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Classic Science Fiction Movie Review--"First Spaceship On Venus" (1960)

With most Science Fiction movies I watch, I either like them or I don't. Rarely do I run across one that has me still trying to decide which it is hours after I see it. But "First Spaceship On Venus" turned out to be one of them.

Before I saw it, I had high expectations, especially considering it was based on a Stanislaw Lem story. Then I found out that Lem disowned the movie and my expectations dropped like a rock thrown out of an airplane! I'm not sure how closely the story was based on Lem's (and, I confess, I've never read it), but there wasn't much originality.

After the first few minutes, "First Spaceship On Venus" seemed like a documentary but it did eventually progress into a decent movie. I thought it was going to be another one of those long, drawn-out, boring  Science Fiction movies (an example here). Well, it did seem rather long, but it was interesting enough to keep my interest (which isn't easy for any movie).

I won't speak much to the acting because, quite frankly, some of it was good and some was downright bad. And I don't think it was the writing this time, or the directing. But the (bad) acting just felt more like a lack of talent. You can tell they tried their best. Unfortunately, it wasn't good enough.

The special effects...ah, that's where "First Spaceship On Venus" shines! The Venusian landscape, with it's virbrant color and unusual, wispy, cloud-like vapors oozes a sense of realism! Especially top-notch for the time period. And, of course, there's the spaceship, The Cosmostrator (background...image at top}. Probably the coolest ship I've ever seen in a Science Fiction movie. The only real issues I had was that little tank-with-somewhat-of-a-head robot. That was childish and silly looking. Also, it didn't portray much in the way of heat. Remember, Venus is closer to the Sun than Earth, so it wold be much, much hotter.

It's important to note that this was a German/Polish collaboration. The original version (Der Schweigende Stern) was some 130 minutes long while the US version was cut down to around 78 minutes. This explains the issue I had with with the editing that made the movie jump around like it didn't know where it was supposed to go. It also explains the horrible dubbing attempt. But I won't count points off for those.

I'm still not sure if I like it more than I don't but, overall, "First Spaceship On Venus" surpassed my expectations. I definitely recommend watching it. It's a good way to spend your spare time on a clear night when Venus is shining.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 (B-Movie scale)

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