Film (1959; vt Battle in Outer Space; vt The World of Space). Toho. Directed by Inoshiro Honda. Written by Shinichi Sekizawa, based on a story by Jojiri Okami. Starring Ryô Ikebe, Kyôko Anzai, Koreya Senda, Minori Takada, Leonard Stanford, Harold Conway, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Hisaya Itô. 93 minutes. Colour.
Using a destructive "freeze ray" that counteracts the force of Gravity, flying saucers from another planet (> UFOs) blow up a Space Station, bring about a train wreck by elevating a bridge, and cause damaging floods; they also take mental control of a Scientist and instruct him to attempt some additional sabotage. After determining that the flying saucers are being launched from a base on the Moon, the people of Earth send two Spaceships there to seek out and destroy the base. Once they have landed, the crew members get into tank-like hovercraft and travel to the base, which they are eventually able to destroy with a heat ray; a woman is also attacked by the Aliens, who seem like small, chattering creatures in their spacesuits, but she is rescued by a crewmate. While they are attacking, a crewman who has also been taken over by the aliens breaks free of his bonds and manages to blow up one spaceship before the destruction of the base returns him to his senses. To make up for his actions, he tells everyone that he will stay behind to fend off the remaining flying saucers while the others take off in the surviving spaceship. To stop further attacks, the nations of Earth then unite to construct a fleet of space fighter planes, which are able to destroy the aliens' mothership and several smaller flying saucers when they seek to destroy the Cities of Earth.
Though sometimes described as a loose sequel to Chikyu Boeigun (1957; vt The Mysterians; vt Earth Defense Force), the films are related only in that they both feature alien invasions, and this film's briefly observed aliens do not resemble the humanlike invaders of the earlier film. This is also a better film than its predecessor, although it is not as well known: its plot is more logical than usual, and the special effects involved in creating its spacecraft and its lunar surface are unusually persuasive. (The Moon's colours are off, though: the ground is brown, not gray, and the sky is deep blue, not black.) Still, one grows weary of its interminable battles solely involving blasts of deadly rays, although the final battles involving the space fighter planes do seem to anticipate the final scenes of George Lucas's Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977). [GW]
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