12/6/06

104 Women of the Prehistoric Planet

(1966, SciFi, color)

Hi-Keeba!

Rating: ***

In a nutshell:

An alien rescue mission results in the accidental colonization of Earth.

Summary:

The lovely and exotically named Linda.Evolution? No way. Creationism? Forget about it. According to this movie, the Earth was populated by Hawaiians from outer space.

Admiral King and the crew of the starship Cosmos I are on their way to their home planet, returning from some mission or other with a valuable cargo of something or other and a few space natives they picked up, well, out in space. The space natives are a Hawaiian-looking people (except for the old guy, who looks Chinese) called Centaurians whose culture has “degenerated.” Apparently they have wars and religion but not space travel, and thus are treated poorly by the clearly technologically and morally superior white people.

Cosmos I gets a distress call from Cosmos III, a sister ship that’s been taken over by mutinous Centaurians, who apparently object to being removed from their planet. Instead of turning back to their home planet of Centaurus, however, the technologically inept Centaurians crash land on a steamy jungle set planet. The only survivors are a trio of officers, the mutiny leader, and his sister. In a dramatic but ridiculous scene, the mutiny leader’s sister kills him, and then sleeps with the only uninjured officer.

Against orders from headquarters, Admiral King takes Cosmos I to the rescue. However, due to the speed of light and all that, eighteen years pass during the spaceship’s six-month journey to the eponymous Prehistoric Planet. The second-in-command, Commander Scott (who, regrettably, does not speak with a Scottish brogue) takes the ship’s doctor, the goofy comic-relief guy, and a pair of expendable crewmembers on an expedition to find out what happened. They all survive the split-screen iguana, but one of expendables dies in a dry ice pool wile the other is killed by a rubber joke spider on a string. They return empty handed, having discovered nothing useful.

In the meantime Linda, who’s a girl Centaurian from the Cosmos I, decides to get some fresh air by going out into the hostile environment in a skimpy outfit. A snake attacks her but she is rescued by a guy named Tang, who turns out to be the son of the only surviving officer and the mutiny leader’s sister. He shows her the frozen corpses of his parents and slaps her around. And then they make love, I think.

After that, a bunch of random stuff happens, including sexy water frolicking, hostile Neanderthals, an erupting volcano and a mind-numbingly stupid plot twist that reveals Linda to be the illegitimate daughter of Admiral King. Cosmos I takes off again, leaving Tang and Linda behind to populate the planet, now designated “Earth” in another painfully stupid plot twist. All of the unattached female characters on the ship are paired up with the unattached male characters on the ship, and we're meant to assume that they all live happily ever after.

Introduction:

Welcome to the Joel Robinson show.Joel decorates the Satellite like a morning talk show set.

Host Segment One:

The Mads introduce their fast food chain, Clay and Lar’s Flesh Barn. Dr. Erhardt sings a song about it. “All our meat is guaranteed rare, because we don’t cook it.” Joel makes a toilet paper dispenser out of a two-liter bottle. The Mads rather reasonably suggest that it could be used as a Molotov cocktail.

Host Segment Two:

Joel uses a mechanical arm to bring a doomsday satellite into the SOL. It smugly informs them that it is about to go off.

Host Segment Three:

The doomsday satellite is revealed to be the work of Isaac Asimov. Joel attempts to disarm it with the enormous instruction manual (badly translated from the original Korean) while the ‘Bots engage in philosophical discourse.

Host Segment Four:

Joel fails to disarm the satellite and it goes off, turning them all into Isaac Asimov.

Host Segment Five:

Joel and the ‘Bots discover that their enormous sideburns and horn-rimmed glasses are fake. They read letters and announce the winners of a contest that won’t be started until a future episode. (Spooky.) Down in Deep 13, Dr. Erhardt sings a little song to Dr. Forrester, and then files something.

Thoughts:

Uh oh, John Agar's waxing philosophical again.  Somebody smack him before it's too late.This movie’s physics made my head hurt. Okay, six months traveling in space is equal to eighteen years not traveling in space. Some rough and probably inaccurate calculations tell me that approximately thirty-six minutes pass on the planet for every one minute in space. So how can they communicate with each other at all if their time references are so different? And how can they broadcast messages to each other if they’re already moving at the speed of light? Why on earth would Admiral King get so many of his crewmembers killed in a rescue attempt for people that he knew would probably be dead of old age before they got there? Oh yeah, and if Tang’s Mother--who spoke English just fine--was alive until shortly before Cosmos I’s arrival, then why does her son talk like Tonto from The Lone Ranger?

According to IMDb.com, the original tag line for this movie was “It's the battle of the sexes as savage planet women attack female space invaders!” The person who thought this one up (perhaps the same person who named the film) apparently had never actually watched it. There are no prehistoric women on this planet; they all had to be supplied by visiting spacecraft. Also, never at any time in this film does one female attack another. It might have been a more interesting film if they had. They did set an iguana on fire though—a move that, if done in this day and age, would send PETA into conniptions.

The host segments focus on a bizarre storyline involving an apparent scheme of Isaac Asimov’s to build a Korean doomsday satellite that will beam horn-rimmed glasses and fake sideburns onto all those who oppose him. The Korean translated manual and the ‘Bot’s philosophical argument are quite funny, and it’s a treat to hear Mike Nelson as the satellite, but the rest of it is just really, really weird. Also, the references to films later in the season during the last host segment are evidence that a few of these episodes are not numbered in the order that they were shown.

There are a couple of MST3K regulars in this film. Wendell Corey (who played Admiral King) can also be seen as Jim Graf in Agent for H.A.R.M. where an entirely different Satellite crew of mocks him for seeming to be drunk in every scene. He seems to be drunk in this movie, too. John Agar (the doctor) is every bit as pompous and annoying in this movie as he is in The Revenge of the Creature and The Mole People. This film also contains the exclamation “Hi-Keeba!” (delivered by Paul Gilbert as the goofy engineer), perhaps the most quoted MST3K line of all time. Gilbert is supposed to be comic relief but, like everything else in the movie, comes off forced and unconvincing. Still, the movie is brightly colored and moves quickly, and the quips are funny. It’s definitely an episode worth watching.