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|Index||16 reviews in total|
If this is the shape of things to come, thank God you live in the 21st Century. This film is perfect for spoofing. Notably bad moments - when the Starstreaker spaceship hits top speed. This is represented by having the cheap model ship veer from the left to the right (while still appearing to be stationary), a slight increase in noise and by having the actors look awed. One of the least impressive effects I have ever seen. The villain's death is worth waiting for too. Resigned to his fate, Palance sits in his chair and waits for the planet to explode around him. During this cataclysmic moment a large piece of ceiling falls on his head. Instead of braining him as you might expect it simply bounces off. Palance looks as surprised as everyone else. Oh, and those robots.....oh dear!
The problem with having a legitimate name, like H.G. Wells, is that some
people use it to make their work seem legitimate. That is the case with
this film. It has nothing to do with the Wells story, and has little
of its own to recommend it.
It does have legitimate actors in it and that is what is confusing. Why Oscar winner Jack Palance, and Carol Lynley, of Poseidon Adventure fame, would agree to even read for this movie is beyond understanding. It must have been a lost bet or a tax write off of some sort.
Now please understand, I like bad Sfi-Fi movies. I will even recommend "The Giant Claw" just for the silly puppet bird monster. I saw this film, in a theater, on Christmas Eve, when the doorman was feeling in the spirit and let us in for free. It still was not worth the money.
Remember, you do not get time wasted back at the end of your life. Do not waste the time seeing this "film."
Absolutely Awful! This movie has nothing in common with the 1936 classic movie with a similar title. I wonder what the "pitch" was like, "Let's remake one of the most important early science fiction movies written by of the great early science fiction writers.....but we are going to change everything but the title." Think of it as "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" remade and set in metropolitan Chicago about a young advertising executive, his hectic life, and a loveable dog named "Nemo"
What's most striking about this hilariously awful film is that someone
actually thought that it was worth putting up money to make it. Two years
after Star Wars and Close Encounters, someone actually felt that terrible
dialogue and direction foisted upon decent actors like Jack Palance and
Barry Morse, special effects out of a high school film class, a cheesily
overwrought synthesizer score, and clunky 50's toy-robot villains would
for a worthwhile movie.
I recently saw it with the benefit of fast forward (as another commenter said, the only way to watch this film) and have to wonder if it's really a parody. Everything about it is so stereotypically and perfectly awful, one wonders if the director was pulling a stunt like Princeton physicist Alan Sokal's hoax "postmodern physics" article in a doofy po-mo "science" journal.
But Carol Lynley looks great, as does the Canadian National Exhibition complex in Toronto lit from behind.
I too, saw this excuse for a movie in theaters expecting it to be a remake of the 1936 classic. Talk about major lunch-bag let down! The only worth while event of sitting through this insult was listening to the wise-cracks and jocularities coming from the audience. Watching Barry Morse (a fine actor) humiliate himself with contortionistic facial expressions related to an attack of hemorrhoids was laughable! Jack Palance(another fine actor)didn't fair any better with his army of robots looking like walking garbage cans! All in all a complete waste of time. Possibly twenty years from now this might become a cult classic or mercifully disappear out of cinematic history!
Makes a great double feature of bad films paired with Space Mutiny(1988)or Starship Invasions(1977). I remember there being some hype for this film in Starlog and other genre mags of the time, and that Barry Morse was headlining it(along with Jack Palance and Carol Lynley) and that Sylvia Anderson(Space:1999, UFO) was producing it and involved in aspects of the design. Well, Anderson walked early on, signing herself off it, but not after signing on Barry Morse from her Space:1999 haunts, to star in this. The film was to be made in Canada and, to feature some "top line" visual effects and miniatures by Brick Price.It's ghastly from the get-go. A disco-inspired theme song opening the show(this was 1979) and we go to a moon base which just happens to be a futuristic(then)office building outside of Toronto and we're told in that casual, expository way, that the "earth-like" conditions outside the windows, complete with clouds and trees, are all inside a dome with a "sunsphere" providing a familiar view for the people inside. How convenient. Barry Morse puts on an American accent for this, not his familiar grandfatherly British accent. Jack Palance plays "Omus" an evil kind of guy(he played the same kind of "evil guy" in an episode of Buck Rogers about the same time) who has these walking-garbage can robots who look totally ridiculous and awkward. He also laughs, for no apparent reason only that he's amazed himself, which isn't hard. All of the costumes of the young people look like they just roller boogied to the moon. The same corridor is used again and again for "chase" scenes-they just change directions. The miniatures are pretty bad-fighters that have model parts of the "K-7 Space Station" on the front end. The FX work is largely some glitzy animation that's passable at first, but just gets more annoying. Landing on another planet, it looks just like some empty lot or tract of land in Canada. Supposedly this was to be a much more ambitious production, with Mike Trim having done some production drawings and miniatures made in England-that all went when Sylvia Anderson walked off it. In fact, that's what Morse was led to believe when he signed on. (I read where he said he was taken aback at the cheapness of everything, but honored his professional commitment and did his job and finished it, as he agreed to do.) Harry Allan Towers (no slouch at cheap films)came in and the quality was replaced by the thrift of just getting the film done. I admit I was pretty shocked it was so low-budget. I'd accepted that it was a Canadian film, for the time, and figured it would be lower end, but this took the cake.
This should be in the top 100 worst movies of all time. Like many cult classics it improves with age as its unintentional hilarity increases with time. I saw Shape of Things to Come on opening night without the benefit of any advance reviews. At the time I felt that my hard earned part-time summer job savings had never been so wasted. However, now I split a gut in Plan 9 fashion with the added benefit of fast forward. Only if bad SciFi amuses you should you give this a try. The special effects are stunningly bad at times. Palance and Lynley mail in their performances (and for Lynley, think worse than Poseidon Adventure - yikes!). I don't know if this was ever on Mystery Science Theater 3000; but that would be the perfect venue for viewing this space junk.
If you were a kid in the seventies and loved Star Wars and the cheesy
derivative clones it inspired, from 'Jason of Star Command' to
'Galactica', then this is for you. Of the bigger Star Wars-inspired
space fantasies of the era, 'Shape of Things to Come' may have the most
most in common with 1979-1981's 'Buck Rogers in the 25th Century' movie
and TV series. Though Buck's budget had the advantage, the overall look
is quite similar. The cheesy "futuristic" art design, materials and
props that were available and may have looked 'far-out' to the 1980 eye
are all in place. The lead actress has Erin Gray's 'Wilma Deering'
hairdo, and, hey, there's Jack Palance, who played an evil villain in a
Buck Rogers 2-parter, playing, well, a evil villain, in a, well, very
similar costume. Having Barry Morse from the popular 70's British show
'Space:1999' also thrown in makes for good measure. There's the
oh-so-imitated renegade robot, with his domed head and oddly 'Robby the
Robot'-esquire body. He's the comic relief. Noting a theme? It's the
era. Appreciation of this film is probably purely generational, because
the movie is BAD. But it has immense charm. Watching this for the first
time in 2009, at age 41, I felt as if I were watching a perfect spoof
of the genre I am so nostalgic for.
- Brooke Ellis
A sinful waste of good actors. I saw this with my father in 1979 and we
agreed then that it was the worst film we had ever seen. We have not
changed our opinions since.
The airfix special effects, the purple blood, the attempt to circumvent zero-budget production-design with cheap sci-fi chicanery in the dialogue....above all the JUMP TO HYPERSPACE! ...in which a plastic model continues to pass tortoise-like in front of a black curtain with a few holes representing stars at exactly the same speed it was doing before.
Tear out your eyes before buying this, you'll be happier.
I had never known that H.G. Wells wrote a novel called "The Shape of
Things to Come" until I saw the 1979 movie. Having seen the movie, I
did a little research and found that the movie had practically nothing
in common with the novel. It sounds as though the novel had a plot
similar to "Nineteen Eighty-Four", and the 1936 version of the movie
followed the novel more closely.
Looking at the movie on its own, it's pretty fun if totally silly. Jack Palance seems to be having a lot of fun as the man threatening to attack the moon colony. The robots - both good ones and bad ones - are the movie's particularly corny aspect. The whole thing comes across as a big excuse to be goofy, and so you'll probably enjoy the movie a lot more if you just accept it as ridiculous entertainment.
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