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UN spacecorps pilot Miyoshi (Kensaku Morita) returns to Japan after two
years in the USA, only to find his former sweetheart Jun (Yuko Asano)
engaged to be married to his best friend Muroi (Hiroshi Miyauchi), another
spacecorps pilot. But he hasn't returned to Japan on purely social matters
but to hook up with Jun's dad, professor Takigawa (Ryo Ikebe), to persuade
him to restart work on his superspaceship Gohten ... because you see, UFOs
have only just started to attack earth, and a superspaceship, equipped
with all sorts of superweapons, sure would make a difference. Takigawa at
first refuses to help, but when one of his colleagues, the presumed dead
doctor Schmidt (William Ross) pays him a visit later on, tries to force
him to hand over the construction manual of Gohten, and is revealed to be
an alien, he changes his mind.
While Takigawa and company are still
trying to finish work on Gohten, the world is already under attack from
the UFOs, all major cities are destroyed, and even the top secret island
on which Gohten is built won't hold out forever. Gohten and its crew
headed by Takigawa and featuring among others Miyoshi, Muroi and Jun,
takes off just in time before the island is laid to waste.
ship's flight to Venus, where the alien headquarters are suspected, Jun is
kidnapped by the aliens and held as captive. Still, professor Takigawa
won't give in to any of the aliens terms. Miyoshi and Muroi however do
their best to infiltrate the alien base and free her, even if Muroi has to
die a hero's death when doing so.
Once Jun is set free, Gohten flies
attack upon attack on the alien base, which now turns out to be the
aliens' mothership, and while it at first looks as if the earth forces
were winning, a special ray beam the aliens direct on Gohten turns the
tides of war. But professor Takigawa still has an ace up his sleeve, a
special all powerful bomb - that has to be steered manually though
and that's situated in Gohten's powerdrill. Takigawa knows he has to pilot
the bomb himself to bury its secret with him, and in the finale he doesn't
only blow up the alien mothership but all of Venus with it ... but of
course only after Gohten has left the planet.
obviously made to cash in on the success of the original Star Wars
(but without really copying it), is not one to be taken seriously (despite
copying the depressing and somewhat ambivalent ending from Godzilla).
War in Space is not about a great story, about characters, about
ideas, it's not thought-provoking or serious in any way - nope, it's a
film about miniature effect, a film that if nothing else touches the inner
child in its audience. I mean, it doesn't make sense to see a submarine
with a powerdrill attached to it (Gohten) fight a Roman galley (the alien
mothership) in outer space - but it's so much fun. Sure, the cities that
are blown up in the process of the movie are all only somehow convincing
miniatures - but seeing them blown up is exhilarating anyways. And I could
go on with this for quite some time. The point though is, this is a film
that's like a toy, and as an adult you know this toy is for children - but
you might want to play with it nevertheless ...