PHANTOM PLANET is a zesty B space opera made even zestier by the efforts of Legend Films. Cry blasphemy if you like, but PHANTOM PLANET, a “Gulliver’s Travels” in space minus the satire, benefits greatly from Legend Films’ colorization process. The movie is packed with visual nuggets that gain new dimension from the quality enhancement. I agree, colorization isn’t always an enhancement, but idealistic cries of “Sacrilege!” at the first sign of painted pixels on a black-and-white movie – even a B movie like PHANTOM PLANET – are overzealous and misguided. One of the high points of a not-great but fun movie are the neat drive-in sci-fi special effects frequently dotting the film’s landscapes. With asteroid spaceships, flaming rock space fighters with lasers piloted by aliens, rubber monster suits shenanigans, retro-futuro sets and even some star fields that are rather sharp-looking post-colorization, PHANTOM PLANET has enough popcorn eye-popping afoot to make up for the talkiness. A related high point is a, relatively speaking, kinetic space battle between the big rock spaceship and the little, on-fire rock spaceships flown by the split-brain, goggle-eye alien monster guys. For 1961 low budget, I’m impressed. Yet another high point – PHANTOM PLANET’s remarkably well-endowed for a movie of its station – is a shirtless man-battle trial by strength sort of duel, a peculiar endeavor I won’t try to describe; it’s the kind of thing into which Captain Kirk would have gotten himself. Bonus: If you really wanna be bitchy about the color thing, the black-and-white version is on here too. And a few trailers if you’d like to complete your drive-in experience.
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