Warning From Space - Warning From Space( Blu Ray) [Arrow Video - 2020]Warning From Space was the first Japanese Sci-fi film to be made in colour- it charts the earth been visited by Star Fish-shaped aliens who take on human form, and the arrival of the looming & glowing red planet R- that's seemingly dooming mankind to be cooked alive. Here from Arrow video is a recent Blu Ray release of the film- taking in a new High Definition 1080 print, and a few extras.
Warning From Space (aka UchŻjin TŰkyŰ ni arawaru, The Cosmic Man Appears in Tokyo, Spacepeople Appear in Tokyo) appeared in 1956, and compared with itís US counterparts itís a fairly po-faced & trying to be serious when-aliens-invade/ light disaster movie. It was directed by Nagasaki Prefecture- who between the 1940s & the 1970s directed sixty-one films, as well as acting in seven-nine films between 1925 & 1937- so he was most certainly very active in Japanese cinema. Warning From Space is well enough shot for 50ís sci-fi, with some nice moody & arty touches- one of the problems is that a lot of the film takes part in offices or observatory- so while there are flourishes of effects/action, largely the film felt like a bit of a slog to-get-through.
The plot revolves around a group of astronomers in Tokyo coming across an extraterrestrial craft orbiting in the earth. Inside said craft the aliens look like giant grey canvas starfishes- with a single glowing blue eye in the middle of them. So as not to cause alarm one of the aliens takes on the form of a popular female stage dancer. When they touch down on earth they try to make the world aware that a huge red runaway planet on a collision course with Earth- which at firsts ultra heats the earth & causes tidal waves, but if itís not stopped the earth will be totally destroyed. After lots of back & forth chatter, and near disaster -the human & alien scientists combine their technology to save the earth.
The film is very much PG/ family affair rated- with as mentioned much of the runtime taking place with offices/ observatory with lots of debate going on. From time-to-time, you get some neat effects touches like: blue static gathering in corners, the starfish get-ups with their glowing blue eyes, the approaching red planet, some of the model spacecraft, and later rather tacky disaster footage. The thing is it the whole thing just seems to drag on & on, with too much banter & debate going on, and the few recurring characters in the film feel rather bland- itís an hour a twenty-six-minute runtime feeling more like two-plus hours. Itís certainly interesting to see a Japanese take on when aliens land film, and the twist that theyíve come to help is kind of charming- but Iím afraid Warning From Space just took itself way too seriously & had far too much dialogue.
Moving onto this new Blu Ray- and we get two versions of the film, the original Japanese language version with English subtitles, and the US dubbed version. I watched fully the original version, and flicked through the US version- both prints look good & bold with their colouring, unfortunately, the sub-titles are a little uneven on the original version as we have white titles against a white background quite often- which is a little frustrating. Moving onto the extras, and we get a commentary track from Japanese genre film expect Stuart Galbraith IV- this runs for sixty-five minutes, and is packed with facts, observations, detailed actor bio, films that influenced it, and much more- all in all most worthy track. We get theatrical trailers, and image galleys- with the finished release coming with Illustrated collector booklet featuring new essays.
In finishing Iíd say if youíre a 1950ís Sci-fi film fan, then youíll get more out of Warning From Space than I did. And once again Arrow Video have done a stellar job with this Blu Ray reissue.Roger Batty