Voyage To The End Of The Universe (1963) a.k.a. Ikarie XB 1
A giant spaceship carrying colonists to a new planet runs into unexpected troubles on its journey, ranging from encounters with abandoned alien craft to malfunctioning onboard computers and tensions among its crew and passengers.
Zdenek Stepánek ... Captain Vladimir Abajev
Radovan Lukavský ... Commander MacDonald
Frantisek Smolík ... Anthony Hopkins
Otto Lackovic ... Michal
Jozef Adamovíc ... Zdenek Lorenc
Jirí Vrstála ... Erik Svenson
Miroslav Machácek ... Marcel Bernard
Marcela Martínková ... Steffa
Jaroslav Rozsíval ... The Ship\'s Doctor
Irena Kacírková ... Brigitta
This is an intriguing Czech science fiction film from the early 60\'s. It\'s pretty much unknown in the U.S (American - International Pictures dubbed it into English and released it as \"Voyage to the End of the Universe\" in 1964; it\'s been seen here only rarely since then).
The movie depicts a group of space travelers on a seemingly endless journey to a new planet. They encounter many traps and dangers along the way (including a derelict spacecraft and a mysterious nebula) but the greatest conflict seems to be psychological: namely, the titanic ambition of a 15-year, trans-galactic voyage pitted against the fragility of the human mind and the relative insignificance of human lives.
The interior sets are lavish -- certainly on a par with \"Forbidden Planet\" and perhaps even \"2001\". The level of detail in the spaceship interiors is admirable, and the same can be said for the smartly designed spacesuits.
\"Ikarie XB 1\" stumbles badly, though, when it comes to the exterior effects work. The spacecraft models are too small to provide much detail, and seem to be propelled through space by dark-colored string. As a result the transitions between interior and exterior shots are somewhat jarring.
All the same, this movie is a very interesting example of mid-century science fiction. It deserves a much wider audience, and it is to be hoped that a restored, subtitled print will one day make the rounds in American art houses. Cross your fingers.
This is for sf-film completists. It seems to fill a gap between the late-50\'s style of sf movie and the forever-after effects of Star Trek and Kubrick\'s \"2001.\" The only version you\'re likely to see is the American International release. The Encyclopedia of SF says the original film is in color, but AI\'s print is B&W, probably to save costs on the number of prints they may have made from a film I suspect they got for little money in the first place.
The story is about a big \"community\" sized spaceship making a long journey to \"the green planet.\" Another reviewer said the ship was faster than light, but a couple of references to time-dilation effects in the dialog make it more likely that the ship was a near-lightspeed model. This has an influence on the spooky atmosphere that pervades the whole film, making the crew/community highly insular, as they realize they are cut off completely from the lives they have left behind.
The sfx are slightly better than Dr. Who episodes of similar vintage, with a couple of really good spacesuits and an unusual design for the ship itself. There\'s also a very, very neat shot of the ship in orbit around its destination that is a dead ringer for a similar moment in \"Alien,\" and quite effective (in both films), in a way that most movies about spaceships seem to forego.
Still, the story rambles and seems kind of shallow. The sets and sfx aren\'t bad, but don\'t make up for the weak script. I recommend this for true lovers of the form (as I am), because you just wouldn\'t want to be left wondering what might have been going on in sf films, even east European ones, in the early \'60s. Here\'s your answer.
Somewhere between the Outer Limits and Star Trek lies this little science fiction gem from the former Czechoslovakia. This isn\'t I. Robot or that type of science fiction, which is Asimov wrapped up in a shiny steel and glass box. This is the actual story and not just the wrapping paper. It proudly carries on the tradition started by Forbidden Planet and This Island Earth, even though its not as exciting. It is actually more like the Magnetic Monster and the Outer Limits. This is science fiction done in crisp black and white. The screen may not be vivid, yet the special effects have an ethereally surreal quality. Mix that in with the futuristic Shostakovitch-like score and we have a compelling and eerie trip into the unknown.
The excitement and glory that comes from living and exploring space (Star Trek, Star Wars, etc.) is minimized in the movie. We get the basic day to day activities of the crew of the Ikarie, on its 28 month (15 years pass back on Earth) mission to our closest solar system, Alpha Centauri. We also get the dangers and rewards of hurling ourselves into the vast darkness.
It is the 22nd Century and we are out in the galaxy searching for life. The crew is comprised from a co-ed international pool. We never get to see Earth, yet we get a glimpse of what humans are like from the interactions of the crew (work, entertainment, nutritional intervals, exercise, reproduction and crisis). This is a future full of video screens, blasters, personal transmitters, turbo lifts, artificial gravity, Beatnik-like futuristic dancing and even Nike light up magnetic boots. This is the perfect/classical example of the sci-fi antithesis to Idiocracy. Humanity will improve with time.
The future is bright, shiny and worth waiting for. Man fixes the malaise of his species. We are never shown anything more lethal than a hand blaster, when it comes to weapons. On their mission, they encounter a perfectly preserved space relic from an Earth expedition of the 20th century. Let\'s just say our predecessors had very little nice things to say about us. Let\'s not forget that the 20th century contained two world wars, numerous genocides, the birth and use of the the atomic bomb.
One would also assume that a movie made in a Soviet influenced country would contain a certain amount of Communist and Pro-Soviet propaganda (for example, Planeta Bura). Thankfully this is all missing. About the biggest commentary comes from the critique of our 20th century counterparts. I found the only anti-capitalist message in the writing on the Earth relic. Everything inside is written in English, the ship was fully loaded with nuclear warheads and the the crew turned on each other. And even this critique is more of a jab at our collective selves then at full fledged opposition to capitalism.
If you are looking for epic space battles for the fate of the universe, look elsewhere because the crew kills absolutely no living thing. If you want 90 minutes of Georges Méliès mixed with Jules Verne, then you have found the perfect movie. I can easily see this movie as an influence on Kubrick\'s 2001, Rodenberry\'s Star Trek, Lucas\' Star Wars and even Irwin Allen\'s Lost in Space. We even have a robot. He\'s definitely not as cool nor as good as Robby the Robot nor the robot that constantly saves the Robinsons.
We named him Patrick. Patrick the Robot. RIP. (Pour out some alcohol for the robots that aren\'t with us anymore).
In my opinion this movie is a basic sci-fi cult. The history of IKARIA is based on the novel \"Magellan Cloud\" of Stanislav Lem. The distance between the novel and the movie is similar to H.G. Wells \"War of the Worlds\" and Cruise-Spielberg movie or Lem\'s and Tarkovskij\'s \"Solaris\". According to reminiscence of Lem, this novel was not from his favorites. But at that time (1962) and I think nowadays also it is a remarkable novel and movie also. In interpretation of Soderbergh\'s and Clooney\'s Solaris they was finding the heaven or paradise to live there (and at the end Rheya and Kelvin have found it). Interpretation of Ikaria was full of agreements with \"new\" socialist ideas against capitalist ideas (dead casino in space, criticism of red nail polish, etc.) but in one time \"between lines\" there is the criticism of socialist reality during fifties and sixties (predestined madness and \"no future\" impasse: deadly illness from radioactive accident at the end of the Magellan Cloud novel). Mainly I agree with other comments. I hope sometime they will make and we will get the color DVD!