Sunday, October 14, 2007
First let me say that this Italian sci-fi epic from 1965 is a production design dream come true for me. Clean, streamlined miniature sets with beautiful old school Tomorrowland-style architecture, funky futuristic furniture, mod fashions, amazing hairdos and some far-out vehicles. You name it - it's the future that I wish we were living in right now. So I highly recommend this film to anyone who is a fan of this style of design.
As for the storyline, I'll try to convey it the best I can: It's the future and Earth is ruled by evil transnational corporations (think Haliburton). Aboard a space station we meet Cmdr. Mike Halstead and biochemist Dr. Nurmi of the Chembiomed corporation (aka CBM). Nurmi and his staff have set up a laboratory on the station in order to cultivate replacement human organs for transplants. Halstead doesn't like Nurmi and his experimental organs - and isn't too thrilled that doctor is after his slutty sexpot of a girlfriend, Lt. Connie Gomez. Mad scientist Nurmi invites Connie to join him for a spontaneous holiday getaway. Connie first refuses to go, but them he gets her drunk and she's like - yeah, okay, I'll go.
We are soon treated to a crazy minimalistic dance performance. Then Halstead gets a call from Earth asking him to investigate a situation involving some strange disappearances. You see some voluptuous big-haired women and mysterious bald sunglass-wearing Zombie-men in black trenchcoats (did this look inspire THE MATRIX?) have been roaming the planet, shrinking people down to Barbie doll size!!! One such attempt goes awry when they only manage to shrink an old man down to midget-size, but only after they kill his young bratty granddaughter. They also attack a studly male gymnist who is wearing a skimpy brilliant blue leotard and they try to kidnap Halstead's apparently Asian nephew - but his non-Asian mom intercedes. Later, Halstead discovers a briefcase full of miniaturized victims, a four-armed (!) dead zombie man, and a bunch of the big-haired women. What does this all mean??? I just don't know.
When Halstead comes across a list of the victims, roads start to lead back to CBM and the wild, wild planet Delphus - where CBM conducts most of their research...and just happens to be where Nurmi took Connie for their little getaway! Once on Delphus, Halstead confronts Nurmi, who reveals his ultimate goal is to create a new master race of perfect people. Beautiful women and physically perfect men. He's doing this by kidnapping them and shrinking them down to doll size and then blowing them back up to normal size. I'm not sure what the heck this all has to do with the zombies and the replacement organs that they grow. Am I missing something here? Maybe I fell asleep and didn't know it.
It turns out his plans for Connie are even more evil - Nurmi wants to somehow "merge" himself with her to form the perfect person. Halstead and his men decide it's time to kick Nurmi's ass and all sorts of chaos ensues- ending with gallons of not-quite-gelled Jello-O bursting through the walls of the CBM complex. Complex indeed.
This movie had me asking "huh?" quite a bit - mostly because it sometimes felt I was watching more than one movie and that I was accidentally flipping channels. Everytime it seemed like something finally made sense, something strange would happen that would make me go "Huh?" again. For all that plus all the fabulous imagery, I have to give this one a big 8 outta 10. Apparently there are three sequels out there!!!