DUB TECHNO Selection 096 Leaving Orbit
Barry was eventually freed thanks to the efforts of Team Flash, though in the process accidentally created more meta-humans. The self-described Fastest Man Alive was forced to take on the Fastest Mind Alive, Clifford DeVoe, who wished to revert humanity to a time before technology. It was also during this time Iris and Barry got married after fighting invaders from Earth-X and Team Flash first encountered Nora West-Allen, not realising until much later on that she was the daughter of Barry and Iris from the future who had traveled back in time to help stop Cicada. Although conflict arose when it came to light that Nora was working with Eobard Thawne in secret, the three of them grew immensely close. However, when Cicada II was defeated, a new timeline was formed, resulting in Nora being erased from the timeline, leaving Barry and Iris devastated.
DUB TECHNO || Selection 096 || Leaving Orbit
Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1965)After taking a much needed hiatus to work on other projects, I'm now ready to get back to movie reviews. I initially considered finishing my half-completed review of Godzilla versus Megaguirus, but my disk of that movie has since been scratched all to hell. So I decided to reach deep down into my smoking vault of oldies and came up holding 1965's Godzilla versus Monster Zero. Eek, this is not going to be pretty...Our feature was first released in Japan on December 19, 1965. It was originally titled Great Monster War and ran 96 minutes long. It didn't make it to America until July 29, 1970, for reasons that have never been fully explained. Here it was released as Invasion of Astro-Monster and was trimmed to 92 minutes. It was later released on home video under the more marketable title of Godzilla versus Monster Zero. The copy that I'll be reviewing is a pirated VHS purchased at a Japanese market in San Francisco and later ending up in my hands. It was released by Paramount in 1988 and the tape gives it a 93-minute running time. This one is a sequel to the very popular Ghidrah, the Three Headed Monster from 1964. That movie first introduced Ghidrah and the audiences loved him. The next Godzilla movie was rushed through production to capitalize on this interest and wisely revolved around Ghidrah as well. Godzilla versus Monster Zero is also the first in a long and often painful series of Godzilla movies featuring Godzilla involved in invasion attempts by aliens from other worlds. Following on the success of 1957's The Mysterians, Godzilla versus Monster Zero mirrors the 1960s fascination with aliens and space. This is probably the best of them, as it received the most effort in screenwriting and budget. From here on, they just got more and more silly. This was probably a result of lower and lower budgets than anything else.This movie also is auspicious because it gave us the first large-scale use of reused stock footage lifted from past Godzilla movies. This worked well enough that it became standard practice for the next fifteen years. I will point these out as they come along. All the usual Toho production staff are back for Godzilla versus Monster Zero. Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka, director Ishiro Honda, screenwriter Shinichi Sekizawa, composer Akira Ifukube and FX wizard Eiji Tsuburaya are all in their peak forms in this movie. Much of the cast is also veteran Toho players, and I will detail them as they appear in the movie. For the first time in the series, American and Japanese producers worked together. Thus, the American version is only a little different from the original Japanese version. Those changes that are evident will be dealt with as they pop up. As well, an American actor was a prime character in the movie. Ok, on to our show...Well, first we must get one thing clear. Despite some thoughts to the opposite, I'm firmly in the camp that this movie is indeed intended to take place in 1965. There are numerous reasons for this, and I'll hopefully get to some later. The most important is that by placing it in a contemporary 1965 timeline, all the other movies slide into place. We open with the film credits, the usual stuff. The only thing notable is that the American actor Nick Adams gets top billing here. I'm sure in the Japanese version he didn't. We then go to a lingering title card that says, "A mysterious planet has been discovered beyond Jupiter, and Earth has sent an exploratory spacecraft." Then a bad visual of our spaceship zipping through space. [Editor Pam: No kidding, it looks like something a bunch of sixth-graders put together. Pretty typical of low-budget science fiction movies from that time period.] Aboard are our two heroes, two astronauts who will play the pivotal roles. First, the spaceship needs some detailing. It's your standard 1960s spaceship, looking like an ICBM with four long fins that might be engine nacelles. It's called the "P-1" and has a crew of just two, despite its large size. Inside, it has the standard pre-Star Trek banks of levers, dials and blinking lights. P-1.The two pilots are Glenn and Fuji. Glenn is played by 35-year old Nick Adams. He was an American actor of some note in the states, having been nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar just two years before. He was also having a steamy, illicit affair with his leading lady costar Kumi Mizuno, which was tabloid fodder in the mid 1960s. Adams would end up going back to his wife after Mizuno abandoned him, leaving Japan, and becoming more and more depressed. He eventually committed suicide by drug overdose in 1968. This was a sad ending to a promising career. Adams speaks English throughout the entire film, despite the rest of the cast speaking Japanese. In the Japanese version, his voice is dubbed. Glenn.Astronaut Fuji is played by the outstanding Akira Takarada, the hero of the 1954 Godzilla. Takarada was already one of Toho's finest actors and most recognizable faces. Here, he's in full-bore leading-man macho-mode. Fuji.The ship and crew are part of an Earth agency called the "World Space Authority", which is kind of a NASA for everyone. This multi-national group and their fancy spaceship are surely the result of studying the alien material remaining behind after the Mysterians were defeated in 1957. Eight years is enough to reverse-engineer a spaceship, or at least a propulsion system. This seems to be the top reason people want to put this movie in the future, but if you take into account the aborted Mysterian invasion, it still works in 1965.Our brave astronauts.We cut now to the WSA headquarters, which is a bunch of miniature building sets that just scream, "Monster, smash me!" A Johnson Space Center-esque control room is monitoring the flight of the P-1. Here we meet Doctor Sakurai, the head man at the WPA. He's your typical black-frame glasses/white lab coat-wearing scientist type. To keep all these Japanese names straight for us, I'll call Doctor Sakurai, "The Doctor" from here on. The Doctor.The P-1 is relaying them some co-ordinates, asking for a location verification. The co-ordinates are on an X, Y, and Z axis on a 3-D grid, which just sounds strange. It's also strange that the communication seems to take place without any delay for the incredible distance between the ship and the Earth.They're also flying at "1,000 kilometres per second". Seeing as how the average distance between Earth and Jupiter is about 629 million kilometres, this is an impressive figure. At 1,000 kph, the P-1 would take about 7.3 days to travel this distance. This is blindingly quick, and certainly far beyond anything that man can do now. More evidence that we're seeing a reverse-engineered alien powerplant. They also state they are headed for Planet X in the "Scorpion constellation". I assume they mean Scorpio. This makes little sense, but sounded cool at the time. It makes it seems that the planet is actually inside the constellation, when it's clearly not. As stars and planets move in relation to Earth, it would be pointless to use constellations as landmarks when traveling within our solar system. Once the ship's status is confirmed, Astronaut Fuji asks WPA HQ to give his little sister Haruno a message. He wants her to "not do anything foolish until he gets back". Hmm...This cryptic message is delivered by The Doctor to Haruno Fuji. Here she's employed by the WPA as The Doctor's assistant, I think. The fact that this young girl has this job is probably a sign that Astronaut Fuji has some serious pull in the Agency. She's pissed off that her big brother keeps meddling in her life. It seems she wants to hook up with this brainy nerd scientist inventor dude, and her macho brother does not approve. The Doctor seems rather sympathetic to her, perhaps he's the sensitive type. Haruno Fuji is a pretty girl, but with an oddly shaped nose and a flat chest. She reminds me of the Killer School Girl Bodyguard in Kill Bill, Volume I. To keep her straight, we will call her "Little Sister" for the rest of the review.Little Sister.We now cut out to Little Sister's boyfriend's pad. His name is Tetsuo Teri and he plays the typical socially helpless geeky inventor stereotype to the max, dangerously approaching campy levels. Is it so hard to imagine a well-groomed, socially-adept inventor? Why must all scientist types be wild-haired eccentric loners? Damn, you, Einstein with your crazy hair! You ruined it for us all! Just a thought. We know Tetsuo will end up being the hero, as all goofy inventors end up saving the day in Japanese movies. Tetsuo.We see that Tetsuo is apparently living at home with his mother (or some other older female relative, or maybe his landlady), which pushes his geek level even higher. His project is the "Ranger", which is a personal security alarm for women. It's in what appears to be a makeup compact and produces a shrill siren noise. We learn here that he has an interested buyer for the Ranger, more later. I'm going to jump a bit out of sequence here, but that's ok. We now see Little Sister and Tetsuo out to a swanky restaurant for dinner. Little Sister is concerned that they can only afford water and breadsticks. Hmm...working as the personal assistant to the WPA's head man must pay crap. You'd think she would have some extra spare cash. Anyway, Tetsuo tells her not to worry, he has sold his invention. The buyer is the horribly named "World Education Corporation", an international toy company.Enter the WEC's corporate rep, who is meeting Tetsuo here to finalize the deal. This would be Miss Namikawa. The very lovely Miss Namikawa is played by the very lovely 28-year old Kumi Mizuno. She has continued to act regularly over the last forty years and has even agreed to appear in the latest Godzilla movie slated for 2005. Mizuno is perhaps the darling of 1960s giant movie monster buffs because of her acting ability, stage presence and extreme natural hotness. As mentioned, at the time this movie was made, she was having a steamy affair with her costar Nick Adams. Miss Namikawa!When first we meet Miss Namikawa, as she sits down at their table, she's the spitting image of a Japanese Jackie Kennedy. Her purple dress is form fitting and she has a pillbox hat with a slight veil. A very striking look. It's clear that Little Sister is uncomfortable with this curvy bombshell talking to her boyfriend. She hands Tetsuo a two page contract, telling him that he will receive payment only when his product is marketed. Tetsuo, perhaps blinded by the money or the girl, signs it without even reading it. Dumb boy, that might come back to haunt you... However, the compensation is a whopping $100,000. In 1965, that was a hefty chunk of money, maybe a million bucks in today's money. Miss Namikawa then turns to Little Sister. Upon hearing her name, she pegs her as Astronaut Fuji's sister. This makes Little Sister feel a little better. It appears that WEC is very interested in the space flight. Hmm...Poor Little Sister, stunned in the presence of such beauty...Miss Namikawa leaves and the couple talk a bit more. We see that Tetsuo is happy to have something to rub in Astronaut Fuji's nose. Little Sister seems happy too, but is concerned that 100 gs is way too much for his invention. Hmm...Back to the WPA HQ, where we get a briefing by The Doctor for a gaggle of reporters. In this bit of exposition, we learn that Planet X was not detected before because it was "very dark" and they couldn't see it through telescopes. They only found it only by observing radio waves. Ok, that makes no sense. I always thought that you spotted large masses in space by observing them blocking out visible stars as they cross the sky. And how would it be very dark? If I'm not mistaken, Jupiter, being pretty darn big itself, produces a lot of light that would surely be reflected by Planet X. And whatever happened to finding planets by watching the way their gravity affects the orbits of other planets? Am I missing something here? And this is a revelation in itself. I had watched this movie when I was much younger and came away with the impression that Planet X had somehow entered our solar system just recently, looping in from some other galaxy. Now, I realize that they want us to believe that Planet X was here all along, hiding behind Jupiter and defying observation until 1965. I think I'd be more inclined to believe that Planet X was a visitor...Anyway, The Doctor also explains that the "magnetic waves" from Planet X have been causing all the weird weather problems recently. This is not shown at all in this movie, but perhaps explains the strange heat wave remarked upon in the beginning of Ghidrah from 1964. This was unexplained in that movie, but now makes sense. This is further proof that our movie is meant to take place in 1965. When asked if the mysterious planet harbors intelligent life, The Doctor says that they'll just have to wait and see what P-1 finds. And back out into space we go. The P-1 is in final approach to Planet X now. An interior shot shows a control system labeled in English. This is a bit confusing, as clearly Fuji speaks no English. We get a visual of the planet Jupiter, and Planet X looming large behind it. From this visual, it seems that Planet X is huge, perhaps 10% of Jupiter's mass. As well, it seems to be relatively close to Jupiter. Certainly, if it was that close, Jupiter's extreme mass would have long ago captured it and made it a moon. And a body the size of Planet X and as close to Jupiter as it shows would be wracked by tidal forces from Jupiter's gravity. And it sure doesn't look very dark here. In fact it looks pretty bright, and blue. Someone didn't do their homework here.The P-1 nearing the planet.Anyway, the astronauts ask WPA for permission to "act on their own authority" once they land. The Doctor sighs and says he can't control them from so far away. What? So our two astronauts answer to no one? Imagine if two shuttle crewmen told NASA control that they were just going to do what ever they please and NASA said, "Fine, not much we can do to stop you." So they head in. The planet's surface looks bluish-gray and pockmarked by craters, and there is apparently no atmosphere. They steer for either a "grassy plain" or an "open sea". The techno-babble of the P-1 is great, and they see that their "radar thermometer reads fifteen degrees". Radar thermometer? How does that one work? [Editor Pam: I Googled it, and it seems there actually is such a thing. It's used to measure the temperature of a surface without actually touching the surface with the thermometer. I have no idea if it existed in 1965, or if the scriptwriters just made up something that sounded cool.] They comment that that seems awfully warm for so far away from the sun, and it certainly is way too warm. The surface temperature of Uranus, the second planet in line after Saturn, is like -300 degrees. The surface of Planet X.The P-1 lands like most 1960s spaceships, by turning around and descending to a standing position, supported by extendable legs. Once landed, the crew exits the ship via a nifty elevator. Here we see two big Japanese flags on the hull of the ship. I thought this was a "World" space effort?The surface of the planet is suitably desolate, rocky and eerie. It reminds us of so many Star Trek planets. There's a considerable amount of natural light, perhaps too much for the distance from the sun. Expecting some sort of trouble perhaps, Fuji is armed with a nifty ray gun pistol. Fuji with his flag and his ray gun.OK, Glenn stays at the ship to set up some instrument. Fuji takes a flag and goes up on a ridge to plant it. The flag is cool, with three small flags in a row on it. On the top is what appears to be the United Nations flag, then Japan, and then America at the bottom. The order of flags from top to bottom is interesting, in an American movie the US flag would surely be on the top.Glenn's instrument tells him that the gravity is about 2/3 that of Earth and the pressure is about half. Well they sure seem to be walking just fine. With gravity 2/3, you'd think they would be bouncing a bit, eh? They also see some thunder and lighting (!!!), which is just flat out weird, but they give it just a passing comment. So Fuji heads up the ridge and plants the flag. Suddenly, he sees two sets of footprints nearby! He tries to warn Glenn but he doesn't answer. He runs back to the ship to find it, and Glenn, gone! Suddenly an "elevator shaft" rises up out of the ground. A voice commands Fuji to enter the cylinder. The voice is identified as that of the "Controller of Planet X". At first resistant, Fuji is convinced when a blue laser beam zaps the pistol out of his hand and the voice tells him that Glenn and the P-1 are below the surface of the planet. Stranded alone, Fuji has no choice but to comply.Hmmm...I've seen this before...The elevator takes him down into a large, cavernous complex beneath the surface. He's led by the voice down a series of passageways. The complex appears to be empty and devoid of any sort of sign of habitation. All the sound effects are here are total Star Trek rip-offs, especially all the humming and tonal buzzing.Coming out finally to a "conference room" of sorts, Fuji finds Glenn. Whoa, seeing them both now standing side by side, we see that either Nick Adams is inordinately short for a white guy or Akira Takarada is inordinately tall for an Oriental man. [Editor Pam: Both, probably. IMDB says Akira Takarada is six feet tall. It doesn't give Nick Adams' height, but judging from other films I've seen him in, he was fairly short.] As they chat, three aliens enter the room, walk silently over to a large, fancy chair, one sits down and the other two stand at attention behind him. These are the residents of Planet X. And they are Devo. Yes, it's not my invention, but they really do look like the 1980s techno band Devo. They are really Asian men wearing ultra-tight leather bodysuits with these high-collared vests. On their heads are what looks like motorcycle helmets with an antenna glued to the top. Wide, amber sunglasses cover their eyes. Whip it good!The