Sometimes, I can do or say something that I personally find pretty funny. Take today’s movie for example. Now since this is my first time watching this movie, I didn’t really do much research on it today. However, when the movie started and I heard the opening music, I immediately recognized it as being the work of Akira Ifukube, due to my hearing his work in numerous Godzilla movies.Of course, I had to check to make sure I was correct, which I was, and I also learned that this was a Toho movie. This makes me more eager to watch today’s movie, Battle In Outer Space.
The plot: In 1965, a trio of flying saucers that are approaching the Earth are detected by the J-SS3 space station, which attempts to fend them off but ends up being destroyed by the three spacecraft. Reaching the Earth, the three saucers split up and one of them heads towards a railroad bridge and levitates it, killing a watchman and causing a train to crash. The Tokyo news reports on the train wreck, as well as a cruise ship being lifted and destroyed by a water spout in the Panama Canal, and Venice suffering from severe flooding. A special meeting is held at the Space Research Center in Japan, where they learn that, due to the evidence of frostbite on some of the victims, that some sort of rapid freezing occurred which lowered the effect of gravity on the objects, causing them to levitate. As the meeting commences and one of the scientists theorizes that the attack came from outer space, an Iranian delegate named Dr. Ahmed suddenly gets a headache and is seen walking around outside. Etsuko Shiraishi, a female employee at the Center, watches as he is enveloped in a strange red light and disappears but when she tells another employee, the man doesn’t believe her then leaves when Iwomura, an astronaut, shows up and tells the worker to prepare the heat ray for a test firing. Back at the meeting, the delegation believes that aliens are responsible for the disasters and they should make plans to attempt to contact them but also to defend themselves if they are attacked again. Several of the delegates are taken to see the test firing of a heat-ray gun, which is able to penetrate a sheet of the strongest metal on Earth. The group then goes to see two experimental rockets called SPIPs but as they are watching the engine test fire, Dr. Ahmed shows up and tries to steal the heat-ray gun. An alarm is sounded and the delegation shows up to stop Ahmed, who grabs Etsuko as a hostage to try and get away. Ahmed tells the group that they will all be slaves of the planet Natal but Iwomura manages to drop a weight on Ahmed’s hand, disarming him and Ahmed runs outside. As the group follows him, they see a flying saucer heading towards them and Ahmed is enveloped in a red light, which disintegrates him. As they look at the ashes, they see a small radio transmitter and realize that the Natal were controlling him. A mission is announced to send the two SPIPs up to the moon, where they believe that the Natal have a base and the people going on the mission are announced to the delegates and the world. That night, Etsuko and Maj. Ichiro Katsumiya are spending some private time in the woods when they are approached by Iwomura, who invites them to head to town with him. When they refuse, Iwomura leaves but he finds himself caught in a strange beam and the Natal insert one of their control devices in his head, after which he wakes up in the downtown area with no memory of what happened. The next day, the crew for the two SPIPs board the rockets and take off for the moon, saying a prayer for the lost men as they pass the wreckage of the space station. As they get closer to the moon, they find themselves being bombarded by meteors but they use the heat rays installed on the ships to destroy them. As more meteor approach them, the Natal take control of Iwomura and have him lower the power to the heat ray on the SPIP he is in. One of the crew struggles sees this and tries to stop him but is unable to do so and the ship is forced to take evasive action from the meteor, the sudden movement knocking Iwomura out. Once they are safe, Iwomura is restrained just as the Natal contact the two ships and warn them to not land on the moon. Disregarding the Natal’s warning, the two ships land on the moon and proceed to try and locate the Natal’s base using modified lunar rovers. Going as far as they can by rover, they see some flying saucers flying over a mountain range and, believing the base is on the other side of the range, start heading out on foot to try and find a passageway. Back on the ship, the Natal manage to wake Iwomura and have him set the ship he is on to explode, then head out to do the same to the second one. Back on the surface, the group finds a cave which leads to the Natal’s base, where they see several saucers as well as the Mothership. As they observe the base, Etsuko is sent back to get the heat cannon but is captured by some of the Natal but Katsumiya hears her screams and heads after her and rescues her. The Natal announces that they group cannot return home and will be there slaves but the group use the heat cannon to start attacking the base. The group is able to do some damage but some of the group is killed and the rest are forced to run but they see Katsumiya using the rover to continue attacking the base and causing some explosions to occur. One of the explosions takes out the device controlling Iwomura and he sees what he had done and quickly reverses it, saving the ship. Meanwhile, the remaining members of the group quickly get back into the rover and head back to the ships, fending off an assault from some flying saucers as they do. When one of the rovers is disabled, the other car stops to pick the people up and they continue towards the rockets, noticing that one of them was destroyed. When more flying saucers attack them, Iwomura begins firing at the saucers and tells the others that he blew up the ship while under the Natal’s control. To atone for it, he chooses to sacrifice himself to cover the others as they board the rocket and head back to Earth. After their return to Earth, the countries all unite in with a plan to repel the Natal’s attack, arming their space scout craft with heat rays to combat the Natal ships. When a large fleet of Natal ships escort the Natal mothership towards Earth, the Earth ships head up to attack them. As the fleets do battle, the Natal fire space torpedoes (meteors) at the Earth, which strike New York City and San Francisco. The mothership appears over Tokyo and proceeds to destroy the city, then heads for the Space Research Center. However, the scientists have built giant heat rays which they use to destroy to remaining flying saucers and the mothership, saving the Earth from the Natal invasion.
This was a pretty good classic sci-fi movie. The acting was pretty decent but a little confusing with the dubbing. The story was ok but honestly kind of felt a little typical and reminiscent of some of the other Toho sci-fi movies that came out at the time, including some of the Godzilla movies. The special effects were pretty decent for the time and would pop up in several Toho movies later on. A lot of fun to watch if you enjoy 50’s sci-fi movies.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5