Cosmos: War of the Planets (1977)

Italian director Alfonso Brescia did work in a variety of exploitative and B-grade genre films through the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s, and even into the early 1990s. His works include the likes of sword-and-sandal adventures such as Revolt of the Praetorians, spaghetti westerns such as Killer Caliber .32, giallo thrillers such as Naked Girl Killed in the Park, and even the likes of sword and sorcery flicks such as Ator 3: Iron Warrior. But he’s probably most well known for doing a set of Star Wars knock offs in the late 1970s in a rush of activity to capitalize on the craze.

Cosmos: War of the Planets is the first of these mockbusters, and while it definitely was influenced by the likes of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, it also pulls a lot of inspiration from the likes of Star Trek, Barbarella, and 2001: A Space Odyssey
It’s worth noting that the film is considered a remake of Planet of the Vampires but sleazier and consistently worse.  It also has a bunch of different names: Cosmo, Cosmo 2000, Cosmo: Planet Without a Name, and War of the Planets have all been used.

The film focuses on a crew of space explorers with a renegade captain who doesn’t like to play by the rules and has a deep distrust for artificial intelligence. Despite misgivings due to his preference for hero tactics as well as his willingness to punch fellow officers he does not like, his ship is ordered by the government of Earth to investigate strange signals coming from an unstable planet. Upon arriving, the crew discovers a mute race of green telepaths and a killer robot bent on universal conquest. The crew destroys the robot…but it apparently possesses a wounded crew member to attack people on the ship and takes over the ship’s computer in the final moments.

At least, that’s what I think happens. The movie is horribly edited, so the plot feels like it moves along in vignettes instead of a traditional narrative structure. As an example, there’s a random scene midway through where people hang out in some kind of sex room and fake orgasms while lying in chairs next to a globe that looks like the Death Star. This is intercut with people kissing and talking about poetry. None of this has anything to do with the plot. Hell, the first half hour could have been removed entirely, and it probably wouldn’t have made the movie any worse. And when it is trying to convey plot, half the time the movie is too dark and poorly lit to tell what’s going on anyway.

That’s actually not that bad though, as when you do see people, they’re wearing some pretty ridiculous outfits. Ah, Europe, where everyone thinks the space program should dress like ABBA. Also skullcaps. Why skullcaps?  Also, a couple of people get wounded, but it takes a full hour and 10 minutes before the first person finally dies, and it’s the black man. Stay classy, Europe.

The trailer pretty much sums up the film: the music, the costumes, the pacing, the boredom…


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