VOYAGE INTO SPACE (1970)
Article 3072 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-5-2009
Posting Date: 1-11-2010
Directed by Minoru Yamada
Featuring Jerry Berke, Toshiyuki Tsuchiyama, Hirohiko Sato
What it is: Several episodes of a Japanese children’s science fiction show edited together to masquerade as a feature film.
A young boy hooks up with a secret agent and gains control of a giant robot (known as Giant Robot). He joins the agents organization known as Unicorn, and helps battle an invasion from outer space by the evil Emperor Guillotine, his minions (the Gargoyle Gang), and a variety of giant monsters.
First of all, who concocted that title? I suspect it was thrown onto the movie by someone who watched the opening thirty seconds and noticed a spaceship going through space; hence, the title. However, that’s just the flying saucer arriving on earth, and beyond a short sequence into the movie where the Giant Robot goes into outer space, there is nothing in the way of real space voyaging here. Still, that’s a side issue.
As said above, this movie consists of several episodes of a TV series edited together. The series is “Jonny Sokko and his Giant Robot”, and the five (not four, as some sources state) episodes are “Dracolon, the Great Sea Monster”, “Nucleon, the Magic Globe”, “Destroy the Dam”, “Transformed Humans”, and “The Last Emperor Guillotine”. It’s basically a variation of Ultraman with a more prominent kid’s role and continuing invasion from outer space theme. It’s pretty silly, but fun. Some of the monsters that show up include a bizarre plant monster, a giant bowling ball, a giant eye, and a giant version of the evil space emperor, who can blow up mountains with his fingernail. The Giant Robot looks like a metallic Lou Reed wearing an Egyptian headdress. The episodes encompass the first one which sets up the plot, and the last one (which finished the storyline), so it at least feels a bit more unified than some other attempts at this sort of thing. For this sort of thing, recommendations are irrelevant; I suspect that if you’ve read this far, you’ll know whether it’s your cup of tea or not. Me, I find it irresistible.