adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi, tv episodes

June 12th, 2017 Movie – Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Menace From Outer Space

rocky jones menace from outer space

I hope this is the last one of these Rocky Jones movies in these box sets I own. I honestly don’t know If i can stand to see another movie made up from old TV episodes. Anyways, I got lucky in regards to this movie because it is on the same disk as yesterday’s movie, so I didn’t have to waste time hunting down which disk it is on. Now some of you may be wondering why these last two movies are titled “Rocky Jones, Space Ranger” while the previous movies from the series were not. Well, that is how they were listed on the box set so that is how they were listed in my list. But enough rambling, time to get on with today’s movie, Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Menace From Outer Space.

The plot: On Earth, Professor Newton is observing a meteor that is approaching Earth when Vena Ray and Bobby show up at the observatory. When they view it on the video screen, Newton grows suspicious as he hears a humming noise coming from the meteor and after taking a closer look with the telescope, he realizes it is a rocket. Newton contacts Secretary Drake and informs him of the rocket’s approach and when it crashes close to the observatory, Newton heads out to see if he can find any clues to the rocket’s origins and says he will report back. Drake contacts Rocky Jones, who is out on patrol, and has him return to Earth but as Rocky and Winky head back, they see another Rocket flying by. Meeting at Space Rangers Headquarters, Newton explains to everyone that the rocket was comprised of crystal and Vena says that tracking the rocket’s path indicated that it came from Fornax, one of Jupiter’s moons. Rocky and Winky plan to fly to Fornax to investigate. Secretary Drake gets a hold of the Tibet Observatory and tells them not to say anything about a rocket, only that a meteor had hit, but one of the Rangers, Griff, plans to find a way to make a profit off of what is on Fornax and knocks out his companion before leaving to deal with Rocky. Back At Headquarters, Rocky has his rocket prepared to make the trip to Fornax but as they blast off, the thrust causes them to black out and they almost crash but Rocky is able to regain consciousness and right the rocket. Continuing on their journey, Vena notices another rocket nearby but when they try to contact them, the other rocket doesn’t answer. Realizing that it is probably Griff, Rocky manages to maneuver behind him and fires a rocket into Griff’s rocket’s exhaust, crippling the rocket and allowing Rocky and his crew to continue on their journey but the move has cost them a lot of fuel. Explaining the fuel situation to everyone, Rocky lists their choices and everyone chooses to press on so they continue towards Fornax but as they attempt to land, the moon’s heavier gravitational pull causes them to use up the last of their fuel to prevent their crashing onto the surface. After making sure the atmosphere is ok to breathe, they head to a nearby pyramid, where they are greeted by Zoravak, the ruler of Fornax. As Rocky and the others greet him, they are surprised to find Professor Cardos there and he explains that he crashed there 8 years ago. As they all speak with Zoravak and Cardos, Rocky pulls Newton aside and questions him about Cardos and Newton admits that there were rumors of a murder before he disappeared. Newton, Vena, and Bobby head inside the pyramid while Rocky and Winky stay behind to check out the ship but secretly, they use their view screen to observe them all. Everything seems ok but when Zoravak and Cardos leave the group, Rocky and Winky overhear them arguing about another plan. Cardos has apparently been lying to Zoravak about the Earth and wants to attack and conquer it but Zoravak, having met with Rocky and the others, is doubting the truth of Cardos’ claims. When the two men enter a room that the viewscreen can’t penetrate properly, Rocky and Winky sneak in and learn what Cardos’ plans are. They try to sneak away and tell Zoravak the truth but they are captured. Bobby pleads with Zoravak that they are not enemies and Zoravak decides the only way to learn the truth is to travel to Earth with Rocky and Winky, while Newton, Vena, and Bobby will remain behind as hostages. Rocky agrees and working with the Fornax engineers, they are able to convert their fuel source to work with the rockets. Rocky takes the rocket for a test drive and the rocket takes off perfectly but due to equipment failure, he is unable to communicate with them until he lands. After the ship is repaired, Rocky, Winky, and Zoravak head to Earth but before they leave, Rocky warns Newton to keep an eye on Cardos. Meanwhile, Griff ends up close to Ophecius and contacts Darganto, who brings his ship down and allows Griff to meet with Cleolanta. After Griff explains the situation, Darganto believes they can lay a claim on Fornax before the United Worlds, then use their missiles to attack Earth and force their surrender. Back on Fornax, Cardos makes plans to overthrow Zoravak’s wife, Vonsoon, and continue attacking the Earth but he is overheard by Bobby and Zoroavak’s daughter Volaca, and they tell Vonsoon and the others. Vonsoon heads to the lab and has Cardos arrested but as they leave the lab, they see the Orphecian rocket land and demands that they surrender. When they arrive on the planet, Darganto and Griff work with Cardos and prepare to fire more missiles at the Earth, this time armed with warheads, and take the crystals to be used to improve the Orphecian rockets. On Earth, Rocky and the others get word of a rocket heading towards them and Rocky, Winky, and Zoravak head out and destroy the rocket, then head back to Fornax. Meanwhile, Bobby and Volaca manage to sneak out and make contact with Rocky and tell him what is going on. Rocky has Bobby try to learn what he can and report back to him but Bobby is captured so Volaca ends up telling him instead. Using what Volaca told him, Rocky is able to surprise Darganto, Griff, and Cardos and take them prisoner, where they will be subjected to the respective authorities for their crimes. As Rocky and the others prepare to leave Fornax, Bobby says goodbye to Volaca and Zoravak tells Bobby to let Rocky know that if they ever need help, he will be happy to help them.

Ok, this was probably the best “movie” out of the bunch regarding this series. The acting was ok for the most part and even though I thought he was annoying in every other movie, Bobby (played by Robert Lyden) was actually not that bad in this one and wound up being a rather integral part to the climax. The story was pretty good, adding a lot of drama into the mixture of the struggle over Fornax and it’s fate in the galaxy. The special effects were the same as all the others, which look pretty cheap and laughable now. I am still not a real fan of the series but at least this one was worth watching.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi, tv episodes

June 11th, 2017 Movie – Rocky Jones Space Ranger: Crash Of The Moons

rocky jones crash of the moons

Once again, we have a couple of episodes from an old TV show that have been turned into a movie. I’m sorry, but there are times where I fell like Hollywood studios just try to do anything in order to make some money without having to do anything original. Now I have a couple of movies that were taken from episodes of the Rocky Jones, Space Ranger TV show from another box set and they have been laughable bad, but not necessarily in a good way. Let’s see how this one goes as I watch today’s movie, Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Crash Of The Moons.

The plot: On the planet Ophecius, Secretary Drake from the Office of Space Affairs, Rocky Jones, and his co-pilot Winky are meeting with Queen Cleolanta to try and convince her to join the United Worlds but Cleolanta refuses to join and threatens to destroy their ships if they don’t leave her planet. As they head back to Space Station OW9, they receive a surprise call from their navigator Vena Ray, as well as their friends Professor Newton and Bobby, who are on the space station. Newton explains that the gypsy moons Negato and Posita,  a pair of free roaming satellites connected by an atmosphere chain, will be passing by the area, and since the space station will fall between the two moons as they pass, they plan to use the event to communicate with their friends on one of the moons. Rocky quickly signs off and heads into the navigation room with Secretary Drake, where he tells Drake that the space station will be destroyed when it passes through the atmosphere, as it was never designed to operate inside an atmosphere. Rocky contacts the space station and tells them to recall the transport rocket that had just left so they can evacuate but they have no luck. Meanwhile, on Posita, the leader Bavarro and his wife Potonda are concerned about their newborn son, as he seems to be frightened for some reason but they can’t figure out why. Meanwhile, Rocky and Winky pilot their ship towards the station, hoping to make it there in time to evacuate everyone. As the moons pass by, the space station is buffeted by the atmosphere, but Rocky arrives and, after having them drop the magnetic shields, docks his ship in one of the landing berths and then has Winky fire the rockets, pushing the station out of the atmosphere. Rejoining their friends on the station, Rocky and Winky meet with Professor Newton, who is working on trying to plot a course the gypsy moons will take, worrying that they might end up crashing into a planet or something and causing mass damage. As they head to the gypsy moons, Newton discovers that the moons course will cause Posita to collide with Ophecius. When they reach Posita, Rocky contacts their friends Bavarro and informs them of the bad news. Bavarro is upset over the news and declares that his moon will not be destroyed but Rocky says there is nothing to be done. They then make plans for Bavarro and Secretary Drake to head to Negato and arrange for the people of Posita to be evacuated to Negato, while Newton, Vena, and Bobby stay on Posita to try and help out. Rocky and Winky head off towards Ophecius in the hopes that Cleolanta will listen to their warnings and evacuate their people. Failing that, the hope to reach the Ophecian underground, who want to join the United Worlds. Trinka, the wife of Atlasan, one of Cleolanta’s soldiers, has a secret space phone and hears Rocky’s warning and tries to tell Atlasan to listen to Rocky but he refuses and arrests her as a traitor. Atlasan takes Trinka to Cleolanta, who questions her about the underground but Trinka says she is not a traitor and she must listen to Rocky Jones. When Cleolanta orders Atlasan to fire on Rocky’s ship as he attempts to land, Trinka grabs his gun and threatens to kill Cleolanta unless they allow Rocky to land. Rocky and Winky land safely and manage to surprise Cleolanta’s guards, then force them to lead them to Cleolanta. Rocky tries to explain to Cleolanta the danger her world faces and tells her the United Worlds will help her find a new world to evacuate to but instead, Cleolanta tricks Rocky and Winky and uses sleeping gas to render them unconscious. After Cleolanta’s lieutenants confirm what Rocky was saying, Atlasan says that they can fire missiles at Posita that, even if they don’t destroy the moon, should be able to knock it off course and spare Ophecius. Cleolanta agrees to the plan but instead of allowing Posita time to evacuate, she orders Atlasan to destroy the moon further away from Ophecius, citing self preservation as a reason. Atlasan heads to the prison room that Trinka is being kept and tells her what he is doing but after he leaves, she goes and frees Rocky and Winky. After dealing with the guards, Rocky and Winky take Trinka with them to intercept Atlasan and Cleolanta. As they head towards Posita, Rocky tries contacting the moon and warning them but as he speaks with Bobby, they are cut off as Atlasan begins firing missiles at the planet. Rocky fires a missile to cripple Atlasan’s ship then contact him and threaten to destroy the ship if he doesn’t stop. Trinka pleads with Atlasan to stop firing and Atlasan succeeds in subduing Cleolanta and radios Rocky and Trinka that no more missiles will be fired. Rocky and the others land on Posita and after making sure everyone is ok, they tow Atlasan’s ship to the surface. On Posita, Cleolanta argues with Secretary Drake about the fate of Ophecius and Rocky says that he will travel with Atlasan and Cleolanta and fire the missiles at Posita once it is fully evacuated to see if they can save Ophecius but ships should be on standby to evacuate Ophecius if it fails. Cleolanta agrees but when the missiles fail to deviate Posita’s course and they have to evacuate Ophecius, Cleolanta feels like this is a trick to get rid of the Ophecian people. Rocky and Atlasan pilot the ship to Ophecius and Cleolanta demands to exit the ship first in order to speak with her people. When she leaves the ship, a group of soldiers rush the ladder and try to commandeer the ship but Trinka is able to calm the group down. After they receive word from Vena and Secretary Drake, the evacuation proceeds but Cleolanta refuses to leave Ophecius, choosing to die with her planet, but Atlasan picks her up and carries her onto Rocky’s ship. As they watch Posita and Ophecius, Cleolanta is upset at the loss of her planet but after hearing Bavarro talk about the people being what makes a country, she apologizes to Rocky for her actions.

Nope, this movie has not changed my opinion of the TV show because this movie is so predictable and boring just like the others. The acting was ok, though incredible stiff and wooden most of the time. The only good thing is that there were not a lot of scenes involving Bobby, so I didn’t have to deal with his annoying little self. The story was actually decent and I feel like it is something that has been used in other sci-fi media, in some form or another. The special effects were a lot of the usual stock footage and cheap blue screen effort that you would expect to see. If you were a fan of the TV show, I could see wanting to watch this but otherwise, I would avoid it.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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movie, movie review

December 29th, 2016 Movie – Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

alfred-hitchcock-presents-the-sorcerers-apprentice

Now this should be a fun episode to watch. I remember watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents every now and then on Nick At Night years ago but I did not watch it every single night or see every episode. So in preparing for today’s movie/episode, I decided to do a little research on it. Apparently, this particular episode never aired on NBC during the show’s initial run because the finale was deemed too gruesome by Revlon, who sponsored the show. However, since the show’s initial run, it has become the most widely distributed episode of the series. After reading all this, I guess I should see if all the hype is deserving as I watch today’s movie/episode, Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

The plot: At a carnival, Sadini, a stage magician working there, steps out of his trailer to smoke a cigarette when he notices a young man passed out on the ground next to the hot dog vendor. Sadini tries to rouse the kid but when he is unable to do so, he gets Milt, the hot dog vendor, to help him carry the kid to his trailer. As Milt leaves, Sadini’s wife Irene enters and, seeing the man on the couch, begins to argue with Sadini about what to do with him. When the man wakes up, he thinks Irene is an Angel and Sadini, due to his appearance, is the devil. As Sadini and Irene talks to him, the man says his name is Hugo and he ran away from a home and Sadini decides to keep Hugo around. Some time later, Hugo is wandering around the carnival and catches Irene in a lover’s embrace with George Morris, the high-wire artist, and when Irene leaves to go take part in her act, George and Hugo go to watch it. For the act’s finale, Hugo gets upset when he sees Sadini using a giant power saw to cut Irene in half but George tries to calm him down by telling him it is an act, pointing out that she is still smiling. As Sadini uses his wand to “put Irene back together”, Hugo smiles when Irene steps out of the box unharmed. Later, Irene is complaining to George about Sadini and George suggests they run off together but Irene says they don’t have a penny to their name. Catching Hugo outside their trailer, Irene decides to use Hugo to get rid of Sadini, taking advantage of his fixation on her and his simple mind to make him believe Sadini was using real magic to keep her against her will but if Hugo were to kill Sadini, he would inherit the wand and the magic. That night, Hugo is sitting in the trailer when Sadini enters and after talking with Sadini for a few minutes, Hugo grabs a knife off the table and kills him. Suddenly, he hears a knock on the door and when he opens it, he finds a drunken George there. George tells Hugo he knows Irene’s plan and that she plans to betray Hugo and have him take the blame for the murder. George warns Hugo to stay out of it but then passes out and Hugo leaves him there, then heads to George’s trailer. Irene is woken up by Hugo, who tells her he has the wand and the magic now and will be even greater than Sadini. When she hears that he killed Hugo and left George in the trailer, Irene gets worried and tries to leave but trips and hits her head on the corner of a trunk, knocking her unconscious. Hugo picks up Irene and takes her to the tent and places her inside the box. As she starts to come too, Hugo starts up the saw and begins using it on the box and while Irene starts screaming, Hugo yells out “Smile, Irene! Smile! Smile!” as the screen fades out. In his closing monologue, Hitchcock explains, “I don’t quite know how to put this, however, I must tell you the truth. The saw worked excellently, but the wand didn’t. Hugo was terribly upset, and Irene was beside herself. As for the police, they misunderstood the whole thing and arrested Hugo for murder.”

Now this is exactly what I expected to get out of an Alfred Hitchcock episode and it was a fantastic episode to watch. The acting was really good, with Brandon De Wilde doing a great job as the simple minded and gullible Hugo and Diana Dors doing equally good as the scheming Irene. The story was exactly what you would want for a 30 minute TV show, keeping things basic and simple but using a lot of suspense to keep things from being boring. I have seen full length movies with the plot of a woman trying to kill her husband so she can run off with her lover do a much worse job than what Hitchcock accomplished in just a little over 20 minutes. The suspense and drama were top notch and truly fitting with Hitchcock’s standard motif and the way the screen faded to black as Hugo was yelling out for Irene to smile is a little disturbing even by today’s standards. The closing monologue was a great example of Hitchcock’s dark sense of humor, especially the joke about Irene being beside herself because the wand didn’t work. A great episode to watch that really showcases some of Hitchcock’s genius.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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