After the fallout of the Great Robot Wars, earthlings relocate to a colony on the moon called “New Washington”. All is well until bad guy Jack Palance pulls a science-fictiony 9/11 on the moon men by crashing a starship into their colony which causes a bunch of model buildings to blow up. The moon council (consisting of a bunch of various character actors) sits around and worries a lot until they eventually come up with a plan to send some space ace, his girlfriend and a clumsy robot to stop Jack once and for all.
The Shape of Things to Come is neither the first, last, best, or worse cheapjack Star Wars rip-off from the late 70’s. I would never in a million light years attempt to call this a “good” movie, but it certainly is watchable and even kinda fun in a goofy sort of way. It sure as Hell went down a lot smoother than several other higher budgeted films I’ve sat through this week, I’ll give it that.
I know; a lot of things about this movie just plain flat out sucks. I’ll admit that the script is a mess, the actors who aren’t named Jack Palance blow hardcore and the stupid ass robots get on your nerves real fast. Seriously, I could rip this movie apart if I wanted to. Maybe it’s just because I’m in a good mood or something, but The Shape of Things to Come’s numerous shortcomings didn’t bother me all that much.
Look, the movie was setting itself up to be a big letdown from the get-go. I mean I knew it wasn’t going to be very good as soon as I read the Star Wars style opening crawl. I immediately knew that the stuff that they were alluding to like “robot wars” and “cities becoming wastelands” was going to sound a Hell of a lot cooler than anything that was actually in the movie itself. I was able to make peace with that and move on. People who get sucked into the opening titles expecting Return of the Fucking Jedi are only fooling themselves.
Hey, Dune didn’t live up to its opening narration either and this movie is a fuck of a lot better than Dune.
I have a soft spot in my heart for cheesy sci-fi movies, so I could appreciate its ineptness. I especially loved the way that this flick took stuff from the modern day and tried to pass it off as “futuristic”. Like guys walking around in spacesuits that were really nothing more than asbestos suits. FUTURISTIC! Or the spaceship interior that resembled a very 70’s looking boiler room. FUTURISTIC! Or the distant planets that actually just looked like some guy’s ranch in
People, when you watch as many movies as I do, you have to chuckle about shit like this or else you go crazy.
And c’mon, you have to admit that the effects weren’t the worse you’ve ever seen in a low budget Star Wars rip-off. Although the sets were ridiculous and the planets looked like bowling balls, the model spaceships weren’t THAT bad. They sure as shit were a lot more convincing than the ships found in any of the Italian made Star Wars rip-offs like War of the Planets.
The Shape of Things to Come really belongs to Palance though. He looks nuts while running around the piecemeal sets in his silly looking purple cape. Palance really knows how to chew to scenery and because the scenery was so goddamned cheap in this movie, it’s like a smorgasbord for the man. Watch him try to keep a straight face during his death scene when the cardboard set is falling apart around him and Styrofoam pillars are landing on his noggin and tell me if it isn’t almost worth the price of admission.