Odd Reviews by Oddcube

Opinions on the Obscure, Off-Beat, and Outdated

Journey to the Far Side of the Sun
Hey there, hi there, ho there my happy habitues! Everybody's buddy, Oddcube, here, hailing you with a hearty hello and welcome to the collumn! Wow, can you believe it's only been a month since the last review? Seems like longer than that. Didja miss me? If so…what'd ya throw at me? Cuz, if it was something big, I might be glad ya missed! All right, all right, that's enough of the Fozzie Bear material. On to business! And what business is that? I hear the plaintive voice of a newbie call from way in the back. Why, the business, as all my regular readers readily realize, is the vital public service of finding strange but cool things, both new and old, shaking off the dust, and presenting them in center stage for all see! I'd hate to think you were missing something cool, and sometimes cool stuff manages to slip by under the radar! But not to worry! Oddcube is on the job! Well, that's enough of that crap. So, this month I'm talking about a movie. The movie in question is Journey to the Far Side of the Sun! No, it's not a song by Smash Mouth. It's a movie! From 1969! Folks in the UK might know it as Doppleganger, but over here it's Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, so don't get confused! Let's see, it was directed by a fella named Robert Parrish, who also directed a few episodes of the original Twilight Zone, and certain segments from the 1967 James Bond parody Casino Royale (an odd film in itself). It was written by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, a husband-and-wife team responsible for creating many sci-fi cult classics, including the Thunderbirds in their many incarnations, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons in their many incarnations, UFO, and Space: 1999. Let's see, who's in it..well, for starters, there's Roy Thinnes, who had long-term characters on General Hospital (wa-a-ay back in the day), The Invaders, and the early

90's remake of Dark Shadows where he got to be Roger Collins and Reverend Trask. But his whole career wasn't that prestigious. He was in Satan's School For Girls. I haven't seen it, but, let's face it, with a title like that it can't be too good! There's also Ian Hendry, who has a nice long list of credits. He might be remembered as Dr. David Keel on The Avengers, but he was also on Police Surgeon, and was the titular character in The Adventures of Don Quick. Rounding out the three main characters is Patrick Wymark who had long runs on The Plane Makers and The Power Game. He was in a bunch of movies, too, like The Battle for Britain and Where Eagles Dare. There are, of course, other folks in the film, too. But I'm afraid I don't recognize most of them by name (or face) alone. But, to name a few, there's Lynn Loring, Loni Von Friedl, Ed Bishop, and Herbert Lom. Oh wait! I know who Herbert Lom is! He was in those old Pink Panther movies and wanted to kill Peter Sellers! He was good in those. So what's it all about? Well, I'll tell ya. There's this place called EUROSEC, the European Space Exploration Council, and they sent a satellite up to get a better look at the sun. Well, it also sent back some pics of a previously undiscovered planet! This mysterious planet appears to be on the exact same orbital path as the Earth. But that's not all! It also travels along the orbital path in the same direction and the exact same speed, so it's always blocked from our view by the sun! What're the odds? So, Patrick Wymark plays Jason Webb, the Director of EUROSEC, and he's pushing hard for a multi-billion-pound project to send someone to this new planet and have a look around. Herbert Lom is some sort of industrial spy who gets caught stealing info about the existence of the new planet. This is good for Webb, cuz he uses the whole "industrial espionage" angle to get a green light on the project. To man the historic flight, they call in the best of the best of the best: namely, famed NASA astronaut Col. Glenn Ross (Thinnes) and British astrophysicist John Kane (Hendry). Ross is married, but the two have marital problems that aren't really important to the story. And Kane is rushed through astronaut-training so we can take off as soon as possible, or even sooner. It's supposed to be a six-week trip from Earth to the other planet and back. So to cut down on the grocery bill, our astronautical explorers are put to sleep. Hey, you know what those sleep tablet commercials really say: when someone you love can't sleep… DRUG 'EM! Plus, it totally cuts any "are we there yet" scenes. When our guys wake up, they are approaching the new planet. There's no signs of life, so they decide to land and have a look around. So, they get into this little shuttle thing, and leave the main interstellar hull-thing in orbit. But this hotshot American astronaut guy clips a mountain and comes down in a beautiful, patented, Launchpad

McQuack landing. For those of you not familiar with Launchpad McQuack, the dimwitted pilot from Ducktales and Darkwing Duck, allow me to clarify: they crash! Col. Ross is mostly okay (but then, doesn't it seem like the driver that causes the accident always seems to come out relatively okay?) but Kane is seriously injured. And they're both pretty surprised when the rescue copter shows up and picks them up. They are taken back to EUROSEC where Kane is declared to be in critical condition and Col. Ross gets hounded by the higher-ups. It seems he's only been gone for three weeks instead of six, and they wanna know why he aborted the mission. Of course, he says he didn't, and that he doesn't know how they got back to Earth. Eventually, they get tired of questioning him and putting him through tests and send him to his on-base home with his wife. This is where things get weird. He claims people are driving on the wrong side of the road. He claims the layout of his house is the exact opposite of what it was when he left. He claims that the writing in every book, on every label, on his own identification is written backwards. Of course he tells this to his wife and the EUROSEC people and they all assume he's gone space-crazy or something. But he finally gets to talk to Webb, the director guy, and explains his theory: He thinks the mission was a success. He thinks that he and Kane made it to the new planet and that it is a mirror image of the Earth that he came from, and that there is a double on This Earth for everyone and everything on That Earth! Webb believes him, and tells him that Kane died. Kane's x-rays and the autopsy quite clearly showed that all his internal organs were backward, according to the norm of that Earth. They decide that Ross should go back to his own Earth, and they get another space-shuttle built so he can return to his orbiting spacecraft and go home. But here's the thing, see, so many things are reversed here that they don't know if the electricity has its polarity reversed or not. This is vital stuff, because if the backwards Earth has backwards electricity, it won't be compatible with his normal-Earth hull-thing up in orbit. So, they flip a coin (not really, they just decide) and play the odds, and have the polarity reversed. They were wrong! The polarity is the same on both worlds, so when the space shuttle thing tries to dock with the hull-thing, it shorts out! It falls back to backwardsEarth, and with the whole entire planet to choose from, it just HAPPENS to crash on the EUROSEC grounds. What're the odds? In fact, it crashes into a beautiful model of another rocket, and blows up (some poor shmuck spent all that time building that model and then they just blew it up!). The debris from the explosion landed on other buildings and vehicles and blew them up! Everything blows up in an attempt to make up for how dull the rest of the movie was! Then we have this scene where the director guy, Webb, is in some sort of retirement home or hospital or something. He's old and demented, and lamenting how he

lost his job cuz his decisions caused all of EUROSEC to blow up, along with all, and I mean ALL of the proof—the backwards x-rays, the reports, the backwards bodies of Ross and Kane—burned up in the explosion. Then, he sees this mirror (positioned in front of a window, now who does that?!) and tries to touch his "mirror-self", only to crash through the mirror and the window and fall to his death. The moral of the story is, of course, if you ever get the opportunity to travel to a mirror-image Earth on the far side of the sun, don't do it! Cuz EVERYONE dies! Now, this movie was suggested to me for the purposes of reviewing, but I gotta tell ya, everything that I got out of this movie I got from the one-paragraph description on the Netflix envelope before I watched it. We discover a mirror-image Earth where everything is backwards, and that's it. I expected some sort of minor sub-plot in addition to this, but there wasn't one. There was no one who wanted to cut them open and examine them, or exploit them, or try to sabotage or replace them on the return trip or anything like that. Heck, before Ross left, his wife accused him of being sterilized by "space-radiation", and she turned out to be on the pill. This makes you expect them to have a baby on the mirror-image planet, but no, it was just supposed to show us that they don't get along. Just like Sam Spade's late partner, Miles Archer, he died with "a big house, no kids, a fat insurance policy, and a wife who didn't like him." Don't get me wrong, it's not a ba-ad movie. It just seems to me there could have, and should have, been a little more to it. Ha! As it is, I think it would be a great movie for Joel and 'bots on Mystery Science Theatre 3000! Seriously, though, I do think the whole "mirror-image Earth" premise is pretty cool. The movie seemed slow, but actually moved faster than I thought it was when I checked the time partway through. But I still think it could have been spiffed up a little. Oh well, it's available from Netflix, and probably other places, too. And I suppose that brings us up to my very scientific rating system based on my D&D percentage dice. It's very simple, zero-one is as low as you can go, and sucks, like totally, fer sher, uh-huh! While double-zero actually means one hundred, and that it would be worth crawling through fifty miles of cramped sewer pipe to see it! …Ewww. Anyway, I shall roll the ol' dice here…and end up with a whopping sixty-eight!

Anyway, that's one idiot's opinion, and you are not obliged to accept it! You could, if you really wanted to, watch the movie yourself and form your own opinion! You can even share it with someone if ya want! But that's all I have to say about it, so I'll see ya next time when I talk about…uh…something else! So be there and be square! ------Your Buddy Oddcube

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