When a spaceship lands on the moon, it is hailed as a new accomplishment, before it becomes clear that a Victorian party completed the journey in 1899, leading investigators to that mission's last survivor.
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John Phillip Law,
Based on the HG Wells story. The world is delighted when a space craft containing a crew made up of the world's astronauts lands on the moon, they think for the first time. But the delight turns to shock when the astronauts discover an old British flag and a document declaring that the moon is taken for Queen Victoria proving that the astronauts were not the first men on the moon. On Earth, an investigation team finds the last of the Victorian crew - a now aged Arnold Bedford and he tells them the story of how he and his girlfriend, Katherine Callender, meet up with an inventor, Joseph Cavor, in 1899. Cavor has invented Cavorite, a paste that will allow anything to deflect gravity and he created a sphere that will actually take them to the moon. Taking Arnold and accidentally taking Katherine they fly to the moon where, to their total amazement, they discover a bee-like insect population who take an unhealthy interest in their Earthly visitors... Written by
Lee Horton <Leeh@tcp.co.uk>
Painfully stupid first act, joyously fun action and adventure after.
9 out of 10 times, when a movie fails, it fails because it does something stupid. Something gets placed into the movie that was never a good idea in the first place. Fortunately, this movie came back in the second act to redeem itself.
It's an idiotic first act that keeps this from being a better film. They never should have added a woman into the cast. She practically screams out, "I wasn't in the novel!" For the whole first act, she gets in the way, bothers people, meddles, does all the stupid and annoying things a stereotypical leading lady would do in a film like this that make us worry that we won't get to see what we want to see. And for what? To fill a role that never needed to be filled in the first place. We need jokes based on the differences between men and women to keep people interested in the movie. After all, we can't expect them to simply be interested in a voyage to the ****ing moon! To top things off, the first act (after the framing device, which I will come to later) thinks this movie is a comedy. The professor is introduced as a funny old eccentric, with tuba music underlining the supposedly funny aspects. For a time in the 50s and 60s, comedy stopped being funny. Tired stereotypes of women, the battle of the sexes, things like that took the place of clever writing. Thank god for French New Wave! Then there's the framing device. Our astronauts, who include representatives from the Soviet Union in a nice bit of forward-thinking, find the evidence of our heroes' adventures on the moon. Then U.N. representatives on Earth seek out our leading man, now many years older. People thought he was crazy, but no, his stories were true all along! Apparently what has endured in print was not good enough for these filmmakers. They couldn't just dive headlong into the story in the year 1899. No, they had to frame it. And then at the end, (skip if you want to find out for yourself,) they shamelessly steal the aliens-killed-by-earth-viruses twist from War of the Worlds.
Now, what the movie does do right is actually provide solidly fun action and adventure when it finally gets to it. Aliens, giant carnivorous caterpillars, fanciful sets in vivid color, men in alien suits, a gray and orange sphere hurtling through space, Ray Harryhausen creations. This is the stuff that dreams are made of! Plus the stupid comedy elements stop completely. This redeems the film after its fatally flawed first act.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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