Cosmos: War of the Planets
(Battaglie negli spazi stellari) (1977)
Directed by Alfonso Brescia

Artistic Value: *
Entertainment Value: * *

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Some time in the future, an astronaut named Mike Leighton (John Richardson) assaults a technician in some NASA-like establishment, as punishment for which he is given command of a spaceship. Upon arriving onboard this vessel, he discovers that a crew member has been sent outside alone. Mike orders the man to return to the ship. The man replies that his task will only take a minute. Mike again orders him to return. He still does not. Mike warns him that the repairs he is attempting could cause acid to leak out and damage his spacesuit. He assures the captain that no such accident will happen. It does. Mike, being the dedicated individual he is, decides to rescue the man and, after the director has made a few inept attempts at building tension, he is able to save his crewman's life. The ship then travels to an unexplored planet to investigate an intercepted message that originated there. Upon arriving, the Earthlings discover an underground civilization of bald, green skinned men enslaved by a robot whose head looks distinctly like (and possibly is) a toy bulldozer with a glowing red windshield. The robot subsequently manages to kill several of the vessel's crew members as they wander pointlessly through the almost completely black tunnels honeycombing the alien world before, of course, Mike manages to defeat it in what is, perhaps, cinema's least dramatic confrontation.

Shot on a nearly non-existent budget with actors who should have considered different careers, Alfonso Brescia's Cosmos: War of the Planets is a truly bad film. There is virtually nothing in the movie for which it can be recommended other than its sheer dreadfulness.

In fact, nearly every element included in Cosmos is utterly ludicrous. The costumes are laughable. The crew of the spaceship wear Star Trek style clinging white tunics and tights with plastic cummerbunds, red suspenders, and close fitting red felt caps. The special effects are amazingly bad. On several of the occasions when a character ventures into space, a spaceship can be seen behind him that appears to be a photographic image printed on a poster stuck on a wall. Other effects are achieved with stock footage, shoddy models, and colored lights. The script is consistently silly. There are lines like, "Those strange signals are so baffling" and "I control the lives and the brains of all the inhabitants here. I keep them alive as I see fit, just as a shepherd controls the sheep and then, at any moment, sheers the sheep. Enough now of explanations." To make the movie even worse, Cosmos is absolutely filled with a variety of pathetic mistakes. On a number of occasions, for instance, the ship's view screen shows the ship itself from behind. Literally every minute of the movie includes several embarrassments.

Cosmos really is a remarkably bad film. Unfortunately, although it is, at times, bad enough to be amusing, it is more often just tedious.

Review by Keith Allen

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