Monday, 14 September 2015

When Worlds Collide (1951)

"If our calculations prove correct, this will be the most frightening discovery of all time!"

Oh dear. I'm no scientist; I did English at uni. But my BAD SCIENCE sense is tingling. Yes, I know this is a cheesy '50s sci-fi B movie, but, well, here's the premise: a star (Bellus) and its planet (Zyra; both of these are very '50s sci-fi names) are spotted on a trajectory to Earth, headed straight for us. The planet will hit first, causing all sorts of cinematic and rather impressive-looking natural disasters, followed ten days later by its parent star, which will end all life on Earth. That's a bit of a bummer, really.

But fear not; there's hope, for a select few. An Ark is to be constructed which is to land on the offending planet, somehow still in one piece after its collision with Earth. We end with (some of) our All American (and, er, all white) heroes safely landed on this planet, a paradise of grass, strange vegetation and matte paintings. Yep. You heard right. Zyra  magically turns out to have a breathable oxygen atmosphere in spite of the collision and in spite of the influence of our Sun. Hmm.

Amongst all this the film gives us a bit of human drama, a love triangle, and a rather superficial attempt at exploring how humanity would react to impending Armageddon and only an elite few (mainly scientists, naturally) being saves, but there's never any real depth. The effect of this is that the film is too superficial to be serious and too preachy to be fun. I prefer my B movies to be much less po-faced.

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