Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sampling the Smorgasbord, no. 2: Cosmos: War of the Planets (1977)

Hard to believe this was a contemporary of Star Wars:

A bit hit-or-miss, but the good bits are good indeed (i.e., bad indeed; i.e., "good" indeed; i.e., ... oh, whatever).

Some highlights include:

1. The opening -- everything up through the credits in the above clip (though you should do yourself a favor and skip the rest of the above clip). Particularly entertaining: the over-reaction of the crew when they avoid a head-on collision with an asteroid.

2. The costumes -- skin-tight to the max (cameltoe alert!), accompanied by ridiculous headgear. How bad is the headgear? James Dean could not have made it look cool. (But how I would love to incorporate a look like that into the IJG costumery!)

3. The bad guy -- one of the most pompous and condescending robots I've ever seen in a sci-fi flick -- made all the more delicious by the fact that he actually refers to the human astronauts as "earthlings." You can cut the metallic, blinking-eye sarcasm with a knife. (Alas, there is no YouTube-ified footage.)

4. The screenplay -- in places, it's basically a string of unintentional non-sequitors.

5. The score -- I'm just guessing here, and it's just a hunch, but the music sounds like it was vaguely it was influenced by Wendy Carlos. Just vaguely, mind you.

6. A vampire! (Yeah, you read that right.)

Anyway. At some point I really need to untangle the above-mentioned "good" / "bad" knot, n'est-ce pas? Cuz I often find myself (perhaps more and more lately) defending the sort of cultural artifacts that, in the eyes and ears of other folks, are typically dismissed as "kitsch."

For now: I do think there can be something retrospectively artistic about something that was initially created without a whole lotta artistry. Which suggests that art isn't always about intentions. Hmmm, I'll chew on that for a while.

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