Friday, April 10, 2015

Planeta Bur

Planeta Bur; science-fiction, Russia, 1962; D: Pavel Klushantsev, S: Georgiy Zhozhonov, Vladimir Yemelyanov, Genadi Vernov, Kyuna Ignatova

Three spaceships from Earth, "Sirius", "Vega" and "Capella", arrive to explore Venus. One of the ships is destroyed by a meteorite, yet the other two decide to land to the planet. The crew consists out of Ilya, Alyosha, Bobrov, Scherba, Kern and one woman, Masha, who stays behind in the main ship in orbit. Three astronauts take a hovercraft, while the other two take a robot with them, John. They encounter man-eating plants, a dinosaur, Apatosaurus, and fish in the lakes. The robot malfunctions, but the two astronauts are saved by him from lava encroachment. As the five astronauts leave Venus, to head back to their main ship in orbit, a silhouette of an alien, humanoid, female creature is seen reflected in the lake.

In the long history of cinema, it is quite a treat to find foreign authors who had the audacity to make Sci-Fi films outside the English language world, and among them is the cult space flick "Planeta Bur" by Pavel Klushantsev, who, despite a limited budget, managed to resolve some difficulties involving special effects and demonstrate a few neat tricks (a hovercraft, a robot that resembles "Robby" from "Forbidden Planet", clouds around the orbit...). The data of supposed life on Venus became dated and obsolete already a couple of years later when it was discovered that its surface temperatures reach 800 degrees Fahrenheit, yet despite these and other omissions (the six characters are scarcely developed, for instance; the "cameo" appearances of an Apatosaurus and a Pterodactylus last for only 10 seconds and are so stiff they disappoint for tickling the imagination only to drop it) the film has some charm for at least trying these kind of things, and creates an exotic, original and peculiar feel, a one that at least separates him from other Sci-Fi films from the 60s. The exteriors of a rock valley are exquisite, and the penultimate scene adds even a small touch of Erich von Danikan philosophy in the storyline. The dramaturgy could have been developed more sharply and eloquently, yet Klushantsev seems to have a field day with creating his very own world full of richly bizarre creatures, and such a rare blend of pure adventure, mystery and Sci-Fi secured the film attention even in other countries.


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