ll just power on blindly, too.
Laser burlets won’t kill the Space & Time Brain Creature™. I don’t know how they know this, they never really tried, but moving hastily along— The only way to destroy Space & Time Brain Creature™ is with a special acetylene torch gun. That they have to make. From scratch. Luckily there’s a blacksmith’s shop in town with all the necessary tools and materials. Zip, boom, bah, they build it. Tuckered from all the work, they decide to call it a night and leave the ONLY MEANS TO KILL the Space & Time Brain Creature™ in the blacksmith’s shop. Of course, the Space & Time Brain Creature™ uses the Space Hallucinations™ to sucker young Karl in order to steal the gun and replace it with a fake. This further begs logic in that, why does the Space & Time Brain Creature™ need to steal the gun? Because the fake won’t work? Because the Space & Time Brain Creature™ can make the gun disappear? Come on, Pink and Melchior. You’re killing me here. Did you sneeze out mouthfuls of Alpha-Bits on a page and call the mess a script?
Before I stroke out let me finish this. Despite stealing their special gun, the Spacetronauts manage to kill the Space & Time Brain Creature™. They freeze it with liquid oxygen. Frozen, their laser burlets work. Phew. Done. Thank Christ!
Or am I?
Sadly, I’m not. Nor were Pink and Melchior. Once the Spacetronauts finally kill the Space & Time Brain Creature™ the world around them starts falling apart, cracking and erupting like an uranusquake-volcano. At the ship they come across Gretta, Commander Eric’s girl—whom he’s been eschewing the whole film. Suddenly Commander Eric changes his mind, decides she’s real, and brings her with them. WHAT? Seriously? Before they break out of the atmosphere, she disappears.
I can’t take it anymore. I give up.
Watch the trailer for “Journey to the Seventh Planet”