This astonishing sequel to the critically acclaimed Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet was made when an amazing grass-roots campaign was launched to satisfy an intellectual curiousity that had gripped the country in the wake of the first film's incredible box office success. Announcements broke into prime-time programming, interrupting news broadcasts and televised presidential speeches to give updates to a waiting nation. Theatres began a practice of interrupting feature films when news of a possible sequel became available, lest the patrons refuse to leave their homes for fear of missing information. At first, the creators of the first Voyage had steadfastly refused to consider a sequel, as it would simply dilute the emotional and intellectual boundaries of their cinematic statement and diminish its impact, unaware of the sheer impossibility of such an outcome. In time, however, they turned their thoughts toward the proposal, began to see possible new avenues to explore in the wondrous world they had created, and finally announced to a breathless world that plans were, indeed, underway.
In some alternate universe all that probably happened. Here, in our own, the story was a bit different. Namely, Roger Corman and AIP thought they could perhaps squeeze another film out of the Russian space epic (Planet of Storms) that they had previously chopped up (with a generous serving of Faith Domeringueugeue and a pinch of Basil Rathbone) and perhaps the American public would eat it again.
If you've seen the first Voyage (and there's a review of it right here), you might just recall that it was a solid, thoughtful, unspectacular dubbed story of some guys surviving the hostile surface of Venus, with the help of their self-sacrificing robot John. In contrast to Roger Ebert's opinion of Red Planet, it was I think the sort of thing that John W. Campbell would have published in Astounding Science Fiction magazine.
But that was then, and this is now...what has science done?
We get a rather stiff narrator who talks about spacecraft while we see some pretty nice models and paintings of various kinds of space vehicles. He talks about these new kinds of wheels, designed to go over different planetary surfaces. He then talks about how hard various folks are working toward achieving interplanetary travel and colonization. He outlines some of the problems facing our scientific minds so we can get on with this terrific work.
Some of these models and paintings are quite wonderful, very evocative, not only of space travel in general, but of a kind of nostalgic view of what the future once held for us. When I was growing up, these kinds of pictures were common and seeing them now makes me wistful for the promise of a future that never came.
Oh well. Our narrator continues, “The motion picture you are about to see, can be called today, a fantasy of the future; but one day, maybe not too far distant, audiences will be able to look back on it, in the same spirit with which we view pictures about the first covered wagons, crossing the plains.”
And we go to some footage of water crashing against the rocks of the shore, and the credits start up. Mamie Van Doren, Mary Marr and Paige Lee are our name above the title stars. And there are a lot of names of folks Ive never heard of. The production coordinator was Polly Platt, who I believe has written some films with Peter Bogdanovich, who I'm betting is our director here though perhaps not under that name. Well, he's credited as the narrator...which is a good reason he's behind the camera most of the time (he's not very good at narrating). Wah Chang, who did a lot of Outer Limits creatures, did “Special Props.” This is before the time when that was like, “Props to my homies,” and such lingo.
Screenplay by Henry Ney, director “Derek Thomas.” All we've seen so far (aside from the names in the credits) is ocean crashing against rocks. Don't get me wrong, it's very pretty, but it's no John Cline painting.
And now we have a totally different narrator, saying, “Venus...Venus...a planet named after the goddess of Love. This is...where I left her. Twenty-six million miles away. Because I know she exists, I know she does, I know it...”
I'm guessing this guy is Mr. Bogdanovich and he's not a bad narrator at all. He goes on about how he heard her the whole time he was there, along with music, like that of the “Sirens that tempted Ulysses.” If you've seen the first one, you know all about Complains and his obsession with the unseen women of Venus, especially when he found that porcelin face. So we're already in re-run territory. Not really a good omen. I mean, with the title like that, what did they imagine audiences would think? “Oh, more of the same, I must see that!”
Come to think of it, that's pretty much audiences of today, isn't it. Um, well, forget I said anything. Let's move on.
The narrator goes on to say that everyone thinks he's crazy, and he gives away the fact that he's now back on earth (so he doesn't die here), but then he brings himself up short and says he ought to tell the whole story from the beginning. That's usually helpful, pal.
“You be the judge,” he asks of us. Okay, I hereby sentence you to Get On With It!
He tells us that two years ago (1998) was when Venus was first attempted, and we see the meteor strike from the first film that destroyed the Capella. So I'm guessing that first attempt wasn't a success. In the strictest sense of the word.
Six months later, the second attempt was made. Very impressive combination of models and minatures here. There's a little tiny crowd in front of a huge ship being moved into a gantry, and it's nicely done. The usually countdown stuff, and what must be the first ever game of Pong, and then the ship (with red star prominently on tail fin) takes off. Although primitive by modern special effects standards, the work here is quite good. The narrator tells us that there were only two men on the ship, and it's Sherman and Scary again. And robot John again. Scary basically gives John the same wake-up speech, and John answers the same way (he even has the same sound effects when he talks). They say that Roger Corman is a frugal fellow. You shush your mouth. But I'm talking 'bout Roger! We can all dig that, I bet.
Well, the narrator tells us that the flight was smooth up to the half-way point (seventeen million miles) when they docked at the previous film's space station. We get to see some of that footage again, and the rocket changes shape as it approaches. Then it changes back, and docks.
Back on Earth (there's a rotating radar dish) the narrator talks about how they listened to make sure all was well, because they knew they'd be next if the mission failed. And we cut to the “they” in question, and it's Leader, Complains, and Resigned again. Complains is, as we thought, the narrator. Even though I don't use them, I should point out that all our heroes have the same names as their counterparts in the previous film, and of course, the same dubbed voices. They even have the same footage in many cases, and trhe same dubbed dialogue.
Back on the space station, the rocket finishes refueling, and the astronauts lie down in their bunks to watch the world's biggest oscilloscope flash at them, and finally they take off to continue their journey.
“And then they saw it...Venus!” We see the same roiling cloudscape.
“A planet of fire below us. Is it a new world, or will it consume us all?” Deja vu! Gesundheit.
Everyone anxiously awaits the landing and all, tensely, and finally the ship backs down into the Venusian atmosphere.
“And then suddenly,” Complains narrates, as we zoom into a rocky asteroid or something, just sitting there. It looks like one of those boulders that floats over the ocean in a Magritte painting. Complains continues, “things started going wrong.”
We get the exact same landing dialogue as from the earlier film, but this time when robot John talks about a steep mountain, we actually see the camera floating toward a rocky outcropping. After that the dialogue continues, exactly the same as in the previous film, even the crashing noise when they discover they're about to land on water. The three on earth try to contact the ship, and Resigned earns his name again when, after a few tries, he announces that it's “hopeless.”
Complains narrates that there was nothing left to do but send the three of them up after them.
A small digression here. In the “first” film, the three ships were together, and when the Capella was destroyed, the other two were still on their way to Venus (were almost there, in fact) so it made sense to continue onward. And when they lost contact with the second ship, again, they were in orbit so it made sense to try and rescue their comrades.
Here, however, the ships are presented as three separate voyages. The first, destroyed by meteor, had nothing to do with Venus except as a destination. Random caprice of fate. The second, contact lost after landing, should have suggested something: let's build stronger ships this time, maybe ships that can float, even. We need ships that are sturdier than what we've got.
My point here is that sending ship number three after the first two, in this film, looks a bit foolhardy. And I dislike having the exploration of space portrayed as foolhardy. It's a personal thing.
Back to the film. We see rocket number three set up to launch. Some of the same impressive footage is used again.
Complains narrates that they were to “complete the mission, explore the planet...and rescue Sherman and Kerns. If they were still alive.”
And we cut to the same footage of John staggering around without his head and one arm. He's heading toward Scary, who is holding his head and telling him to come just a bit closer. And the lizard men attack again, this time a bit more elaborately and with more footage, but just as futilely as both Scary and Sherman have guns that work pretty well on the hostile Venusian surface. Several of the lizard men are dispatched before they figure, hey, maybe attacking Earthmen is a bad idea. As Scary finishes up assembling John, the lizard men are still around but have been downgraded to “Nuisance” rather than “Menace.” Scary orders John to secure himself to a boulder, and John goes off to comply with three of the scaly beasties trying futilely to knock him down.
Scary and Sherman have the same conversation about how they don't like it here, “Why don't you catch a bus and go home.” “Don't think I wouldn't if I could find one.”
They get John to use his awesome robot powers to yank them along on a rope, just (sigh) like in the earlier movie.
Back on earth, Complains and his pals launch their rocket, using the same footage from (here's a twist) this film, and not the first Prehistoric one. They also land at the space station (making certain to let us know it is called “Texas” so I'm telling you that, too. It's probably done to explain that red star earlier).
They have gone to the trouble of...I guess either doing new footage or breaking out the old optical printer, because as the ship eases into the Texas' docking bay, the English name “Typhoon” is clearly written on the side. Look! Someone spent some money!
Next, we get some kind of silly footage of a guy in space suit and what looks like a super-8 camera, floating up toward the rocket from the deck of the Texas. Again, for the time, the illusion isn't bad, but it would be pecked to death by a thousand angry critics (a species of lizard man) if it was attempted today in anything other than an ironic sense.
“Refueling was accomplished in record time. There was...no time to lose,” Complains narrates, in much the same tone (I imagine) that Marlon Brando said, “Whaddya got?” when asked what he was rebelling against in The Wild One (which I haven't seen).
And the ship launches from the station. During this bit, in fact during most of the space bits, there appear to be anomalous energy fluctuations whose metaphasic radiation causes discharges in the quantum flux of the space-time continuum, visible as flashes in the vacuum of space. Either that, or the print is pretty scratchy. Viewer's choice.
A nice shot of the ship moving through the structure of the Texas, with the station's crew waving good bye (a shot that is unexplained in the first film).
As the ship leaves, Complains wonders if there was some reason that Venus had been named after the goddess of love. “Maybe there was some wise old astronomer way back in the dawn of time who knew something. Something he kept to himself.” Wow, it's like an Oliver Stone movie.
He continues to narrate about how they're getting ready to land, and when he pauses we can hear leader talk under the soundtrack about “my people are proud and priveledged to be” and the same stuff we heard in the earlier movie! It's like they just re-used footage or something! Yes, it is astonishing to think that!
Well, to give the movie some credit, this time when the ships are landing on Venus (both times) they are actually descending through the clouds, rather than in the first film when they're going the wrong way.
The landing goes smoothly for these people, and they say the same things they said before, and do the same things as well. And they hear the same weird musical choir-noise when they switch on the outside mics. And they hear the same lady's voice, and Complains narrates about how this was the first time he heard “her” and this time no one says, Ah, you're full of hooey, at him. Leader asks for it to be recorded, in fact. Then, he orders them into their suits, tells them to get “popping” and when one of them says he'll br right behind him, he says “That'll be handy when I slip.”
Man, I just can't shake the feeling I've somehow heard all this before! It's completely eerie, hopefully not eerie in a Lovecraft story before those creatures show up and ruin things, no, hopefully more in a “surprise party” way. I can hardly wait!
We cut to the windswept surface of Venus, and Complains pokes out of the spaceship and starts messing around. I could be wrong, but there may be more footage here than in that other film. But then, it goes into entirely familiar areas as Complains picks up the same rocks and tests the same waters. I wonder if the plant is around? You know, the plant-creature from the, um, other...never mind. We can be “surprised” and “astonished,” not to mention “alarmed” together.
“It was a weird, desolate place, but it fascinated me,” Complains narrates, “and I forgot all about Kerns and Sherman, and what we were there for.” You know, this narration kind of makes Complains' capture by the plant creature make sense, since he's all caught up in his sense of wonder and stuff. Before, it just looked like he was careless, here, um, well, he's still careless, but he's telling us why.
More than ever, I'd love to see the Russian original. Oh well.
Well, Complains is attacked by the plant creature, and he drops his knife just as ineptly, and the other two go to rescue him in the, um, deja vu fashion. And as before, when Complains is rescued, he wants to take a picture but the plant closes up, and he then insists that he didn't call for help. Just like in the previous film in the series. You probably remember that as well as I do. And, like you, it's been a few weeks since I've seen the previous film. Unlike you, I'm pretty broke, though. Where's my tip jar? Oh, thanks Mr. Corman, that nickle will sure come in handy.
Back to our feature. Our intrepid trio are floating along in their Jetson car, only this time they make a point of how they refuse to stop and get tissue samples from that brontosaurus that fascinated them in the first film. Instead, Compains narrates how they were focused on Scary and Sherman, and laments that they had no way of knowing what their pals were going through.
We, however, have different resources available, such as being able to cut to Sherman, Scary, and John as they labor across a rocky landscape. Scary and Sherman talk about how their situation is pretty hopeless, and how even if the others blasted off in time, it's a long way from Earth to Venus. Sherman still has a torn suit with possible infection, John still has clawed feet, and he still doesn't like water one bit. Once again, he's ordered to find shelter. Once again, he comes through for his flesh-made masters and finds an awfully familiar cave. And as he collapses in delirium, Scary talks again about mathematics and how great it is. John kind of stands there like, “Hm, well, these humans, who can figure them? If I move they'll ask me to work so I'll just stand quietly.”
As he collapses, Sherman calls out to “Marsha” for help, and I guess it's time for me to point out that the Earth control agency is called “Marsha” for some unexplained reason. So, he's not regretting some chick he never asked out on a date or anything petty like that; he's appealing to the resources of the world to solve the dilemma of existing on other worlds. Yes, I did just type that of my own free will.
Back to the Jetson car, as they pause to mention how futile everything is (hey, this sounds familiar) and then move on, but then Complains hear's his Venus gal's voice and stops the car again.
“Almost sounds like a girl,” says Leader.
“A girl? Perhaps. Or, a monster,” says (I think) Resigned. More footage of the ocean waves, and I think something different might happen, because we're 33 minutes in and no sign of Mamie Van Doren. If the camera keeps panning over these rocks....
Yes, it does, and it pans over a sleeping female, not seen at all in the first fim. Am I psychic? If so, I would hate to think that my powers only work on B-movies. That would not be cool, or practical. I'd be rejected from the Legion of Superheroes for sure! (I can even imagine the form letter on their stationary. Worse would be to be told in person by some loser like Matter Eater Lad. You couldn't jump up and down and yell at him, because he can eat matter, and I hate to break it to you, but you're made of matter.)
Anyway. So, the camera pans across one woman, and moves on, and fool of a Took that I am, I almost expected it to do a double-take and go back. Instead, it goes on, and we see a couple other Venusian woman, all sleeping on a rocky beach. All of them are wearing slacks and clam-shell bikini tops, and they're all platinum blonde too. And they have necklaces made of popcorn, like on a Christmas tree. Well, no, they don't but that's the thought that struck me, and since I feel lonely providing original material for this film, I'm not going to edit it out.
Well, one of the gals wakes up, and through the miracle of overdubbing, calls out telepathically for the other women to wake up. (At no time do any of these women move their lips when they speak; it's all voice-over telepathy.) However, instead of telling someone (don't know who) to turn off the Siren-Call-To-Males Machine, she says that they've “slept enough” and it's time “to go into the sea.” All the while the siren music keeps playing, which leads me to the conclusion that there's probably a third race on Venus (after the lizards and these women) that does nothing but sing all the time.
So, all these blonde women, all dressed the same, march toward the camera like some kind of Robert Palmer video, then they wade into the ocean.
Back to the Rescuing Trio, they say the same things they say before about how there might be a civilization here on this planet, but then we get footage of the Venus gals up to their necks in the ocean and walking along. Wet T-Shirt contest coming up! The Women of Venus, as You've Never Seen Them Before! Only on Pay-Per-View.
Then, the women submerge, and pick some fish (that look like cucumbers with eyes) and eat them.
...what? No, no, I did not make that up. Yes, I know you're bored. Yes, I know I make stuff up, rather a lot. But not this time, I promise. I don't care how Freudian it is, I didn't write or film it.
Back on the shore, Resigned says he can't imagine anyone in their “right minds” exploring this planet. Leader claps him on the shoulder and says, “Come on, [Resigned], we're here, and we're in our right minds, aren't we?”
Well, this sure does the trick for Resigned, as he says, “Let's go!” and they all move off to the Jetson car.
Underwater, however, a Blonde has found some seashells, and we have to confess, we were hoping that they were her seashells, and they'd slipped our of her bra-thing, and we'd get a glimpse of something we hadn't seen before in either film. But, because we are bad males and all, we get no such glimpse (turns out the shells were just extras or something, because as she swam by, she had both hers firmly in place), and all we get is a chance to reflect on how awful we are. We're awful. Sorry.
The Venus gals surface together, and compare seashells. (No, no, the seashells they had found, not the ones that make up their bras. Sorry.) At that moment, the pterydactyl from the first film chooses to fly overhead, and the Venus Gals announce (telepathically) that this is a god, and he's angry. We get a shot of a seashell drifting back down to the sea bed.
Back to the Jetson car, with the three trying to contact their pals by radio. A heavily-staticed voice, vaguely female, comes through. “A woman! Must be Marsha!” says one of the guys. Er, remember if you will that “Marsha” was the name of the Earth space agency that sent them there. In the last film, I think it was Faith Domeringuegueinsombladiskeedeedeeskim's character name.
...that being a frugal use of the name Marsha, so that must pay off, I guess.
Anyway. As before, they contact robot John, get his position, and ask him about the others. The Leader goes through the “revive the others” bit from the first film. No real changes, so we'll move on.
Once again, the pterydactyl attacks the Jetson car, is fired upon, but continues to attack until it is killed. Again, they decide to submerge the Jetson car, not because the pter is still a menace, but “because of the damage he had caused.”
Um, so, if you're damaged in an ATV, submerging is a good idea? Just asking.
As before, the three are hauling the Jetson car manually throught the ocean depths. Once again, one of the three says that the cliffs are “in even rows, like streets.” We see...well, some bits of the set that don't support what he says, but no matter, eh? He's going to take a look anyway. Man, this deja vu stuff is scary!
Back on the shore, one of the blonde women spots something washing up on shore. Turns out, it's the pterydactyl, looking extraordinarily dead and, well, rather rubbery. Looks like a Halloween costume someone threw away, to be honest.
Well, she calls telepathically to some other gal, who agrees that this is Terra, their god, and he's pretty dead. The other gals are summoned and they all carry this rubber suit to where it can be properly buried with the right rituals and all. (Note: it is so obviously a rubber suit they don't even try to pretend it isn't.)
Back with the three, they find the same statue they found before. This time, the Leader says “rubies” instead of “boobies” but heck, with those blondes running around, he need not be firstest with the bestest.
All the same, they pronounce it the same as the flying reptile they killed before they submerged.
And (after they chat a bit, see previous review) we cut to a very similar idol, above ground and surrounded by blonde women. They mention about how they're bummed out by the rubber suit they brought. There's a long stretch of moving from face to ptera statue to face and so on. Finally, one of the gals brings a chef's hat and puts it on another gal's head. “I swear to you, oh, Ptera, you will be avenged. The evil demons who did this to you, will themselves be destroyed.”
These women are pretty cute. And we cut back to the underwater.
“Something seemed to draw me away,” narrates Complains.
We see two of the Venus hotties approach the camera, while Complains says he felt he was being watched, but didn't personally see anything “except a harmless octopus.”
(Said octopus rises as if to strike, but then seems to think better of it, and slinks away. This is a pretty remarkable achievement for a puppet I'll have you know.)
Complains seems unaware of the Venus hotties looking all hot at him. He decides (he tells us via narration) that he decided to go on.
We see a quick cut of the hotties vamoosing out of there.
And Complains duly notes that the sensation of “being watched” just disappeared on him, all eerie like, as if some hot chicks in clamshell bikini tops just like, zipped out of there. I myself have the same sensation many times.
So, Complains continues on his original quest (find those missing fellows) and, incidently, grabs a rock that he likes because of the shape. I like the shape too, I think it's the one that will break open into a porcelain face, but I don't remember seeing this early part here.
Back on shore, the blonde hotties of Veus carry the latex skin of the pterydactyl to the sea, which was like his final request or something. Leader telepaths “Farewell” to the limp rubber thing, and then the two hotties who tempted Complains surface, much to everyone's surprise. Leader wants to know what's going on, and the two talk of “invaders” and such crazy-talk. They say that these strangers had “big heads” and walked in the “sacred placed.”
Lead chick says “it was they who killed Ptera, and they must die.”
Unaware of the brewing conflict, the rescuing three wrestle the Jetson car to shore. Just like they did, um, gosh, when did I see a scene like that....
Once again, we're with the three on shore, tending a fire, talking about what is and what isn't soaked on the car. Once again, the radio is the main culprit. The three repeat the same conversation about possible civilization on Venus. They mention the underwater city and the statue and so on, and Complains brings up the woman he's obsessed with. Leader diplomatically adds her to the list.
The conversation continues as before, and the siren song sounds again, and they all start talking about it again. When we cut to Complains looking at the bit of stone he has, instead of reading a poem, he narrates how a chilly, forbodding feeling had come over him, and how he doesn't know what it means.
Well, the three of them trundle off in the Jetson car, and notable by its absense is the little bobbing probe that was in the previous movie that raised questions that film didn't answer. So I guess that's a plus.
Back with the Women of Venus (sounds like a Playboy special), they decide to walk in circles around a pile of rocks.
For rather a long time, in fact. Finally, they ask the fire god to rain hot death on the “demons” that dared to kill their dinosaur. Cue the volcano, I bet.
Wow, their sheer wishing power made fire come out of the pile of rocks! And I was right about the volcano, almost as if I'd seen the movie before!
Back with Scary, Sherman and John, who note the volcano. Sherman wants samples again, and Scary wants to vamoose again. They gather their samples, and we cut to the Women of Venus, still standing around their pile of rocks and mentally chanting “Fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire” etc over and over again, very rapidly. Um, gals, you got fire all right, I think you can stop now!
Back with Sherman, Scary and John, the lava has trapped them. Once gain, John is going to carry the humans across the lava. Once again, John decides he's tired of carrying these guys and they have to short him out to save themselves.
The Jetson car arrives and is able to pick the two humans up and rescue them without breaking a sweat. Which makes me wonder, why didn't Sherman and Scary have their own Jetson car? It sure would have saved a lot of trouble, not to mention robot John.
Once again, we see him fall into the lava, and drift away. And you know, it isn't any easier the second time.
“We'll soon be home.” “That's right, but we leave a friend behind.” Man, that just chokes me up. You can have your Old Yeller, I'll take Robot John.
Back on the beach, Complains narrates how they've got to be getting out of here soon, as the volcano destroyed some of their provisions and they're short on fuel (they have to take Sherman and Scary back, remember). They talk about Resigned's triplets again. And they talk more about intelligence on Venus. Again, it's pretty entertaining and intelligent, but it's a virtual repeat of, um, what we saw in the previous film.
Now, we cut to the pile of rocks again, and the Women of Venus are now lounging about on the rocky shoreline. Looks like a Bosch painting or Paul Delvaux come to life.
Then, they wake up and walk out to shore, and they find Robot John! He's all covered with lava and such like, but the hands are unmistakable.
The women decide this is one of the demons, and the mountain gods sent this to them to show how swell his power is.
The Jetson car pulls up to the ship, and everyone gets out.
Cut to the leader chick, looking peeved. She tells the others that the demons are NOT all dead, so they're stronger than the God of the Fire Mountain. “But now...Ptera will speak!” she promises. Um, look, I know you're upset about it and all, but Ptera's dead.
Back at the ship, the guys are unloading their samples and talking about how great these very samples are.
Back with the Women, they're asking Ptera to bring forth the “waters and the fiery heaven” to kill all the earthmen. And it starts to rain. The Women take this as a good sign.
Back on the ship, Complains narrates about how the rain has kind of worried everyone, but they're preparing to take off and stuff. He still misses his Venusian siren. Then, as we most expected it, the ship lurches as the foundation begins to give way beneath them.
Back with the women, they're all getting rained on and looking pretty pleased. Lots of shots of rain and waves soaking things.
At the ship, they notice the crack in the earth and decide to lighten the load for emergency take-off, and once again Complains uses his rock to break open a piece of equipment (we're not told what it is this time), and again, he sees the face in the rock after the outer layers have been chipped off. Even though it's the same face as before, it doesn't look anything like the Women we've seen. (Last time you'll recall we had nothing to compare it to.)
Anyway, he goes yelling off about how the people here are “like us” and how that means “we must stay.” But they're having none of his space madness, and they take off in the ship.
Back to the Women, who watch the rocket sail off into the atmosphere. And they watch this for a while. And the rain still comes down, but then it stops and I think the flood waters are supposed to be retreating.
“They are stronger than our gods, they are stronger than Ptera,” says Lead Chick. “Ptera is a false god!” she thinks hard, picks up a rock, and chucks it at the poor dead pterodactyle. Ptera takes it on the chin.
The rest of them all join in the rock-throwing fun, which seems a bit unfair, as Ptera did make it rain a lot and stuff, which drove the Earthmen away. But after a bunch of rocks, Ptera's neck snaps and the head tumbles into a convenient abyss.
“There is a stronger god,” muses Lead Chick.
And they decide that this stronger god is none other than...Robot John! Hooray, I'm glad he is appreciated again. They haul him up onto the rock plateau they live on and stand him up. Then they all step back from him and admire him (I guess).
One chick brings a cloth baker's hat and puts it on Lead Chick. (It makes her look a bit like the face in the stone that Complains found.)
“Hear us, most strongest God of all. We worship you.” And we pan across the various Women, doing just that I guess. They're kind of standing there and gazing in (I guess) John's direction. From another angle, yes, that's what they're doing. And we pull back from this angle, and cut to the rocket moving through space, and some final words from narrator Complains:
“Well, that's the story. It's been two years now, and there's no plan to return to Venus. Lockhart [Leader] and Kerns [Scary] have moved on to other missions; there's Mars to be explored, and Jupiter. But I can't forget her. And I'm going back. Maybe some day I'll see her. Maybe I'll die trying.”
Well, since the gals tried to kill all of you when you were there the first time, and were pretty peeved that they didn't succeed, so peeved in fact that they destroyed their own god, I'd say you're pretty spot on with the last sentance, Complains. Anyway, The End appears.
So, what we have is the kind of Golden Age paradox. John W. Campbell says to Isaac Asimov, here are the three laws of robotics, write a story about them and Isaac Asimov says Sir yes sir. Then later, John W. Campbell says to another writer, here are the three laws of robotics, write a story about them. And the other writer says, didn't Isaac Asimov already do this? And John Campbell maybe says one thing, maybe another, but the 2nd writer is thinking, Man, I have rent this week and those ski lessons. So he agrees to write the story.
John W. Campbell, however, doesn't care for it much and turns it down. So the guy rewrites it, adds a bunch of women in clamshell bikini tops, and sells it to Planet Stories. Happy endings all around.
Here in the land of movies, though, there's simply too much of the previous film. I'm not talking about the previous footage, I'm taking about the damn dubbing, too. They didn't even bother to dub new dialogue or voices or anything. I mean, I understand that it costs money to do that, and spending money is not really an option after you blew your $200 dollar budget on blonde wigs and clamshell bikini tops, but, you know, still....
As to the positive bits...well, assuming you rented this, and didn't turn if off in the first 30 minutes thinking, “This is that same damn movie as before, or, this is the Twilight Zone, and I like died or something and am in Hell!”
...er, well, if you did happen to think that, I'm sorry, but the good news is that you're not dead, no, not at all.
But what I was going to say is, at that 33 minute mark...in case you missed me saying it a lot before, hot blonde chicks in clamshell bikini tops. Please re-read that, because I don't think I have the stamina to re-type it. Had the budget allowed, I bet they would have had bikini bottoms too, but you know, what with women all concerned about their rear ends (ha, try and deny it ladies if you dare) that would never have floated past the deep pocket guy. “We wear our strech pants or we don't do this!” someone (maybe even Mamie) said, not realizing how, um, cool this ended (ha!) up looking to the male guys in the audience.
Nonetheless...hot blonde chicks who don't talk and wear clamshell bikini tops and water-resistant stretch pants. Think about it. Then ask yourself, why didn't they credit Johnny LaRue for the concept. Because you know he would have thought of it, and pitched it to Guy Caballero, and well, there's too much history here. It explodes into a world we should have had. So there.
I wonder why Treeline Films had the idea to put this film on DVD right after the Prehistoric Planet one. Couldn't they have moved it down the pack a bit? I doubt anyone is going to sit through all fifty of their box set “Fifty Sci-Fi Classics” (of which, by the way, only the word “Fifty” is accurrate) at one go. But they might sit through an entire side, and putting Prehistoric Women right after Prehistoric Planet is either a) some kind of post-modernist genius tweaking of audience expectations, b) supposed to be funny, or c) um, kind of inept in the programming department.
Or perhaps all three. Thinking on this, what would happen if you watched Prehistoric Planet, then a few weeks down the road Prehistoric Women popped into the DVD player? You'd probably think, Damn, this DVD set is defective—they repeated a film! Here, you know just what you're getting into and perhaps you can find the pleasure in repetitious variation.
-- November 21, 2004