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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Information Exchange  |  Movie Reviews  |  Lifepod (1981) « previous next »
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Author Topic: Lifepod (1981)  (Read 2512 times)
Svengoolie 3
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« on: July 17, 2019, 02:44:21 AM »

 OK,  i'm going to say this up front:

This is a good movie.

Yeah it was relaased by a distributor called "golden key" which makes me wonder if it was related to those old cheap gold key comic books. 

Yeah it looks like a college film project that was financed by selling chemistry lab made LSD.

It's also pretty well written,  decently acted and is obviously a film made by people who wanted to make the best damn SF movie they could and by ghawd succeeded!

I'm writing this review respectfully, unlike the flippant tone I took with my last review, virus (1980) because this is a criminally unknown and under appreciated SF jewel that deserves respect along with the people who made it.


In the still far off world of 2191 the world is abuzz about the Arcturus, the newest,  largest space liner from the White Star cruise line.  (Yeah it's  a bad Joke)

This state  of the  art vessel is the last word in luxury accomodations and will take its passengers from earth to Calisto, a moon of Jupiter, in a mere 60 days. Considering it takes years to get a probe the size of a SUV , at most,  to Jupiter now, that's pretty amazing for such a huge, or even,  (Dare Isay?) titanic,  vessel. (Yeah yeah if I weren't already going to hell in most religions that joke would have done it. But then again according to the rosicrucians and the gnostics I still have a chance.)


The Arcturus looks pretty good, yes it's  a simple model and filmed cheaply, but the design looks pretty good and plausible. Looking at it I would guess it was designed to burn her fuel reaching Jupiter then skim the atmosphere for fuel for the  trip back.

OK, maiden voyage of a ship of the white star line, no surprise suddenly there is an emergency on board. The ships control  system,  called a "main cerebral", orders all hands to abandon ship. Well,  at least this  time the white star line made sure there were enough life boats, excuse me, lifepods,  for everyone.  

The captain is trapped on the bridge, and so are a few other people as the main cerebral decompresses most of the ship,  like it wanted to trap some people aboard....

The rest of the cast are a mixed bag, a reporter wearing a surprisingly accurate headset video camera that looks like Google glasses did, a technician, an executive of White star lines, his... Ahem  lady "companion",  a ditzy woman with a  parrot and a couple other people.

Turns out the main cerebral as some issues with Someone. Wanna guess who?

The main cerebral is shown as a huge ceiling mounted tech looking thing that  rotates  and has moving slats in it,  it looks effectively technological and mysterious.

The rest of the cast makes it to the bridge which still has air, the captain shows them an escape tunnel leading to the last life pod. The take it,  the captain opts  to remain with his vessel.  

Revelation time. The Arcturus  was built to be the first interstellar exploration vessel. The main cerebral was her human pilot who was hardwired into it to control it.  The white star exec decided hauling passengers paid more that boldly going where no man bnas gone before and converted the Arcturus into a passenger liner, mind wiping and brainwashing to pilot into a cyber slave, but his memories began returning over time. Oops.

The life pod was damaged in her  ejection from the Arcturus, it's reactor is damaged. The tech says they can't use its engines but the exec for white star is terrified of the huge Arcturus nearby given she's controlled by some who is extrmely displeased with him. He uses a mind link helmet to take control of the pod and fire up her engines, as I recall,  it has been a while since I saw this. The pilot of the Arcturus hacks into the pod and forces the exec to experience what he did by being wired into the massive ship. His brain can't  handle it and overloads with fatal results.

The death of the evil executive that turned  him into a mindless slave has a cathartic effect on the main cerebral. He wants to save the other people on the pod who were  forced to jettison the pod's reactor but now can't get far enough away from it before it explodes.  With his systems disrupted he can't navigate the Arcturus well enough and askes the captain to help him. Looking out the window the wise old space hand calmly tells the cerebral to steer a few points down and left,  placing the thick hull of the titanic Arcturus between the fragile escape pod and the damaged  reactor before it explodes,  easily shrugging off the blast that would have destroyed it.

With a rescue ship coming the Arcturus' pilot decides he's  going to explore the stars as the original deal for being wired into a ship as it's  control system. The captain, bored with carrying around vacationing masses, goes with him. The ship seems to activate some sort of star drive and flashes off into the darkness,  the two aboard apparently well matched in their desire to boldy go...  you know where.

All in all this was a damn good little movie, intelligence and thought shines from every frame. Some of the ideas we're pretty advanced for the day. Most of  the designs hold up well.

While it's  effects are basement level it's  a better SF movie than a lot of the garbola produced today.

A remake was made in the 90's. I don't remember much  of it.

This is truly a jewel of budget film making and SF. If yoiu can find a watchable  copy grab it now.






« Last Edit: July 17, 2019, 02:53:23 AM by Svengoolie 3 » Logged

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kornula
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2020, 06:52:52 PM »

I guess I'm going to break down and watch this now.
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