Space: 1999 - Alien attack
THE STORY:Imagine my suprise on September 13, 1999 when I looked outside and saw the man in the moon! You see, when I was a lad this TV show predestined that the moon would be blasted out of Earth orbit on that date! For those of you who are too young to know, or just plain ain't never heard of Space: 1999, it was a TV show made in the mid seventies. The story was that mankind has established a base on the moon, called Moonbase Alpha. The base seems to have a dual purpose. It oversees the storage of nuclear waste that is disposed of on the moon and its also the starting point of a manned space flight to the newly discovered Planet Meta.
A problem has arisen though. All of the astronauts that have trained at Moonbase Alpha for the Meta-flight have fallen ill. Nine of them have died and two are in critical condition. The window of opportunity for the Meta flight is beginning to close and the mission is in jeopardy. In order to get things back on track, the International Lunar Commission sends Commander John Koenig to take charge of Alpha. Koenig meets up with his old friend Prof. Victor Bergman on Alpha and Dr. Helena Russell. There he finds out that the problem with the astronauts is worse than he was told at first....for one, he wasn't informed that anyone had died.
Koenig and his friends discover that the sickness is being caused by magnetic radiation from the nuclear disposal areas. The training flights of the Meta astronauts takes them over these areas and the cumulative effect of the radiation is what causes the sickness. To make it worse, Nuclear disposal area one goes critical. The radiation has built up to such a level that it literally explodes. Victor informs Koenig of another impending problem...Nuclear Disposal area Two has 140 times the amount of waste that area one did and its beginning to go critical. The crew of Moonbase alpha begins a hasty plan to disperse the waste containers over a larger area in order to stop the possible fission.
With every available Eagle Class spaceship on the base moving the waste, Commissioner Simmons, a bureaucrat from Earth visits the base. Simmons's priority is to get the Meta mission launched. Koenig doesn't like Simmons very much, and tells him that the danger is far from over. If the plan to diffuse the disposal area fails there won't be a mission or a Moonbase. Truer words were hardly ever spoken. Minutes after Koenig warns him the area goes critical. Erupting in a fantastic explosion, the nuclear waste erupts. The force of the explosion is so great that it pushes the moon out of Earth orbit! The G-forces are so powerful that the 311 people on the base are unable to move for several minutes. Which in a way is not too bad, since in reality, a force like that should have crushed them flatter than Aunt Jemima's pancakes. Commissioner Simmons dies from injuries sustained in the moon's acceleration.
While damage to the Earth is great from the change of axis and gravity, the crew of the Moonbase face an even bleaker dilemma. The moon has been propelled so far and is moving so fast that there is no hope of rescue with present day spacecraft. Within days all contact with Earth is lost and the moon is sent spiraling through space, taking the denizens of Moonbase Alpha on a lonely voyage.
Now, in the TV series, Koenig and the crew of Moonbase alpha faced a new alien threat pretty much weekly. Almost every episode they came across a new planet or some spacefarers from another world. In this movie, which is made of what seems to be the first two or three episodes, the moon comes near planet Meta. Even before the moon was blasted from orbit radio signals from the planet indicated the possibility of life there. The transmissions appear to be true. As soon as the moon comes within range of Meta they are attacked by "Hawks", an earth type war ship. Astronaut Captain Alan Carter and his pilots try to fight off the attack but aren't very successful. They stop the Meta ships from destroying Moonbase Alpha, but the damage to the base is so great that all hope of survival is gone. Soon there will be no power, food or atmosphere on Alpha. Having no choice Koenig and Helena take an Eagle to the surface of Meta to negotiate a peace.
The Metans (all two of them) do not want the earthlings there. They tell Koenig that Moonbase Alpha and the people there are doomed. The base is dying and the moon will drift out of range of Meta in a few days. The crew will not be allowed to live on Meta. Koenig goes thermal at this news. He argues that the Metans attacked them for no reason and destroyed they're ability to survive so they must live on Meta. In a rage, Koenig goes on a rampage, but the Metan's fire a weapon and supposedly kill him. Then they put Helena in a crystal cage and tell her that she can share their power. Somehow, with this power, Helena wishes Koenig alive again. Koenig, unable to free Helena takes the Eagle back into space and contacts Moonbase Alpha. He orders the evacuation of the base, telling Victor that they'll have to fight for a foothold on Meta, but they have little choice.
The exodus begins, but the Metans start blasting at Koenig's ship. He and Carter (who has joined him in his ship) manage to eject into Space, but are left adrift in space. Helena, still with the Metans wishes this reality away and in short order finds herself back on Moonbase alpha just before the first attack from Meta. This time before the Meta ships reach alpha Koenig decides not to resist. Instead of firing on them the Meta ships disappear. Then the Meta leader appears on the viewscreen. He tells the crew of Alpha that they have made a wise decision. The people of Meta have a perfect society with no fear. They have no weapons but they used the fear of the earthlings to generate the mass hallucination of their destruction. If they let the Alpha crew live on Meta the fear they bring would destroy the Meta society, so they cannot land. The Metans will kill them first, rather than allow it. Helena and Koenig have fading memories of the illusion of landing on Meta, but remember enough to decide not to interfere with the Metans. The crew of Moonbase alpha stay put and let the moon carry them further into deep space, like cosmic refugees....
Its hard to comment on this movie, because, as I said its really a TV show. It was an extremely hokey TV show, but as a kid I loved it. I don't remember too many episodes of it because at the age I was then, I was more interested in aliens and monsters than anything else. Still, as goofy as the show was it has some spark of charm for those of us who did watch it way back when. The fact that the state of technology in the show isn't of the Star Trek variety make it interesting. The eagle spacecraft's look like something that would be built in the not too distant future. (or the not too distant future from a 1977 perspective.) They have limited range and armaments. There's a feel of desperation in the crew. They're lost, trapped on the moon which is uncontrollably moving through space. Unlike shows like Lost In Space and Star Trek: Voyager, the crew of Moonbase Alpha aren't very comfortable with their predicament. My ex-roommate commented once though, that must have a [unwrite]load of Eagles since they seem to get at least one destroyed every episode. Oh well...voyager obviously has an unlimited supply of shuttles, so I guess I can buy that. If you can accept that the moon is moving fast enough to reach other planets within anyone's lifetime, you can pretty much take it all in stride. Commander Koenig was played by Martin Landau. People nowadays know him from being Bela Lugosi in the movie Ed Wood. Barbara Bain was Dr. Helena Russell. The last I saw her was in the so-bad-its-fun-to-watch movie, Skinheads. Actor Nick Tate was Alan Carter. He was in a Star Trek episode, but I can't remember which series or what character he played.
Best Lines:"The moon is going out of the Earth's orbit! That explosion...it has pushed us out of the earth's orbit!"- Astronaut Carter witnesses the catastrophe from orbit over the moon.
"The Gods using us for their sport, perhaps..."-Victor's answer to why so much tragedy has happened to the denizens of Moon Base Alpha.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?:
1.)I'll admit, that disposing of nuclear waste by sending it to the moon sounds cool in a futuristic kinda way, but I still have to wonder...if you're gonna go through the trouble of launching it into space why not just launch it into deep space? Why contaminate the moon? It must have other important functions in a space travel future.
2.)Hmmm. when the moon is blasted out of Earth's orbit the medical section of Moonbase Alpha reports explosive decompression in two sections. Why the hell would anyone build the medical section in an outside facing part of the base? Didn't it occur to anyone that having room full of patients that has a decent chance of decompression seems stupid?
3.)You have to have a lot of suspension of disbelief to have either watched the actual TV show or this movie. For one thing, an explosion powerful enough to push the moon out of Earth's orbit would have had to have been a GONZO explosion. I'm talking one that would have shattered the moon. Think about the power it takes just to get a space shuttle to escape Earth's gravity! The moon is far more massive than anything we can build...I'm no scientist but I wonder if every nuke on Earth could shove the moon out of orbit.
4.)Why doesn't anyone find that its really [unwrite]ing strange for the planet Meta to attack them with Earth type ships and weapons? I'd think it was some kind of mass hallucination or something. After all, this is a totally different planet! How or why would they attack with Earth warships?
5.)On one hand you have to appreciate Koenig's determination to survive...but on the other hand you have to think that its driven him looney. How could he even think that Moonbase Alpha has a chance, with its extremely limited resources, to defeat an entire planet? Even if they managed to land how long did he think they could have survived? Yeah, given the circumstances there wasn't a lot of choices involved, but a hopeless cause is still hopeless.
NUDITY AND SEX:None
HUH?:As I said earlier an explosion that could move the moon out of the orbit of planet earth would have to be tremendous...but even if you allow that, how can the moon reach other solar systems? Just how fast is it going? It reaches Meta in a short amount of time. Weeks at the most. Now, in the series I believe there was a story that the moon fell through a black hole...but even excepting that, how did the moon reach a black hole in anyone's lifetime? The nearest Black hole to earth has got to be parsecs away!
When I taped this back in 1993 I remember watching the part when Koenig and Carter eject from their damaged spaceship. My buddy Gork said at that moment "Eject? Into what? Why?!!!" He was right. Without the fact that this "movie" is really a TV series hodgepodged together on video, therefore the heroes will live, bailing out of spaceship only prolongs the agony.
Why didn't the aliens on planet Meta just send Moon Base alpha a message saying "Nice to meet you, but keep the hell away from us!"? that would have saved a of of time an resources from both sides.
Commissioner Simmons dies in this movie right after the moon is blasted from orbit. I have seen a TV episode of the show where he actually is still alive and thriving on Moonbase Alpha. He dies in that episode though, trying to sneak on an alien craft that is heading towards earth. I guess they had to cut him out somehow to make a movie out of this.
THE TALLY:Some of the episodes of the show are available on tape. I don't know if this movie is easily found. I recorded a copy of it years ago...like 1993, while I was in Mannheim Germany. There was a humongous American video store there that had a buttload of hard to find tapes. If you can find it and you have a taste for nostalgia (and Bell Bottomed space uniforms) you might want to check this out. The premise is interesting even though its fairly ridiculous. However I think its bears watching just because they had the nerve to blow the moon out of orbit!