I remember the ads for this thing, and I remember not wanting to see it. And I remember when I finally saw it on a Sunday afternoon broadcast how it looked like it was shot in a suburb of the state capitol, and wondering why it was so poorly shot, and why the music and everything else looked so poor.
This film looks like it was thrown together at the last minute, and I think it’s a safe bet that it was designed to compete with Star Wars, which, judging by the poor quality of this production, they expected to be another “Plan 9 from Outer Space”. Well, “Star Wars” was much more than anything 1950s had to offer, and this movie all but vanished into the ether.
But it’s like a man wonders who approves these films, and how they get made. Robert Vaughn, the professional that he is, was up for the job and so took it. But it’s like no matter how much the cast puts their best foot forward the film itself was horribly shot. Zooms, hand held shots (before shaky cam became a thing), reliance on either natural lighting with 1970s film stock, and primitive tilts with medium shots, just bespeak of a movie that was thrown together at the last minute.
What’s worse is that there are fans who like this garbage. That, I don’t get. With the likes of 2001, Star Trek, Star Wars, the Planet of the Apes movies, Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone TV series and everything else, … it’s like even the schlocky 1950’s science fiction movies were better than this thing, and it makes one wonder how people who like good scifi come to like this movie and other junk like it. It does perplex one.
And yet an industry that was fraught with illegal drugs, an industry that necessitated you “know someone” to “get in”, an industry whose self-appointed “guardians” flaunted nearly every law in California’s code of justice, decides it’s a good idea to make this junk.
The basic story could have been a winner. And indeed it was revisited in the likes of “The Last Starfighter” and one or two other films that had a cast, crew and budget that actually cared about the material. But B-movies like this thing just show how much some studio exec has control over what used to get shot and what doesn’t.
I have to admit, I’ve often wondered whatever happened with this film, and now I have my answer. Between this and “Battle Beyond the Stars” it’s a miracle that Lucas came to the fore and saved the genre.