Friday, 14 January 2011

Ikarie XB-1 (1963)

A Czechoslovakian film in origin, Ikarie XB-1 was made in 1963 but is better known round our way as Voyage to the End of the Universe, the dubbed and edited version released in the states the following year.
It’s the year 2163 and the good ship Ikarie XB-1 is on a mission to Alpha Centauri and the mysterious white planet which orbits it.  Travelling at near-light speed, the 40 strong crew encounter perils ranging from a nuclear armed space wreck that has been drifting since the 20th century, a deadly radioactive dark star (?) and the psychological effects of a 28 month journey upon the crew.
In its original form it’s a film that was way ahead of its time, with a thoughtful script and some very impressive sets.
The suit design is also somehow more plausible than a lot of what was hypothesised in other films of this era.  There’s a functionality to them that gives them such practical traits as corrugated joints, armoured chest pieces and magnetisable boots.


1 comment:

  1. Seen this recently, you're spot on with your points about this film, it's very good and I'm sure it must have had great influence on later efforts in the SF genre. The suits and attention to detail is a magnitude better than seen until some afterwards in western cinema. It's got a decent script with proper drama and actors that are actually acting not just posturing which is the problem I always have with Forbidden Planet, although I love that film.

    There's a great interlude in the plot, which digs a little hole in the narrative but it's one of my favourite bits. It's the Tigger Fun episode. It's genuinely eerie and threatening and it left wondering what fertile imagination could conjure up the name Tigger Fun for such a menacing threat.