Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (1969)

aka Doppelganger
Article 4625 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 9-8-2014
Directed by Robert Parrish
Featuring Roy Thinnes, Ian Hendry, Patrick Wymark
Country: UK
What it is: Science fiction

When it is discovered that there is a planet on the other side of the sun directly opposite the Earth in the Earth’s orbit, an expedition is sent out to investigate it.

I saw this movie many years ago, so this viewing is in essence a return to it. Unfortunately, this is one of those cases that a re-viewing is bound to be a very different experience from the first viewing. If you’ve seen the movie already, than you know that the movie builds up to one humdinger of a revelation, and I’m willing to bet that if anything sticks in your memory about this movie, it will be that revelation. My problem is that it’s one of those revelations that, if you stop to think about it, raises more questions and issues than it answers, and while I watched this movie this time, those questions and issues were always foremost in my mind and colored the movie considerably, whereas they simply didn’t exist on my first viewing. I won’t go into more detail here except to say that the revelation involves a “coincidence” that seems to go beyond all scientific explanation in favor of poetical or mystical explanation, and that the movie never quite addresses the “why” of the revelation. Still, despite this problem, the movie is an enjoyable watch, at least partially because the solid acting from everyone involved, the appeal of the special effects and scene design (which is something I’d expect from the work of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson), and some of the details of the story. There are things that don’t work, though; there’s an espionage subplot that is brought up only to be summarily dropped, the movie indulges in trippy sequences similar to those in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY for no good reason, and once the big revelation is made, the movie doesn’t really have anywhere good to go with it. It is worth catching at least once, if for no other reason that it might make a subject for interesting discussion afterwards.

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