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A giant spaceship carrying colonists to a new planet runs into unexpected troubles on its journey, ranging from encounters with abandoned alien craft to malfunctioning onboard computers and tensions among its crew and passengers.Written by
Underrated science fiction gem from Eastern Europe
This is an intriguing Czech science fiction film from the early 60's. It's pretty much unknown in the U.S (American - International Pictures dubbed it into English and released it as "Voyage to the End of the Universe" in 1964; it's been seen here only rarely since then).
The movie depicts a group of space travelers on a seemingly endless journey to a new planet. They encounter many traps and dangers along the way (including a derelict spacecraft and a mysterious nebula) but the greatest conflict seems to be psychological: namely, the titanic ambition of a 15-year, trans-galactic voyage pitted against the fragility of the human mind and the relative insignificance of human lives.
The interior sets are lavish -- certainly on a par with "Forbidden Planet" and perhaps even "2001". The level of detail in the spaceship interiors is admirable, and the same can be said for the smartly designed spacesuits.
"Ikarie XB 1" stumbles badly, though, when it comes to the exterior effects work. The spacecraft models are too small to provide much detail, and seem to be propelled through space by dark-colored string. As a result the transitions between interior and exterior shots are somewhat jarring.
All the same, this movie is a very interesting example of mid-century science fiction. It deserves a much wider audience, and it is to be hoped that a restored, subtitled print will one day make the rounds in American art houses. Cross your fingers.
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