MESSAGE FROM SPACE
(Uchu Kara No Messeji)
What makes Message from Space is the amazingly colourful vigour with which it is conducted. The film at times seems to have been designed with the intent of drenching the screen in colour the Gavanas baddies, for example, have been outfitted with samurai armour and red capes with their faces in white greasepaint. The special effects are excellent, with the shootouts and explosions and Gerry Anderson-like ships that fold up and fly apart being conducted with enormous energy and enthusiasm. When you compare these to the average Japanese monster movie of which director Kinji Fukasaku had previously directed The Green Slime (1968) the film represents a quantum leap forward in Japanese effects technology. Not to mention the sheer poetry of some moments like the young leads floating in space trying to catch spacegoing glowworms or the somewhat incongruous nevertheless beautiful image of a spaceship designed as an old-fashioned sailing ship setting sail through space.
The more you think about it, if somehow Roger Corman and the Japanese had gotten together and combined the colour and enthusiasm of Message from Space with the stronger plot and actors of Battle Beyond the Stars, we might have had between them a standout space opera version of The Seven Samurai. As it is, Message from Space is unabashed sheer good fun.
Director Kinji Fukasaku was a prolific director of Japanese B-budget films. He has made a great many Yakuza films and several other ventures into genre material, including The Green Slime (1968) about an alien nasty aboard a space station, the end of the world film Virus (1980), the samurai/horror film Samurai Reincarnation (1981), the martial arts fantasy Legend of the Eight Samurai (1983), the kaidan eiga Crest of Betrayal (1994), and the ultra-violent Battle Royale (2000) and its sequel Battle Royale II: Requiem (2003).
Full film available online here:-