Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monster Crap Inductee: The Phantom Planet (1961)

Monster Crap Inductee: The Phantom Planet
Fried Planet…..Anyone??

Folks, after last week’s induction of the Bat People, I was looking forward to a movie that hopefully didn’t bore the pants off of me. Unfortunately, I got just that with this week’s induction of the Phantom Planet. I tried watching this film without the valuable and comedic insight from Mike Nelson, Crow T. Robot, and Tom Servo, but I couldn’t last through the first quarter of this film. What’s even worse here is that I can’t even find any bit of interesting information about this movie to share with you. So since I don’t have any good information to give to you that should be before my induction, let’s just get on with the movie.

We begin this turd with countdown that leads to the explosion of the atomic bomb. Oh great…..

We then get an introduction from a narrator. He is basically telling us that man has basically been able to reach the deepest parts of space. Unfortunately, they could only imagine that we would only use the science we have now to create pills to make your penis grow in size. Gee, I wonder how that conversation went.

Scientist #1: You know we should probably get on with going further into outer space
Scientist #2: Not now, I’m too busy dealing with finding a cure for my small penis so my wife won’t complain about sex when I get home.

We then are told that the moon is now a base and while seeing rocket ships that look like ballpoint pens and asteroids that look like granola. We then get some philosophy mumbo jumbo which I can only sum up as saying many questions are still needed to be answered. We end that talk with the narrator saying that this story we are about to see is only the beginning. We go to the inside of the rocket ship where two pilots are flying this spacecraft. Captain Leonard and Lieutenant Web (who by the way is played by the director’s son) are the two pilots on board. They of course speak in the normal manly information guy voice. He makes the dumbest statement in the world to make in saying its quiet and lonely up here. He then says that after today, they will be happy to get back to that dreary old moon. Okay, I guess they are saying being posted on the moon is like being posted in Antarctica.

Suddenly, for some unknown reason, the rocket ship starts going off course. And somehow in outer space, you can take a sharp left. They then see that something is approaching very fast. It is the Phantom Planet in which this movie is named after, although I can very much see it and it looks like a piece of fried chicken from the Colonel.

They can’t avoid it due to the gravity of this planet and they crash into it, killing both pilots. And then we see the opening title scene which looks like it was made out of foam.

Yes folks, its time for the opening credits. After the opening credits, we see more asteroids and this time, they look like pieces of Honey Bunches of Oats.

Part Of Your Nutritious Breakfast
We then go back to the moon and we see the moon base, which looks like a child built it. We go inside another rocket that is about to be sent out to search for the rocket that crashed and the door for this rocket ship looks like a door a kid would use. You know, for astronauts, you might want bigger doors so people can, I don’t know; get in without hurting their back.

We are introduced to the main character, Capt. Frank Chapman. He is being told by his boss that he is being sent out to search for the lost rocket.

The rocket then is shot off (so much for the whole countdown intro). It even gets worse that this whole launching scene gets the suspense music. Chapman is joined Lt. Ray Makonnen. You know, his name is too long so I am going to go with a nickname here and just call him Mako

Like The Shark

Oh, and these guys seem to have the same voices as the first guys. Chapman mentions that always on takeoff, his heart beats like a sledgehammer.

Did Somebody Say Sledgehammer?

What, we couldn’t get someone more current like Triple H??

Triple H Is Not Allowed To Come Out And Play
Oh, ok then. They then look at the moon and Mako makes probably the best piece of dialogue we will hear in this whole movie.
Lt. Ray Makonnen: You know, Captain, every year of my life I grow more and more convinced that the wisest and the best is to fix our attention on the good and the beautiful. If you just take the time to look at it.
Wow….for a crappy movie, that is actually pretty deep. We then receive a radio message that warns the two pilots that there ship is completely off course. Chapman gets the wild idea to change some of the schematics of the ship path so they get back on course. And like the last ship, they make a sharp left turn. They then rationalize their change of course by saying that lightning never strikes twice and if they were to find this planet, they would need to look elsewhere. Mako makes some more philosophical phrases about what they are looking for, comparing their search for fishing. You know, that kind of would be true, if they had a giant meat hook and they were fishing for stupid people.

Things start going crazy and once again they are told that they are going way off course. The pilots realize that they are in a heavy magnetic field and parts of their ship are not functioning at this time.
The pilots then lose contact with their base and they barely missed the crunchy asteroid field. They then decide to go outside and fix the situation. Wow…..they have no wires to hook themselves to the ship and they are going outside to fix a moving space craft. They go outside and attempt to fix the spaceship with a wrench. Wow….so fixing a spaceship is like fixing your own car. That’s great information to know. During this scene, steam hits Mako’s helmet blinding him. Suddenly, small rays of light start firing and the way these things are flying, it looks like Yosemite Sam is firing at our heroes.

One of the shots hit Frank’s airline passage, causing Frank to slip into unconsciousness. Mako sees this and carries Frank’s hide back into the ship before he takes a light ray right to the back and floats out in space dead as the door to the spaceship closes.

Chapman wakes up and finds that he is all alone in the spaceship. He goes to the ship’s controls and tries to call for Mako, but gets no response from Mako. He grieves for a moment as he gets back to his seat and tries to steer the ship back to safety. Unfortunately, he sees the planet and is unable to stop the ship from crashing.

Luckily for him though, his ship lands safely and he is still alive. Chapman gets out of the ship afterwards and tries to check his surroundings. He passes out on the ground and relives his whole life up to this moment. While he is passed out, he is greeted by men that are only an inch his size

The microscopic men check on Chapman as he wakes up. When his eyes open, the tiny men run for cover. Frank sees these men and is freaked out to see them. Unfortunately, this shocking discovery and the opening of his space helmet causes Chapman to faint. Suddenly, Frank starts shrinking until he is now at the same size as the microscopic men he found. The shrinking scene is akin to a scene from the Wizard of Oz.

Frank wakes up a small man as the other microscopic men start grabbing him. Frank tries to defend himself, but is overwhelmed and captured by the men. A trial is commenced against Frank for his attack of the little people. It is judged by two people, a judge and Cessum, who is ruler of this planet. All of the jury members in this trial are all female and the main prosecutor is one of the small people who grabbed him, Herron. Despite what Frank thinks is a great defense, he is found guilty and his punishment is that he has to stay on this planet for the rest of his life. The planet is called Rheton and as Cessum explains that on Rheton, the people are able to translate all languages through voice tone waves. You know, I wish I could have that ability just in case someone who speaks a different language tries trash about me in their language.

After the trial, Liara, Cessum’s daughter, shows Chapman around Rheton. She explains that this planet is small and due to the planet being small, the atmosphere is small, and due to the atmosphere being small, the people of Rheton are small as well. She then explains that the atmosphere on their planet works the same way.

Another thing that is explained is that they have a gravitational pull that is huge. This planet, unlike most planets moves in a different orbit than most planets. Unfortunately, because of that, that would mean that Rheton would be considered a dwarf planet.

Still Sour About Pluto No Longer Being A Planet

Meanwhile, back on the moon, Chapman’s superior is informed that they have lost contact with Chapman’s ship for several says. The superior says that he will wait 24 hours and if they don’t hear back, he will send another search team for him.

Back on Rheton, Cessum comes in and tells Chapman that as a show of hospitality, he will allow Chapman to pick between two women to become his wife. The two women are the black haired Zetha, who can not speak or Cessum’s brown haired daughter, Liara. This gift is not appreciated by Herron, who is in love with Liara. He is fed and explained more about the planet by Liara, who has obviously shown a great interest in him. Liara explains that his rocket ship has been jettisoned from Rheton, which screws up all hope that Chapman is getting back to Earth.

Meanwhile, back on the moon base, the Colonel sends out a rescue team comprised of Captain Beecher and Lieutenant Cutler to find out what happened to Chapman and Mako. Their rocket, which looks like one of the rocket lollypops, finds the missing ship and see that both Chapman and Mako have completely disappeared.

Back on Rheton, Chapman has another conversation with Liara and with these early conversations, it seems like Chapman will chose Liara to be his wife. He is sent to work on the planet’s gravitational pull and he now needs more info on the gravitational pull for him to do his job successfully. He asks Cessum for more info and Cessum complies with his request. He explains that the planet’s resources allow the people of Rheton to control the gravity on this planet. Chapman explains that their planet couldn’t do that and that Einstein tried to explain this before dying. Using scientific terms, they can basically control what happens on Rheton, but they are slowly using up the energy needed to keep this planet alive and soon, it will get smaller and smaller until it is wiped from existence.

While out on a walk, Chapman bumps into Zetha and decides to ask if she wants to take a walk with him. She nods her head and off they go. He takes her to where his space suit is still at and with the way he is talking, he seems rather smitten with her. They walk out of the camera shot and we see that Herron has been listening to the whole conversation. He thinks that Chapman is conning both women and since he is in love with Liara, he is not happy with Chapman. He goes to Cessum and demands a duel with Chapman. Chapman comes in and after hearing this, accepts Herron’s challenge.

The rules of the duel are simple. There are two squares that control the gravity, when someone lands on one of these squares; they are pulled deeper by gravity until they disintegrate. Using a bar with handles that looks like it was stolen from a seesaw, they must shove each other until the loser is pushed into their square and disintegrated. Both men take their shirts off, which I’m sure women of the world enjoyed. However, I am a guy and I don’t enjoy seeing hairy chests except my own. The duel begins and Herron is almost about to win when Chapman gets an extra boost of strength and forces Herron back. The battle seems over and it looks like Chapman is about to win, when he notices that Liara seems excited by this duel. He looks back at Herron and decides that no good could come from killing him, so he stops the duel. After the battle, Chapman berates Liara because he thinks that Liara would have gone with the winner no matter what. He says he doesn’t like her and wants off the planet. Because of this stance, Liara thinks she has an idea to get him off the planet.

At night, Chapman wakes up with a dagger close to his throat. The dagger is being held by Herron, but Herron decides not to kill him. He instead reveals that he has a plan to get Chapman off the planet. Herron’s plan is for Chapman to get into his suit and using the oxygen from Earth, he will be able to grow big again. When Chapman accuses him of doing this for Liara, Herron confirms this with a “Yes I am”. He reveals that he is in love with her even though she doesn’t love him and with Chapman no longer around, he will be able to win her heart.

Herron says that two nights a week, he is alone in the gravitational control room. During one of those nights, he says he will use it to maneuver Rheton’s orbit near the moon. Herron tells Chapman that he believes they will see him and be able to rescue him. Suddenly, an alarm is set off and both Chapman and Herron go to see what’s up. At the control room, Cessum reveals that Rheton is being attacked by their enemies, the Solarites. They move their planet out of the way so the Solarites lose sight of their planet again.

After being able to escape, Herron reveals that the Solarites are a group of aliens from a sun satellite. They have been after Rheton because they want Rheton’s gravitational pull so they won’t be pulled into the sun. If they are not stopped, Cessum believes the Solarites will attack Earth. Cessum then tells his daughter, Liara, show him the Solarite they have as prisoner. Liara complies with her father’s orders and shows him the Solarite prisoner. For those of you who do not know what a Solarite looks like, here you go.

Damn….that is an ugly creature. Personally, it looks like Droopy and Crow T. Robot had sex and the stork gave them this child.

During the last war, this Solarite was captured and is caged thanks to an atom wall. They keep him locked up because they believe he will kill every person of Rheton alive if he ever escaped. Liara reveals that ever since this Solarite attacked, Zetha has lost her voice. Unfortunately, the Solarites have returned and are attacking the back of the planet. We get a close-up of a Solarite ship and it looks like a burning dog biscuits.

Before beginning their defense, Cessum asks both Herron and Chapman what they should do. Both men, of course, want blood and say attack. The battle commences and it is a very short one with the people of Rheton using their gravitational pull to disintegrate the Solarite ships. However, a Solarite shot does hit the planet and that shot takes down the atom wall that held the one Solarite prisoner. Now he is mad and searches around for someone to attack. Unfortunately, the first person he sees is Zetha, who is asleep. When she awakes, the Solarite grabs and scares her into fainting.

You Know, If I Was A Monster Who Had Been In Prison For A While A Saw A Hot Thing, I Would Do Something Completely Different From What This Monster Does. Just Saying....

Back at the control room, Cessum decides it is time for him to go to bed.

In the hallway, the Solarite has Zetha in his arms and is moving forwards until he sees Cessum coming. Upon seeing him, the Solarite hides in another path near the hallway. As soon as Cessum passes, the Solarite attacks him and knocks him out. Cessum’s screams cause the others to see what is going on. They enter the hallway and see Cessum knocked out. Luckily he is still alive and they realize that the Solarite has escaped and has Zetha with him. Chapman decides to go after Zetha and finds her in the control room. While tending to her, the Solarite comes out of hiding and is ready for attack again. But when Zetha sees that Chapman is about to be attacked, she screams and Chapman turns around to see the Solarite. A battle commences and the Solarite has the advantage until Herron comes in to make the save. After the most pathetic two on one battle since kindergarten, Chapman and Herron are able to send the Solarite into the gravitational box and disintegrate it.

Now that the battle is over, Herron reveals that tonight is the best time for Chapman to leave. Chapman agrees but before he goes, he has to say goodbye to Zetha. Zetha is now able to speak and explains that the possibility of seeing Chapman killed by the Solarite caused her to scream and regain her voice. They embrace with one last kiss before he leaves. Herron escorts Chapman back to his suit and with the air turned on, he is able to grow back to normal size.

In space, the rescue team sees the planet and when they get close to it, they see Chapman. The rescue crew lands and is glad to see Chapman alive. They ask where Mako is and Chapman says that he is dead. Chapman occasionally looks around to see if he sees the miniature men, but doesn’t and thinks the whole thing was a dream. But it wasn’t a dream and we see the people of Rheton as the rescue ship leaves for the moon base. And with that, this movie is over.

Now there is one interesting piece of information that I couldn’t share with you before because this bit happened after the movie was made. It involves the man who was in the suit, playing the Solarite. His name is Richard Kiel and he would be able to do very well after this film since he is a big man. He would go on to be the monster in another crappy movie Eegah before hitting it big as one of the most recognizable villains in the history of James Bond. You might know him better as the guy who played…..


Unfortunately, this movie sucks. It only had a few scenes of action and even those scenes were rather pathetic. You could directly tell what most of the props were in this movie and despite how many jokes I was able to get out of it, it all ran as a rather dull movie. I mean, it seemed like there was no personality whatsoever in this movie so you could never really relate to the characters. Of course, I’m sure because of the fact that the women on this planet were all white and mostly subservient; this movie probably pleased Don Imus.

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