STARRING: Roy Thinnes, Patrick Wymark, Ian Hendry, Lynn Loring, Loni von Friedl

1969, 102 Minutes, Directed by:
Robert Parrish

In 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.)



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