Okay, we all know that I am way too forgiving when it comes to 1970s space opera - hence, the existence of this blog. But I'm not going to apologize for trying to find entertainment in even the worst of the genre, nor am I going to feel guilty (well, not too guilty) when I actually kinda like a film like TSOTTC.
It's "the tomorrow after tomorrow," and the planet Earth is a wasteland, devastated during the great robot wars. What's left of humanity has colonized the Moon, living in great in domed cities, including New Washington. Presumably due to lingering radiation poisoning from the wars, mankind's continued survival depends on an anti-radiation drug called "Radic Q-2," which is regularly shipped to the moon from its planet of origin, Delta-3. Unfortunately, Delta-3 - evidently in another solar system entirely - has been taken over by Omus (Jack Palance, who played a similar character on Buck Rogers that same year), a nutjob robot scientist who has ursurped the rule of the legitimate governor, a platinum blonde named Nikki (Carol Lynley, The Poseidon Adventure). Omus remotely crashes a delivery ship into the New Washington dome and informs stately Senator Smedley (John Ireland) that there will be more such "attacks" if the lunar citizens don't cater to the would-be tyrant's will.
Barry Morse, Space: 1999), the scientist hero of the piece. Oddly, neither he nor the other citizens of New Washington seem to object to deferring all authority to their master computer, Lomax, though, which dismisses a proposed counterattack on Delta-3 on the grounds that it would be somehow "imprudent" (i.e. "prohibitively expensive").
Nicholas Campbell), beautiful cyber-tech named Kim (Eddie Benton, a/k/a Anne-Marie Martin), and an odious comic relief robot called "Sparks" set out on Caball's new and untested spaceship, the Starstreak, on an unauthorized mission to Delta-3, intending to stop Omus and rescue the red jumpsuited colonists from his waddling robot army.
Anyway, yeah, the script is stupid, and the locations are dull, and the robots are clunky as shit. The direction of the action sequences is flat-out awful. TSOTTC is - inarguably - not a good movie.
Sledge Hammer! in the 80s.
Star Wars or Galactica quality, but they're about on the level of Space Academy or Space: 1999. The Starstreak is a good looking ship and nicely designed/detailed, the sequence where the New Washington dome is repaired by three little spaceships is kinda cool, and both Omus' base - and Delta-3 itself - blow up real good. It's a shame that they apparently couldn't afford any animated laser beams, though.
I vaguely recall reading in Starlog and/or Future magazines that Sylvia Anderson of UFO and Space: 1999 fame was originally slated to produce the movie in England (which may explain Morse's involvement), but she must have bailed early, leaving the production in the hands of schlockmeister Harry Allan Towers, who seized quickly on Canadian tax shelter laws that subsidized local filmmaking. Between his notoriously "economical" business practices and McGowan's lethargic, TV-movie direction, it's amazing that the film is as watchable as it is.
Well, I find it watchable, anyway. So sue me.
The Shape Of Things To Come on DVD with a really solid 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and Dolby Digital mono audio in both English and French. They even scraped up a few extras: a French theatrical trailer, an English TV spot, and a poster & still gallery. Although the company has been slowly re-issuing most of its library on Blu-Ray, there's been no announcement of TSOTTC being released in HD as yet.
Anyway, I'm not going to try too too hard to convince anyone else of the film's merits - although I clearly think it has a few - but I do enjoy pulling the DVD off my shelf every once in a while. It's not as much giddy fun as Starcrash, nor as slyly satirical as Battle Beyond The Stars, but I can find some pleasure in it.... and, you know, I don't really feel guilty about it at all.
BUY: The Shape of Things to Come