Unknown World (1951)

Unknown World is a Cold War allegory about the folly of global nuclear war. It concerns a group of altruistic and dedicated scientists who go deep underground looking for a safe place to save the human race from a future atomic war. It is, we will see, a retelling of Jules Verne's classic (and vastly overrated) 1864 novel Journey to the Center of the Earth. Unfortunately, this good idea is ruined by a total lack of scientific creditability, some truly godawful acting, and laughably greasy 1950s haircuts. There are some interesting tidbits to be found in Unknown World, but overall I was very disappointed by the lethargic pacing and heavy-handed preachiness.

It was a production of the famed team of Irving Block and Jack Rabin, who had scored reasonable success with Rocketship XM in 1950. It was directed by Terrill O. Morse, who would next helm the American version of Godzilla in 1956, which is a million times better than Unknown World. Morse and his production crew try hard, and it really seems like they have an important message to tell, but the execution and polish are lacking.

It was first released in October of 1951 and I'll be using a new 2005 Brentwood DVD for this review. The film is pan-and-scan fullscreen and black and white and runs just 73 minutes. The quality of the stock is fairly rough, with frequent damage, discoloration, and even some obvious missing frames. The print that they used for the digital transfer must have been rotting in a film vault somewhere for the last 54 years and it seems that there was not much effort at digitally cleaning the print.

And now on to our show...

A group of smartyhead scientists from numerous disciplines have banded together to promote an audacious plan to save humanity from the inevitable nuclear war. They want to go into the core of the Earth, down deep enough where people could survive the horrors of the atom bomb. They have the manpower, the cool drilling machine, and the moxie to make it happen. The main problem is that they have no money. They pitch their idea to several corporate groups, but so far, no one bites on their proposal. All the above information is presented in a lengthy Citizen Kane-like fake newsreel to open our film. This is just about the only inventive directorial touch in this movie, which is sad as we still have an hour plus to go. The rest of the film is episodic and pedestrian, paced much like Block and Rabin's earlier Rocketship XM, only with a different setting.

Says it all.

The team of scientists are led by Doctor Jeremiah Morley, a geologist by trade who has some of the worst snaggle teeth I've seen on someone who wasn't either a Neanderthal or from Arkansas, truly frightening to look at. He is played by 60-year old Victor Kilian. Our movie's most prolific actor, Kilian would appear in a whopping 127 movies over a 30-year career, though none of his roles stand out to me as especially notable (but I have strange tastes in movies). In 1951, he was blacklisted in the insane Communist witch hunts and had to go back to obscurity and stage work. He's not even credited in this movie, despite his beefy role.

Jeremiah Morley.

Just when it looks like Morley and his scientists will have to pack it up and shelve the project, an ultra-wealthy playboy son of a California media magnate named Wright Thompson steps in with an offer of full finance. The hitch is that he wants to come along on the exploration. The scientists initially balk at this, but they have little choice if they want to continue with their plan.

So, with Thompson's money they construct their fabulous drilling machine. It's about twice the size of an M-1 Abrams tank, with swoopy lines like a 1949 Ford sedan. It runs on treads with wide fenders (!) and comes complete with a full range of sensors and supplies. Its two most distinguishing features are the large pointy drill on the nose and the atomic reactor that powers the machinery. The reactor runs on "concentrated sub-atomic by-products", whatever that is. One of them describes the machine as "an amphibious conveyance based on the principles of ovoidal atmosphere". The team will subsist on food and vitamin concentrates and water from an "H2O condenser", and presumably bags of Doritos and Vault soda.

The Cyclotram.

Despite the team's amazing machine, there generally seems to be a severe lack of scientific knowledge about the very planet they live on. They claim that "the latest body of theory holds that the inside of a sphere, such as the Earth, is cooler than the temperature at the surface." This, of course, is bullshit. Even, later, when they see an active volcano erupting nearby, they don't think to ask, "Gee, wonder where all that molten fiery lava is coming from?" They also assume that all the lava tubes they plan on traveling down in connect together with the "vast caverns and air pockets" that they're sure the center of the planet is made up of. They're also pretty confident that all these "natural avenues" are both wide enough for the twenty-foot high and wide Cyclotram to fit through and descend at gentle enough grades for the tracked machine to be able to negotiate. Basically, Morley and his people are convinced that the Earth is a cool, hollowed-out sphere, easily accessed by a zig-zag network of wide tunnels with flat floors, leading to huge caverns at the core where human life can be supported. Hmm...no wonder they couldn't get any funding.

There will be a total of seven people on this mission, six men and one lady named Joan. They will be six scientists and the benefactor Wright Thompson. I'll try and work their biographies into the body of the review as they do something noteworthy.

I might as well do billionaire Wright Thompson here. He is played by 41-year old Bruce Kellogg, who had a short career in movies, appearing in just eleven in nine years. This was his last credited movie role and he passed away in 1967. Here he plays the arrogant rich man here to perfection, over-confident and greasy at times, and always making it clear that he put up the money for this trip so he has the right to bitch and moan all the time. I think they were trying to go for a Howard Hughes sort of character here, but on a much less grand scale. At first look, you can just tell that Joan will fall in love with him eventually. He looks a bit like a young Tommy Lee Jones.

Wright Thompson.

Since I mentioned her name, I might as well do Joan here, also. Doctor Joan Lindsay is played by 25-year old Marilyn Nash, who would only act in two movies after this one, which is kinda weird because she isn't too bad here. she's a quite attractive woman, I must say, with perky boobs accented by a 1950's push-up torpedo bra. Her hair is heavily styled and always looks wonderful despite all the physical activity she will have to do in the movie. She's both a medical doctor and a biochemist, and an "ardent feminist!". As a feminist, however, she's an abject failure, as she falls for the lameass wooing of Thompson and always seems to acquiesce to her male team members on every decision. [Editor Pam: In 1951 it was radical for a woman to be a doctor. It was okay for women to be nurses, but a woman was really getting above herself if she went to medical school. There was always the risk of "emasculating men" by such unfeminine lack of submissiveness, so society disapproved of women doctors. I suppose the movie didn't want to push the barriers of acceptable behavior for women any farther than this for fear of alienating its audience.]

Joan Lindsay.

They will be going down into the crust via the "world's oldest extinct volcano" named "Mount Neleh" in the Aleutian Island chain off Alaska. The Aleutian chain is made up of volcanoes, of course, but there's not a Mount Neleh. Neleh is Helen backwards, is that the name of someone related to one of the screenwriters perhaps? They're dropped off at the base of the mountain with the Cyclotram by the chartered merchantman Aurora. Strangely, there's no press present. With Thompson's dad being a media magnate and it being his money, you would think that this would be a perfect photo opportunity to garner public interest.

Thanks for the pointer, very helpful.

So they climb in the Cyclotram and head down into the caldera. Down and down they travel, deeper and deeper into the center of the Earth. And then they...well, hmmm...that's about it really. Just about the entire rest of the movie is just shots of the team moving down deeper into the lava tubes. A few things happen along the way, but nothing truly stunning or gripping. I was expecting some Morlocks, or some mutant slime monsters, or maybe some fifty-foot long eyeless bloodthirsty worms, anything to perk my interest. (Well, to be honest, I was really hoping for a lost colony of lesbian naked Asian girls, but I would have settled for some prehistoric throwback dinosaurs or even some sinister aliens. But what I got was a big fat nothing).

All of the scenes of them in the lava tubes were filmed in a rock quarry in the Hollywood Hills, in the famous Bronson Caverns. Some of the more impressive background plates were shot by the second unit director in Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. These supposedly natural lava tubes are awfully open and airy, with enough floor space for the large Cyclotram to traverse with little difficulty. The insert shots of the Cyclotram moving along the tubes are clearly a model inching down a rocky incline, always half-hidden by rocky outcroppings. Most annoyingly, every scene of the Cyclotram from the outside is accompanied by a foleyed in recording of a jet turbine whining at high rpms.

Inside the Cyclotram.

Thankfully, the descent is broken up into "stages" of a sort, each begun with a shot of the depth meter showing their progress.

Stage 1:

The first stage is from the surface is marked by them walking along in front of the Cyclotram, picking the best route for the machine to follow. The spotlight on the machine backlights the team in an eerie way, casting long shadows on the walls in an effectively filmed scene. They soon reach a wide spot where, embedded in the ground, is an etched stone plaque. It records a short message from the "Engstrand Geological Expedition" team that went down this far in 1938. The message says "Good luck to anyone dumb enough to continue on further". Well, I guess this explains how they had such a good map of the lava tubes. But strangely, they seem a bit surprised to see the plaque, as if they were totally unaware of the 1938 expedition. If this is true, then it shows another horrendous lack of planning on our team's part.

They should have known about this.

They then look up to see some nearby burning lava! Morley says it's lava leaking over from an active volcano in the chain. I suppose, but I'd think that all that flame and burning stuff would both pollute the air in the tubes with noxious fumes and suck the oxygen out of them as well.

Anyway, they decide to take a shortcut through the rock wall to avoid the lava. They set an explosive charge on the "point of least resistance" and make it go boom. Hmmm...was that wise? Setting off a bomb in a cave is rarely a good thing (though my working knowledge of mining comes from the Discovery Channel and the movie The Cave). Didn't they fear a possible collapse of the roof or the floor, trapping them there for an eternity? But it works, and the Cyclotram revs up its nose drill, which spins at slower rpms than you would think sufficient for the task. Drilling through the rock with relative ease, the machine cuts through to another open passageway and the team disembarks to check it out. Unsure of the air quality in this new passage, they all wear gas masks. After a bit of walking, Morley takes off his mask, breathes deeply, and proclaims, "The air is clear! You can take off your masks." (!) Hmm...sure hope there are no odorless gasses in there, or maybe some fungus spores or something else deadly. Dumbass scientists.

Rumble rumble.

Stage 2:

At 100 miles down, they stop for a break. They discuss the overall feeling of claustrophobia and apprehension that's affecting them all. While they debate what to do next, Thompson gets in a war of words with soil conservation scientist Paxton, who is a bit on the testy side lately (perhaps due to his screamingly bad hair piece and fake Brooklyn accent). Paxton storms out of the Cyclotram after accusing the rest of them of not being “good scientists” because they're being swayed by Thompson's constant bickering and whining. Metallurgical engineer Coleman, out of friendship or loyalty, goes to follow Paxton. They will scout the route to follow for a while. These two guys are the “expendable” members of the team, here for no other reason than to provide a bit of expository dialogue and to die horrible deaths to show us how dangerous the journey is. Coleman especially needs to die soon, the meatloaf playing him is one of the worst actors I've ever seen, butchering his lines so painfully that you feel sorry for the other actors in his scenes.

Coleman and Andy with the lady.

After they have been gone a bit, a sensor in the Cyclotram suddenly registers the presence of a "toxic gas"! They all hasten to put on their gas masks. Hmm...so their hi-tech machine is not NBC protected? This seems like very poor design, I would think that they would want to be prepared for any hazard they might encounter. Anyway, they then realize that Coleman and Paxton are out on foot and without their gas masks. They rush out to find the two men quite dead, crumpled on the floor of the tube. These two dudes were our least fleshed out characters, so their deaths mean absolutely nothing to us. There's some subdued grieving, the men are buried under rocks, but still they continue on down. We're now down to five: Inept Morley and hot Joan, annoying Thompson, and Bauer and Andy.

I might as well do Andy and Bauer here, as they're the only two I haven't yet talked about. Explosives expert Andy Ostergaard is played by 40-year old Jim Bannon, who had a nice long career in movies and television, though nothing really notable other than some westerns. In this movie he's a "sandhog" and a USMC veteran from WWII. He's a big burly guy, who faintly looks like Ben Affleck in the face (I won‘t hold that against him, even after I laid down six bucks to see Gigli...).

Andy Ostergaard (maybe, I'm not going to go back and check now).

Geologist Max A. Bauer is played by 50-year old Otto Waldis, who looks startlingly like Ian Holm from The Lord of the Rings, only with an exaggerated German accent. Waldis worked steadily in movies and television after WWII, often typecast as a Germanic character. Notable among his 47 movie roles were an uncredited bit in Fritz Lange's masterpiece M and as Doctor von Loeb from 1958's Attack of the 50-foot Woman. Here he's a physicist who fled the University of Munich in 1933 to avoid Hitler. Is he supposed to be Jewish?

Max Bauer.

Stage 3:

At 240 miles down, another disaster strikes. Joan goes to get a cup of water and discovers that their water condenser was polluted by the toxic gas from the last stage! Now they have nothing to drink! Hmmm...the gas incident was 140 miles ago, and at the slow creeping speed they're going, that must have taken days and days to traverse. You mean to tell us that no one needed a drink of water before Joan did just now? They blame Thompson, who admits to maybe possibly leaving the air vent open on the condenser way way back before Coleman and Paxton died. Bad editing. And bad vehicle design, they have no back up water supply? You'd think that something as vital as the water condenser would have some sort of better filter or even a back-up free-feed reservoir. Dumbass scientists.

What, no alarms?

So they now all get out and wander around looking for water. This consists of kicking rocks around and peering over ledges, so it's no surprise that they strike out. Joan pulls out a canteen, containing the "last of their water" and they share it. Andy and Thompson have another fight over their raging egos here, but their squabble is forgotten when they hear “running water behind a wall of rock" nearby.

Andy brings two sledgehammers from the Cyclotram and he and Thompson hammer away at the rock wall. A strange sort of camaraderie develops in this scene between these two adversaries, though perhaps they're just both trying to act studly in front of the comely Joan. Before too long they break through the suspiciously thin rock wall and are driven back by what I assume is released "water vapor" or something. They all run back to the Cyclotram and close the hatch. Outside, the vapor fills the entire cavern before the temperature begins to drop again. Condensation forms on the sides of the Cyclotram, which our team slurps down with abandon. They even run out and start licking water from rocks and stalactites! Gross! Who knows what's in that water, surely it's not as pure as they think. Indeed, Joan gets light-headed from this water, probably from all the heavy metals in it, and nearly passes out. Where did these scientists go to college again?

Thirst can make you nuts.

While Joan is down, the four men debate whether or not to go back up or go on down. They vote, and it's split two-two. Joan then revives miraculously from her stupor and casts her vote to continue. And so they keep on descending.

Also here we get our first signs of Joan and Thompson falling in love (which we all saw coming from the first act). He hurt his arm swinging the hammer and she bandages it up in the Cyclotram's small sickbay, providing him opportunity to woo her away from the rest of the team. What could she possibly see in this arrogant man, who on several occasions has nearly got them all killed, is beyond me. If anyone, she should be going for square-jawed ex-Marine Andy, who seems a much better match for her tastes and interests.

Stage 4:

By 850 miles down, we now see that Joan and Thompson are openly in love! The rest of the crew has to notice this, but they don't say anything (perhaps out of disgust). In this scene, we see Thompson follow Joan into the sickbay and close the door. He gives her his good luck ring and she puts it on her ring finger! When she asks him why he gave it to her, he says "Haven't you ever been romanced before?", to which she replies "Not 900 miles below sea level". Thompson then says smoothly "If there were any flowers down here, I'd pick them and give them to you." Kill me, just fucking kill me. They almost kiss here as Joan gazes lovingly up into his face and purrs in what passed for sensuality in 1951. What the hell? So much for being an "ardent feminist". [Editor Pam: It was a cliché in 1950s movies for the “feminist” to fall madly in love with some hunk and immediately decide that she wasn't interested in a career anymore, all she wanted to do was stay home and have babies. In all fairness to Joan, real women who were working in the 1950s have told me they faced a lot of open prejudice back then, especially if they were working at jobs traditionally considered men's jobs. And a mother of young children who worked just because she wanted to was considered heartless. I don't see how Joan could fall for such corny lines, but I can't blame her too much for wanting to make her life easier and thinking marriage would do that. It really sucked to be a woman in the 1950s.]

Oh come on, woman! Where is your pride? Do you know how many other girls he's given that ring to? It's probably fake, anyway.

Stage 5:

At 960 miles, Thompson reverts to his old form and starts bitching about how long it's taking and the bumpy ride (what did he expect?). He and Andy start fighting again, calling each other "a sandhog who likes to go rooting in the ground!" and "a mountain goat with his head in the clouds!". Ah, the 1950s, no cussing in movies, such tame banter. This constant bickering between these two men is getting annoying. And old man Morley, supposedly the team leader, has done nothing to stop the constant infighting.

The Cyclotram is now drilling through another wall of rock, when suddenly they break into water! Sucked through the hole by the pressure, the entire Cyclotram bobs to the surface of a large underground lake. Wow, good thing it's amphibious, eh? They make it to shore and get out to explore a bit. While scenically impressive, the lake cavern offers virtually nothing appealing. The water has a high calcium content but is drinkable, solving any water problems they had.

Andy catches a large fish (!!!) with a line, but the creature is eyeless and most certainly inedible. Hmmm...would there really be a fish that big down this far? And if it was that big, then there must be a thriving ecosystem in the lake to allow it to grow to that size. This makes no sense at all. Clearly, this lake cavern is not what they're looking for. They debate some more, and then decide to continue on.

Rah, I'm a blind fish!

Stage 6:

Some time and distance later, the Cyclotram now comes to two branching passageways. Dialogue seems to suggest that this is the first time this has happened, forcing us to believe that so far they have been following the same winding lava tube from the volcano caldera, with no crossing tunnels to pick from. Andy and Thompson go off down opposite passageways to scout the best way. Very soon, however, Thompson loses his footing and slides halfway down a cliff face. Dangling there precariously, he calls out to Andy, who comes running. Andy ties a rope around a rock and rappels down to save Thompson. On the way back up, however, the rope is cut by rubbing on a sharp rock and Andy falls to his inglorious death. Hmm...that rope looked like a simple unsheathed braided rope, not a static line for rappelling which would have had a sheath over the kern to resist rock abrasion like that. Stupid scientists. Thompson is emotionally distraught, more so than you would expect out of his character, and stumbles back to the Cyclotram. We're now down to just four left: Morley, Bauer, Joan and Thompson.

Somebody call a lawyer.

Stage 7:

Days later, we see that Thompson has been profoundly changed by Andy's sacrifice and his own second chance at life. From here on out, he will be a helpful and positive member of the team and Joan will only gush and goo over him more (kill me with a chainsaw). The team stops for a debate again, and this time both Morley and Bauer vote to return to the surface. It's Thompson who demands that they continue on to find the "promised land". Joan gets no vote, apparently, as she has now be reduced to just gazing lovingly at Thompson the entire scene. Then Thompson takes the wheel of the Cyclotram (I assume he got some training somewhere along the line) and they head off. We're supposed to feel some emotion from Thompson's transformation from selfish playboy to responsible concerned citizen, but because he has been such an incredible bastard the entire movie, the sudden change just seems forced and contrived.

Stage 8:

And now, at 1,640 miles deep, they finally succeed in finding their fabled safe harbor. They squeeze the machine through a rocky passageway and emerge into...the Genesis Project from Star Trek II! No, but close. Actually they come to a truly massive cavern, complete with a huge underground ocean, that looks to be the size of Texas. There's no life here, but the ground is fertile from "volcanic ash" (underground volcanoes?) and the water is potable. All the scenes of this cavern were filmed outdoors in the Hollywood Hills, so to explain the sunlight and clouds, they say that the ceiling is covered in a "phosphorescent" substance that shines very brightly (sure...) and that "water vapor forms the clouds". We're never given better explanations and that's probably just as well, hard to penalize them for a small budget.

Ooooh, impressive matte painting.

After all the hardships and death they have endured, the team is clearly happy to have found their fabled underground haven. It looks as if humanity might survive an atomic war afterall. Joan calls this wondrous cavern "a dream after a terrible nightmare", which is how I felt when the film finally ended and I turned on Desperate Housewives (seriously, is there a woman hotter than Eva on this planet?).

Funny, Thompson, real funny.

They explore the cavern in a montage of shots, showing us a mix of bad matte paintings and numerous (though mercifully quick) stock footage clips of everything from the Rockies, to the Sahara desert, to what is obviously Niagara Falls. Thompson is concerned about the lack of true sunlight, but Morley just says that "science can adjust that" (What?) We even see a fossil! This is a "400 million-year old lungfish", shown in really lame plaster-of-Paris and spraypaint on a rock wall.

Nice, Jack Horner is dying right now.

Joan sets up a rabbit hutch for her bunnies (oh, yeah, she brought some bunnies along for scientific research) to have babies. Soon, the fateful day comes when Joan's bunnies are to give birth to their first litter. Everyone is giddy with excitement, as this will prove that this cavern is the sanctuary they were looking for. But alas, all the baby rabbits are born dead! They do some research and determine that any living thing born here is "sterile". Thompson intones bitterly that this is "a haven for the dead."

That last line of Joan's journal says it all.

After some thought, Thompson, Joan and Bauer now say that they want to go back to the surface and try and change the world. Now that they know that only one generation could survive down here after a war, they're determined to work to see that such a war never happens. Morley, however, is despondent. He raves that he's staying here, that he has found his haven, even if it's not suitable for the survival of the species.

Ok, I don't understand. How is a litter of dead bunnies an indication of the sterility of the cavern? The litter, the first generation, died en utero, which might be blamed on the stress of the journey or the changing air or something. You can't say that the bunnies are truly sterile until you can prove that they can't conceive in the environment of the cavern and then produce viable offspring. They never go this far, instead just assume that nothing can live down here. This after they made a big deal about how fertile the volcanic soil was, how good the water was, and how science can solve the problems of light and heat. And what about the fish in the underground lakes and oceans, surely they prove that not everything is sterile down here, right? I think they give up too easily, especially considering all they have gone through to get here. The true test would be having Joan knock boots with one of the men and see if she can give birth down here. But, alas, this being 1951, that's not going to happen. [Editor Pam: Ugh, who was she going to do it with? Slimy Thompson, snaggle-toothed Morley, or elderly Bauer? None of them are at all appealing!]

And for another thing, so what if only "one generation could huddle down here" after the bombs fall? This shows a dangerous misunderstanding of the radiological after-effects of a nuclear war, still a mystery in the early days of the atomic bomb. Even ten or fifteen years would be long enough for much of the residual radiation to fall to levels where the surface could start to be reclaimed. I would think that many (most, all) people would gladly take that chance if it meant preserving at least a part of the human race. Send 10,000 people down here to huddle, and after fifteen years go back up and start repopulating the surface, right?

"Hey, let's introduce carbon smoke to this pristine environment!"

Anyway, all this is speculation is pointless because suddenly a scratch-on-the-negative lightning bolt lances into the top of a stock footage ice glacier and causes a stock footage avalanche! Several stock footage volcanoes begin spontaneously erupting, spreading stock footage lava flows, and a massive stock footage storm appears over the ocean sweeping towards shore. Why all this happens now is not explained, and we can only assume that "it's in the script".

Suddenly caught in this perfect storm, our four people watch a glaringly obvious backscreen projection of an approaching tsunami and run for the Cyclotram. Morley stays behind, he's not going to go back now, regardless of his certain death. As the flood waters rush at him, he stands there resolutely and is swamped away. To his credit, he refrains from giving some last preachy speech about the folly of man, he just stands there mute and dies.

The Cyclotram is picked up and washed out into the underground ocean. A "strange force" (that's never explained) pulls them down under the surface, down well past 2,500 miles where their depth meter pegs. The cavern was said to be at around 1,600 miles down, so we're to believe that there's a body of water within the mantle of the Earth that extends down for at least another 900 miles? Wow, a 900 mile drop in water, I sure hope the hull of the Cyclotram is made of some serious titanium or they're going to be crushed by the pressure change. Forget that, no metal native to this planet could survive that great a pressure change. Inside, the three survivors are saddened and dejected. Joan moans that it was dumb to even attempt this trip because "We can't bury ourselves in the Earth and expect to live." (see above argument)

They need a bigger gauge.

Then, just as it looks hopeless, for no apparent reason, the Cyclotram begins to rise. The depth meter goes up and up and then passes the level of the underground sea! Clearly they're now in some sort of "channel that leads to the surface ocean". Wow, I sure hope they have some sort of decompression facilities, because they're about to ascend 2,500 miles in water in what seems like just a few minutes.

They pop to the surface and throw open the hatch. Outside they see a tropical island (really stock footage of Pismo Beach in California) teeming with birds and sea turtles. Bauer says happily "the universe is still in harmony". Thompson says "I feel like I'll live forever" and he and Joan hug as the movie dims to a close.

Ah, the end, finally.

Hmm...you know, I was very very surprised that old Doctor Bauer, who was never really more than a background character with very few lines of dialogue and virtually no critical scenes, survived this movie. Usually in these sort of films, the only people who survive such an adventure are the hero and his girl. That this short balding portly German geologist still breathes at film's end just might be the most positive thing I can say about Unknown World. Really.

[Editor Pam: There's a lot of rock in this movie. A LOT. Geologists might want to watch it for that alone. For the rest of us, this might have been a halfway decent movie if somebody had taken enough time to put together a reasonable story instead of shoving in standard plot devices as needed. And if the actors had been better. And if almost all of the science hadn't been made up as they went along.]

Bonus! A few statistics for you...

3: Number of physical confrontations between Andy and Thompson.
2: Number of cigarettes smoked by our cast.
0: Number of firearms seen in this movie, extremely rare for the type of movies I normally review.

Written in May 2005 by Nathan Decker and edited by Pam Burda.

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