The next film to discuss is an Abbott and Costello film. It has certainly been a while since I reviewed the last one and this movie features aliens in it so how could it not be good? Unfortunately it is one of the weaker installments. Still a good film but one that definitely suffers from a weak climax. The whole time you can’t help but think that they should have stuck to Earth.
The film starts with Orville swinging a plane around. I suppose he is either a volunteer teacher with the orphanage or more likely, he is just a kid at heart and always comes over to play during recess. It is unfortunate for him though because the kids are all a lot smarter than he is and they love rubbing this fact in his face. This leads to Orville accidentally throwing the plane through a window. The cops manage to show up but Orville outruns them to a corporate office where he impersonates a distinguished rocket expert for as long as he can. This just doesn’t fly and right he real one tries to beat him up. They fight a while but then Orville jumps in the space ship and blasts away with the custodian. One thing’s for sure, he’s not on Earth anymore…right?
One thing that is always risky for a film is to use up the best scene early on but that’s exactly what this one did. The fight between Orville and the expert was really solid as the sound effect for each slap was as good as it gets. You felt the power and weight of each blow to the point where the final one actually knocked Orville through a wall. If that’s not power then I don’t know what is. I have to say that I was rooting for the old guy so I’m glad that he took the win.
A good chunk of the film is the two characters (A guy named Lester ends up coming along) running around and panicking at everything. They don’t really understand what a mask is but in their defense the masks seemed to be rather high quality. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the film’s budget went to them. Rather than pull off a bunch of quick jokes this film opts to just play a few of them for as long as possible. This isn’t really a sound strategy since if you don’t like the joke then the scene will last forever and even if you do like it you may find the joke starts to get repetitive. It’s definitely a rather tough balance but for the most part this series usually gets it right. This one was just a little less interesting.
It was still pretty good when the heroes were running away on Earth. It went off the deep end once they got to Venus. The planet is apparently an Amazonian paradise that has eradicated all of the men. Naturally Orville is able to charm them into letting him stay somehow. The whole plot is just sad as the characters convince him to cheat in order to convince the Queen to bring back the ban against men. While concocting such a plan is probably a good idea, they should have had a different strategy. Pretty much every scene on Venus was brutal and as you might expect the romance was terrible.
Then we have the random subplot where two crooks decide to impersonate the main characters until they can imprison them and head to space. Clearly these guys are rather fearless since they aren’t afraid of being blasted into dust for their arrogance. They don’t really add anything to the film though. It seems that the movie was trying to play them off as dark versions of the main characters but they just felt really redundant from the start.
None of the characters are smart of course which is the whole point of the series but you still can’t help but feel bad for the inventor of the rocket. He waited his whole life for such a chance only to have the main character steal it away. That’s just cruel and especially when you consider how much money it would have cost to build another one in those days. That’s probably the end for his career.
I also feel that I have to point out the stock footage that is used in this film. You wouldn’t really expect such a thing out of a big name title like the Abbott and Costello series right? The scene where the rocket enters the Lincoln Tunnel happens twice and maybe the film was pretty proud of that special effect but you never want to play a scene twice like that. (With a few exceptions I suppose)
Overall, This was probably the weakest in the Abbott and Costello films. The whole second half felt unorganized and rather pointless. The first half was good but it just didn’t last long enough. What we did see back on Earth just makes the whole film more tragic since you see all of the potential that it once had. If you are a big fan of the series then I would recommend checking it out. If you have not seen any films in this series then it probably isn’t a good idea to start with this one as it won’t necessarily give you the right idea if the series. It just doesn’t have that usual charm you would expect from this series.