Monday, May 11, 2015

The Angry Red Planet - 1959

Here's a good example of a film I liked except for the insufferable dialogue.  I knew I was going to start his review like that.  I know it's flawed logic to spend like half a page writing about one bad line, but you're about to see it happen.  In this film, Iris "Irish" is the sole female on board a spaceship heading to Mars, alongside Colonel Thomas (the obvious romantic interest), Professor Theodore (the old guy), and Sam Jacobs (the happy go lucky idiot).  At one point, after it's made clear Thomas is into Iris, he develops the nickname Irish for her because, well, she's Irish.  She says, "I can't tell if you're calling me by my name or my nationality," to which he replies, "When I call you by your name, you'll know it."

Whoa.  What the fuck.  I honestly don't know how I as an audience member of this film am supposed to take that line.  Is he just the biggest asshole in the history of the world?  Is he flirting with her in the most horrendous way possible?  Or is he just a totally oblivious to what that line sounds like?  What that line sounds like to me is something sexual.  I get almost an immediate sexual, and even somewhat kinky, idea of domination into my head.  Now maybe that's just me, because I'm kind of weird and whatever...but seriously!  Why the fuck would you say that?!  That is such an awkward thing to say, so littered with different meanings and interpretations.

She reacts the exact way one can to something like that being said.  Her mouth drops a little bit, she looks at him in disbelief, and just turns away.  If your idea of flirting with a girl is to shock her speechless with your apparent disregard for respect and decency, then you must be living a pretty weird life.  I'm all for 50's male/female interactions, believe me, but this is a moment that is just weirdly uncomfortable, badly scripted, and stands out.  Perhaps after that they realized they could never actually make these two get together. It's like in Project Moonbase, when the jerk guy says something like "I might have to take you over my knee and spank you."  It's super awkward, again strangely kinky, and she does not react like someone who has just been sexually harassed.

The movie otherwise is pretty good.  It features the CineMagic technique, which is to blend live action footage with animation.  The animation is bizarre and dark, which makes it look cool.  The Mars scenes all have a very surreal feeling to them which gives this film a very different feeling, more like a random dream than your usual sci fi space 50's bullshit.
The 4 previously mentioned peoples land on Mars, and discover some weird creatures there like the above spider-bat thing, and a few of the astronauts die, and then they take off and go back to Earth - that's your plot right there.  The story is told from a flashback perspective by Iris "Irish" Ryan as she is one of the only 2 survivors.  The other is the total dickface Thomas "you'll know it" O'Bannan.

The movie is kind of dark for the time, because although it starts out light and comedic, it eventually kills off two people, features crazy unstoppable monsters, and ends with humanity not only failing it's mission, but being unable to ever return to Mars.  In that aspect it's really cool.  The script sucks, the characters are annoying, and all, but the effects are grade A.  If you like bad sci fi that is.  They are actually grade like, D+, but for me they were grade A.
All that shit combined, I liked this movie, and I'm just super glad they didn't have Irish and Thomas do one of those really long, stiff, awkward kisses that's initiated when the dude does something macho like grabbing her by the arms and jerking her towards him.  The fact they never got together redeems this movie (a tiny bit) for me.  In the end, 3 stars.

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