JOURNEY TO THE
FAR SIDE OF THE SUN (AKA DOPPELGANGER)
STARRING: Roy Thinnes, Patrick
Wymark, Ian Hendry, Lynn Loring, Loni von Friedl
1969, 102 Minutes, Directed by:
this glacially slow 1969 movie a new planet is discovered in the same orbit as
Earth’s, located on the exact opposite side of the sun.
A space mission consisting of
two astronauts is sent to investigate the new “duplicate” Earth. Only problem is
that after awakening from three weeks’ suspension animation they crash-land back
on . . . Earth.
Or did they?
No prizes for guessing that the
astronauts did in fact crash on another planet and not on Earth. This new
planet is the exact same as Earth, except that their lettering is reversed and
they drive on the “wrong” side of the road for some reason, which makes going there a bit like
visiting a foreign country, except not as interesting. (Wasn’t this the plot of
an old Star Trek episode once?)
Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, the
husband-wife team best known for the original 1960s
Thunderbirds TV series, wrote the
story and produced. It shows. Journey to the Far Side of the Sun is
Thunderbirds filmed in the style of 2001: A Space
Odyssey – not really something one would like to see. (Which makes it a bit
like an episode of Space 1999, another
Gerry and Sylvia Anderson television show, come to think of it!)
There are some typical
Thunderbirds model work and special effects (which are nice), but it’s all
so deadly serious and humorless. Worse still actor Roy Thinnes (of
The Invaders fame) seem to be
channeling Keir Dullea and is more wooden than any of the marionettes populating
the Andersons’ popular TV show. Already burdened with an unoriginal plot,
Journey to the Far Side of the Sun is frustratingly slow, the director
having taken the time to film the kind of redundant scenes that any other person
with an iota of common sense would have chucked.
Ultimately about the only
interesting thing in Journey to the Far Side of the Sun is actress Lynn
Loring’s cleavage. Mmmmmh . . . prime late ‘Sixties cheesecake, even though she
plays a total bitch . . .
(Incidentally the recently
released DVD of this movie boasts an immaculate and speck-free image transfer.
Sound is decent too, but there are no extras whatsoever. Boo hiss.)