Should one not wish to be burdened by a sensible, interconnected plot, or by special effects that pass a minimum standard of acceptability, then has Missile Test got the movie for you. Cosmos: War of the Planets, also known by many other names, is one of the shittiest films to grace this site in a litany of shitty films.
From director Alfonso Brescia, who also shared a writing credit, Cosmos follows a spaceship under the command of Captain Mike Layton (John Richardson) as it travels across space doing spaceship stuff, and getting into and out of spaceship trouble. One will have to pay close attention to find the plot, as most of the film consists of vignettes whose only connection to one another is that they happen to feature the same characters.
A space signal from hostile aliens has been detected! In order to combat this threat, the MK-31, under the command of Hamilton, is ordered to find the source of the signal, somewhere in OUTER SPACE! A viewer could be forgiven if they didn’t pick up on that, however. Early on, Hamilton establishes his independent bona fides by decking another officer, and when he’s out in space aboard his ship, he doesn’t seem all that interested in following orders. In fact, the exact same movie could have been made with Hamilton and his crew just trucking around space getting into random misadventures. It takes the majority of the film’s running time of 95 minutes to make it to a location essential to the threadbare plot, and it doesn’t feel all that different from the rest of the nonsense in this nonsensical film.
At first, I wasn’t sure this film had a plot. That’s not an exaggeration, either. Rather, it just seemed like short, strung together episodes ripping off every other successful space franchise to come before it, particularly Star Trek. It was also released four months after Star Wars, but had probably been in the can since before that picture was released, so Brescia wasn’t able to include any ersatz Jedi stuff in his flick, although I’m sure he would have, given the opportunity.
That’s only some of the bad about this film. The film stock is cheap, the sound lacks fidelity, the dialogue is stupid, the people saying the dialogue aren’t any good at it, and the soundtrack has a short stretch of lyrical whimsy that goes like this:
Alone here in space
Because here in space
We have boulders
Wow. Bernie Taupin, that is not.
The good news is, all the shit in this movie shines when it comes to the shitty movie fan. The special effects mentioned above are about as sophisticated as that in Dark Star, but that film was a comedy. John Carpenter used his practically nonexistent budget in a clever way to mock Hollywood sci-fi. Brescia found no sense of humor for his poor effects to serve, although I doubt anyone involved in the production could look at the costumes of this film’s intrepid space explorers and not find them funny.
This is a terrible movie, but its kitsch value is through the roof. Sequence after sequence is silly and amateurish to the point I’m amazed this film even got made. Even more amazing is that this is the first of four sci-fi films that Brescia made in 1977 and 1978. I can’t wait to see them all.
Alien: Resurrection is a much better film than Cosmos: War of the Planets.