Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Warning from Space (1956)
Warning from Space was the first Japanese sci-fi/kaiju movie in color and also made after Godzilla made a lot of money around the world. But Daiei Studios realized a bit too late that what they needed was BIG monsters and designed the posters to make the monsters look bigger (and also seemed to release promo material featuring fake screenshots from the film picturing the aliens as giants!). It actually got mostly negative reviews, but slowly became a small success all over the world, but since then it's quite forgotten and badly distributed.
I bought on DVD ages ago, released by the infamous public domain company Alpha Video and since then it's been collecting dust on the shelf. Until today, when I decided it was time to give it a spin. I wish I didn't wait so long, because this is a neat little sci-fi movie, partly inspired by American sci-fi's from the same time, but without losing its national identity.
There's UFO sightings all over
and weird starfish-style creatures is seen, and it's not imagination. Up there
somewhere a race of aliens really needs to contact us, but they look too weird
and we're just scared by their looks. One of the mutants into a woman and
through her the earthlings learn that a gigantic planet/sun/something is hurling
through space and it's gonna crash into the earth! What to do?! The planet is
getting closer and soon disasters strikes! Is it too late to save us all?! Tokyo
It's never too late. At least not in the magic of movies. Warning from Space is a damn nice little sci-fi flick which perfectly in with the other more down-to-earth productions like The H-Man and The Mysterians, and with that I mean movies who's not focusing by huge rubber monsters fighting other creatures in miniature cities. The story takes an interesting turn from being a normal alien invasion story to something more positive and constructive, maybe a unique hopefulness that sometimes can be lacking in alien invasion films from the time (where a new danger often lurks around the corner). The nuclear weapons also is used to something good instead of blasting each other to pieces or creating monsters. I know, it's stuff like this that we love, but instead there's a couple of nice disaster scenes towards the end - all using them same excellence in building miniatures as usual.
The coolest thing with Warning from Space is the design of the aliens, created by artist Tarō Okamoto. If you do a google image search of his name you'll see some of his statues and paintings and it's not surprising he got the job. It's the same kind of surrealistic, high-flying psychedelica we see in this movie. A couple of the statues could be monsters from Ultraman or Gamera! Another interesting thing is that it's claimed, in John Baxter's 1997 biography over Stanley Kubrick, that Warning from Space was one of several kaiju's that inspired Kubrick to explore the world of science fiction.
I'm very sure Warning from Space will get a better reputation the day it gets a remastered new English-friendly release. It's worth watching even on the Alpha DVD, the quality is passable and just crappy and not mega-crappy, but it's not a worthy disc for such a fine little movie.