|MESSAGE FROM SPACE
|Copyright 1978 Toei Company Ltd.
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 21 October 2002
- I am trying to get the names (and other words) right, so give me a break during this review. Feel free to submit corrections, but please give me a reference. Otherwise, I am likely to believe you are guessing, just like I am.
- Esmeralida - Princess of Jellucia. Despite traipsing across the universe to find several men and women who have gotten their nut, she has the audacity to wear white.
- Urocco - Angry guardian of the princess. He wears lots of mascara, but nearly everyone in this movie wears lots of mascara.
- Shiro - Hot-dog pilot that spends his spare time breaking various reckless flying laws and interstellar speed limits.
- Aaron - Angry associate of Shiro, also a rebellious spaceship jock.
- Meia - A poor little rich girl. She owns the Japanese version of the Millennium Falcon and has an unsettling Brooklyn accent.
- Jack - Huge of front teeth and friend of the above three.
- General Garuda - Vic Morrow! Resigns from the military to pursue a career as a professional drunk.
- Beba 2 - He is either a natural kiss-ass or Garuda programmed him (Beba 2 is a robot) that way.
- Prince Han - Sonny Chiba! True heir to the Gavanas' empire and a mighty warrior.
- Emperor Rockseia the XII - Evil overlord of the Gavanas. He is stabbed through the frontal lobe, sucked out a window, and then falls several hundred stories. That is a pretty extreme death, even for an evil overlord.
- Rockseia's Mother - Oh boy, the emperor is a mama's boy!
|I have one warning for those who watch this movie: it moves at breakneck speed and changes direction faster than a pursued squirrel. Trying to understand everything and keep up with the action in one viewing might result in nausea.
The planet Jellucia is a broken world. After invasion by the savage Gavanas' empire, the few surviving members of the once proud and peaceful planet place their fate in the hands of the gods. The wise old ruler releases eight sacred Liabi seeds (green glowing walnuts) into space, where they will seek out heroes to free the Jellucians. Never mind that he tosses them, resulting in a velocity that would take billions of years to reach Earth. There are far more puzzling things to come, like Princess Esmeralida escaping in her space clipper ship (it even has sails) to locate the persons selected by the nuts.
A sailing ship? In outer space? I think the reason that the Jellucians lost to the Gavanas is pretty darn obvious.
Shiro and Aaron are enjoying themselves at the expense of a harried space traffic enforcement officer. The rash pair lose the cop by skimming the planet's surface and "threading the needle" - guiding their ships down a narrow tunnel through a mountain. Suddenly, both craft begin malfunctioning and crash. Neither pilot is seriously injured and they find walnuts lodged in their engine panels.
Meanwhile, General Garuda is forced out of the Defense Force after he conducts a funeral for his dead robot. The main reason Central Command throws a fit is that the delusional officer launched the robot's body into space via an expensive rocket. The disgraced general replaces Beba with Beba 2, then begins drinking heavily while wearing an absurd fur coat. He soon finds a Liabi nut in his bourbon.
Jack bites into a tomato and discovers a nut inside (you know, nuts are popping up like mad here). To earn a monetary favor from Meia, he convinces Shiro and Aaron to collect "space fireflies." Earlier, we were told the flitting lights were caused by toxic waste dumps in the asteroid belt. Despite this, the group happily catches several glowing particles before realizing that the things turn to dust upon contact. The idiots are saved from themselves (cancer, radiation poisoning, who knows) when they find the battered clipper ship among the asteroids. Esmeralida and Urocco are rescued just in time; the bad guys' flagship arrives and starts blasting.
The humans return to somebody's pad and commence bickering about what to do. The argument wakes up Garuda, who is now a bum sleeping in an unused portion of the house. Okay, I officially think that Vic Morrow's character is deranged. He does not own a house? He was a general for crying out loud! Anyway, the princess tells Shiro and company all about the Liabi nuts and the plight of Jellucia. The irresponsible kids balk at the task, quickly handing their nuts back to the crushed Jellucians. Jack does suggest that he knows where Esmeralida can find some heroic types though.
The course of action suggested by Jack was a setup; he sold the Jellucians out for hard cash. Urocco is tasered, while an old crone rejoices that Esmeralida will become her hideous son's bride. The son looks like a reptilian aardvark, because he was born on Pluto (I do not have any idea why that matters). Wedding plans are put on hold when the Gavanas burst in. The crone and Esmeralida are taken to Rockseia's palace on Jellucia.
Are you still with me?
Aaron and his buddies toss their nuts out the window (damn things came back), but Meia joyfully finds herself to be the recipient of a Liabi seed. I have never seen a girl so happy about a walnut. The three male shirkers suffer from terrible nightmares. Upon waking, they gather near the window and someone tosses two nuts back in. Aaron doesn't get his nut back at this time. The brash lad is a little bitter about his nut shortage.
Back on Jellucia, the oppressors use a device to look into the old crone's memories. The scenes and situation will definitely remind some viewers of "Soylent Green." At the end of the memory stream the woman dies, but Rockseia listens to his mother like a good little emperor (what a rube). He issues the order to invade Earth. Giant engines ignite and Jellucia is pushed across the galaxy to our solar system. Would you like some "Gorath" with your "Star Wars" and "Soylent Green?"
The Space Defense Forces valiantly oppose the Gavanas' attack, but even the atomic missiles, that resemble B-2 bombers, cannot stop the evil empire. Mankind's space carriers are destroyed. To gain time to prepare a counterattack, the government asks Garuda to conduct a diplomatic mission and delay Rockseia's plans. The general was relieved for being suitably wacko and, since then, has done nothing besides drink; great idea.
Aaron still has not gotten his nut.
The Gavanas' flagship attacks the remote spot where Meia, Shiro, and Aaron have their craft staged. No equipment is damaged, but the battleship's lasers blast holes in the ground and then a tractor beam is used to kidnap Jack. I have no idea why Rockseia did this; maybe it was at mama's behest. Maybe mom is starting to display signs of Alzheimer's. The positive result of the mysterious attack is that Aaron finally gets his nut back.
The remaining three, Meia, Shiro, and Aaron, decide to attack the Gavanas' base. However, their nuts have other ideas. The Liabi seeds bounce around the spacecraft, causing it to crash on some world, possibly Mars. There they meet Prince Han, who also has a nut. He offers to help fight Rockseia.
At long last the main characters converge on Jellucia. The robot gets a nut (the hell?), but Urocco betrays the heroes and all are captured. Taken to the palace so that a hologram of the emperor can gloat over them, the tables are turned when Urocco has a change of heart. Urocco dies after being shot, but finds the last nut picked him as a saviour of the universe. This signals the final battle, which depends on Shiro and Aaron "threading the needle" in their ships. This time it is not a natural tunnel, but access corridors to the Gavanas' reactor core. Destroy the reactor and Jellucia will explode, taking the evil armada with it.
The film comes complete with a poor man's Millennium Falcon, sword fights (normal weapons, but a special effect goes off when a hit is scored), laser pistol battles, and a trench run. The list of "similarities" goes on and on, except, in this movie, the good guys hug each other and dance around in a big circle when they are happy. That never happens in one of Lucas' works... ...hey, those blasted Ewoks! And Shiro's fighter looks like a snowspeeder! And the battle on the planet's surface at the end of the movie! And flying into the base to destroy the reactor! Man, George Lucas ripped off the film that ripped off his film!
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Military robots rate full funeral honors.
- Police spacecraft are equipped with flashing lights and sirens.
- Respirators can be used to survive in a vacuum.
- Being a master swordsman is impressive, but of dubious use when the enemy is armed with laser rifles.
- Suspension of belief can be improved with cross-training.
- Killing an old woman in a wheelchair is harder than it sounds.
- A planet's destruction will always pause so that a father may bless his daughter.
- Forty people is robust enough of a gene pool to populate a new world.
- 14 mins - There is no reason for the space patrol ship to fly that low, except to facilitate crashing.
- 25 mins - A fishing net... ...on a spaceship. Okay, sure.
- 31 mins - Ouch, right in the face. That is going to leave a mark.
- 38 mins - Where are we again? Europa? Looking for wolves on Europa?
- 46 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A WINDOW!
- 64 mins - "I have a nut in my drink."
- 70 mins - Should they run into a bat-rat-spider monster, I will surely die of laughter.
- 77 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST THE MOON!
- 97 mins - Lucas so ripped off this scene in "Return of the Jedi."
- Wise Man: "You will follow the Liabi seeds wherever they go. When you return with the eight brave heroes, the people of Jellucia will be saved."
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Beba 2: "Master, don't get smashed. Must find place to crash tonight. No more booze! No more booze!" |
Garuda: "Hey Beba, you better shut your voice box."
||Esmeralida: "Surrender? We Jellucians do not surrender! Get this into your head: Jellucians are not your cattle."
||Rockseia asking his mom for advice.
||Aaron: "We'll dive right into the spiral thing with our ships. Now, the Gavanas would never think anyone would be nuts enough to try and fly a spaceship right into their castle." |
Garuda: "It's risky, but it might work. That tunnel is only ten meters from side to side. One mistake and you've had it!"
Shiro: "Hey, we've gone tunneling lots of times - it's a hobby."
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Shiro, Aaron, and Meia are dogfighting their way toward the access corridor, while Esmeralida and the Jellucians attack the Gavanas guarding a space clipper.
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
|Message from Space
Reply #25. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Kurt Arnold
Gosh I loved this movie. I saw it 8 or more years ago and never caught the name. The funny thing was that I was half in the sack when I saw it so wasn't quite sure if it was a dream or reality (but I was pretty sure it wasn't a dream). I'm sure most of you know this movie isn't listed on very many sites and its not really all that easy to search for a Star Wars parody that involves glowing walnuts. But after all these years of searching I have so happily discovered the name and am just as excited to hear that there are other fans. I'm dieing to see it again.
Does anyone have a clue how I can get a DVD English copy? Please help.
|Message from Space
Reply #26. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Matt Haley
I. LOVE. This. Bad. Movie. I finally got a DVD-R of it recently, and have just aboout worn it out. The end swordfight scenes are worth the price of admission alone, as it looks liek they're running around inside a KISS pinball machine. Poor Sonny (KILL BILL) Chiba broke his ankle sliding into a shutting door near the end, and they had to stop filming until it healed so he could run around like a nut again. This movie made me go hunt doen GREEN SLIME, SAN KU KAI, WARNING FROM SPACE (1958), and even the execrable LATITUDE ZERO. - mhhttp://www.matthaley.com
|Message from Space
Reply #27. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by The Old Hippie
The story of how a brave Japanese movie studio got the government to delay the release of Star Wars for a year so this film could be made and marketed is already known, I hope. This film, which was the highest budget of the immediate Star Wars ripoffs, and is a feast of all the things people that enjoy Japanese sci-fi films like: uncomfortable American stars looking for paychecks (a young Philip Casnoff and an older Vic Morrow); special effects that wander from brilliant to amateurish in the extreme (excellent pyro effects, but the "space fireflies" scene is a howl) and a story you feel must have lost quite a bit in translation. Now, as to corrections: that's EMERALIDA who is Princess of JELUCIA, actually. Also,there is an anime crossover in costuming - Vic's outfit (worn flat brim hat and cloak) is a popular style from SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HARLOCK and VAMPIRE HUNTER D just for starters1
A good movie to enjoy while baked or getting so....every movie isn't meant to be THIS ISLAND EARTH, you know, including STAR WARS.
|Message from Space
Reply #28. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by phil matthews
Still one of my favorite sci-fi flicks. I have it on tape but I want it on DVD with extras if it exist. I remember some of the footage was used in a 80's video game but I can't remember the name. Good Times!
|Message from Space
Reply #29. Posted on September 17, 2005, 09:15:21 AM by yawn.
I remember the commercial for this film back in 1977. This and battlestar galactica came out as a result of this unexpected success of Star Wars. I thought it was miserable then and is so now. Same with battle star galactica. Oh, that includes Napolean Dynamite. Please. Kind of reminds me of Welcome to the Dollhouse. Stupid movies getting green lit.
|Message from Space
Reply #30. Posted on August 18, 2005, 09:32:08 PM by Caleb
I did a double feature that day, Superman The Movie and Message From Space when they came out, $4.50 total for both movies. I am glad to see that someone agrees about Lucas stealing scenes to make Return of the Jedi. When it came on TBS I video taped it, so I have my full copy. Yes, I liked it despite the bad acting and effects. Also did you know that scenes were taking from it and Star Trek II to make the first laser disc video game. I played it a lot until made it to the end. Forgot the name of the game. By the way the seeds were golden in color, not green. =)
|Message from Space
Reply #31. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Michael
I saw this a few times about 25 years ago (on HBO?) and have always had the image of that ship in my head. None of my friends or relatives or any of the geeks that I know have any knowledge of this movie. I have been searching for this movie for years.
Being that I was a little kid my favorite part about the movie was the two young guys in there really cool ships. At least that is how a little kid thought about it.
I would be interested to see it again but think that the dialogue will probably be as bad as Napoleon Dynamite.
|Message from Space
Reply #32. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Steve
I saw this theater in the late 1970's in a second-run movie house in the San Fernando Valley in California. It was one of those decaying theaters that charged .49 cents (later .99 cents) for a double feature. I was only 8 or 9 and went with my father, who was always a big sci fi fan, I remember being really bored by the movie until the glowing walnuts appeared. At that point, the half dozen people in the audience started laughing. Another half and hour in, we started having a great time, as we assumed this was *supposed* to be a funny movie. In all events, I've been dying to remember the name of the film ever since. On a whim, I typed in "70's sci fi movie walnuts" into Google and like magic, I've finally gotten the scoop on this silly little movie I remember watching so long ago. Now that I know what it's called, I've just got find a DVD of this movie and share it with my father!
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