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Mystery of the Third Planet (1981)

Zoologist professor Steel, his small daughter Christine and captain Green leave Earth in search for rare space animals. The journey turns into adventurous and dangerous mission involving space pirates and a missing captain of a ship.


Glenn Stanton


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Zoologist professor Steel, his small daughter Christine and captain Green embark on an adventurous space journey in search of rare animals for a new zoo on Earth. They look for the ship logs of two famous captains that saw plenty of rare animals but discover there is a plot involving space pirates to prevent them from finding those logs. Mysterious disappearance of one of the captains and search for more clues leads them to another planet where they acquire the last surviving talking bird that belonged to the missing captain. The bird tells them to go to the third planet in Medusa system. Hoping to find their answers there, being chased by pirates they land there and unravel the mystery of the third planet. Written by vvp_14

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First US bootleg release of a brilliant cartoon with a great story
16 February 2017 | by vvp_14See all my reviews

This was the first US bootleg video release of 1987 of the very popular and brilliant cartoon The Mystery of the Third Planet made in 1981 (see IMDb entry for it) about Alice's adventures in space based on the sci-fi series by a Russian writer Kir Bulychev. This release had the full original footage, music and sound effects but with significantly changed English dialogues, and no credits shown for the original Russian cartoon creators or script writers - just the American dubbing credits. Some of the character names were also changed: professor Seleznyov became professor Adam Steel, his daughter Alice - became Christen, although pilot Zelyony (Green in Russian) stayed as pilot Green, and so did the names of the two glorious captains Kim and Buran. A narrator's voice was added with a narrative that does not exist in the original, which is not of concern as it sticks to the story and helps to understand what's happening. In the video the title shown is actually "Stories from a Land Far, Far, Away: Mystery of the Third Planet". It is often referred to as "the dollar store version".

The main story line of the search for rare animals for the zoo involving space pirates and the two famous captains is not changed, however there are some significant changes in some of the story details. Like the whole episode with the birthday cake in the beginning, Alice wanting to go see a football match on the first planet they land on, drink of the six-armed friend of professor Steel, and so on. As the original footage was untouched they had to stick close to the original, but in some places the changed dialogues defeat the original intentions of the artists and of what's happening in the scene - a bit like in some other bootlegged Soviet sci-fi that were massacred by Amerasian bootleg movies producers, this one however not to the same extent.

Overall, the story stays fairly close to the original and is certainly very much watchable, especially if one prefers fully dubbed movies to subtitles. Is does, however, in my view, lacks many of the funny moments in dialogues, and a certain feel of romanticism of space travel that these dropped dialogues create, replaced with some more of a dry tone ones. This version is available on YouTube (http://youtu.be/NWTPMCD3SeQ). The video quality, however, is poor as it was recorded from a VHS source.

6 stars for this version and 9 for the original.

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Soviet Union | USA


English | Russian

Release Date:

1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Stories from a Land Far, Far Away: Mystery of Third Planet See more »

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