Saturday, 7 August 2010

IKARIE XB 1/Voyage to the End of the Universe (1963)

Stylistically sitting somewhere between SOLARIS and early STAR TREK this interesting Czech sci-fi drama about a spaceship voyaging to Alpha Centauri is pointed to as an influence on not only SOLARIS but 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY and even ALIEN. As it predates all these films it is hard to argue with that view. The film takes a psychological viewpoint as the crew face and overcome various problems on their journey. Most intriguing is the discovery of a derelict Earth spaceship from the 20th Century full of the corpses of humans wearing evening dress and who seemingly died while drinking champagne and gambling - perhaps, given the political regime in the country of origin at the time, a comment on the corrupt West. The version viewed is the original Czech version, letterboxed and sub-titled, rather than the dubbed and slightly re-edited version (with a different ending) that was released in America as VOYAGE TO THE END OF THE UNIVERSE. Rating ****

1 comment:

Cerpts said...

The dvd which I own actually has both versions (the original and the US dubbed version which I haven't watched yet). I completely agree with you about it's similarity to SOLARIS (and obvious influence on that film and *gack* 2001). Of course, I'm only going on the 15 minutes or so of SOLARIS I've actually seen LOL. I believe I taped SOLARIS (of course I'm talking about the original and not the remake) way back about 10 years ago offa da telly, I remember I watched about 15 minutes of it, something happened and I never seemed to get around to watching the whole film. I probably owe this to the fact that about that same time I got my first DVD player and watching VHS tapes suddenly wasn't happening with me anymore. But since I have it somewhere, I really should dig it out and watch the whole film.

All this of course really has nothing to do with IKARIE XB 1 other than the fact that I was somewhat disappointed when I first saw the film because I had been mistakenly under the impression that the dvd contained the original COLOUR version of the film -- yes, the film was shot and released in colour, folks -- but instead the dvd has the B&W version. Perhaps the colour print no longer exists, I don't recall.