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Uchujin Tokyo ni Arawaru

Warning from Space
The Cosmic Man Appears in Tokyo / The Mysterious Satellite / Space Men Appear in Tokyo / Space People Appear in Tokyo / Unknown Satellite Over Tokyo

Japan 1956
produced by
Masaichi Nagata for Daiei
directed by Koji Shima
starring Keizo Kawasaki, Toyomi Karita, Bin Yagasawa, Shozo Nanbu, Bontaro Miyake, Mieko Nagai, Kiyoko Hirai, Isao Yamagata, Gai Harada, Kanji Kawahara, Sachiko Meguro, Toshiyuki Obara, Fumiko Okamura, Tetsuya Watanabe, Yuzo Hayakawa, Shiko Saito, Koh Sugita, Noriaki Yuasa
screenplay by Hideo Oguni, based on the novel by Gentaro Nakajima, music by Seitaro Omori, special effects by Kenmei Yuasa

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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A group of aliens from a yet undiscovered planet heads for earth to deliver a warning of impending doom, but because of their grotesque, starfish-like looks, they are not only not taken seriously but are considered invaders. So one of them takes on human form - that of a popular female musical performer (Toyomi Karita - and sees to it that she is adopted by a group of scientists, namely doctors Itsobe (Shozo Nanbu), Kamura (Mieko Nagai) and Matsuda (Isao Yamabata), who are soon in awe over her superhuman abilities but also baffled about her superior knowledge ... so that when she finally reveals she's from a superior alien race, they tend to believe her, and also believe her warning: That earth is going to be hit by stray  planet R in only a few weeks time, and the only defense is to fire all of earth's nuclear weapons onto the planet. When our scientists try to convince the World Council about this though, they are at first only met with ridicule as for one the council doesn't believe in UFOs, and furthermore Planet R hasn't shown up on earth telescopes yet. Once Planet R is visible though, the World Council rethinks, and earth launches a nuclear attack on the planet - to no avail. Now the last hope is with a super explosive which Dr. Matsuda has developed for peaceful purposes. Problem though is, Matsuda has been abducted by an agent for a foreign power who wants to force Matsuda to give up the explosive's formula for his country's dominance in the arms race. Problem is, the gravity of Planet R is already causing destruction on earth even if the planet's still days away from impact - so the time's running out ... 

 

Now despite the film being very competently made with some solid effects work and nice imagery, one can hardly call Warning from Space big cinema, it's just too simplistic for that, too much of a crowd pleaser with its plethora of cute kids and even some musical interludes, and of course the thing the most remembered about the movie will always be its slightly ridiculous starfish-aliens. However, it's hard to not fall in love with its pacifist message, which it shares with many Japanese science fiction films of an era  when American sci-fi often sang praises to militaristic solutions to problems big and small. And I'll admit, the starfish aliens have a hypnotic lure despite their ridiculousness. So in all, no classic for sure, but retro genre fun at least.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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