Giant Starfish Bring Humanity a Warning From Space, Now on Blu-ray

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Warning from Space

Four years before DC Comics founded the Justice League team to take on the interstellar horror of Starro the Conqueror, screenwriter Hideo Oguni teamed up with artist Taro Okamoto to bring us the strangest, not-quite-kaiju of them all: the Pairans. These alien beings were slightly larger than humans, and looked like giant starfish with a large, unblinking eye in the middle.

Appearing on the scene after a wave of UFO sighting, those who encounter the Pairans run away screaming every time they encounter one. The Pairans eventually realize they are never going to be able to talk with anyone on Earth so long as they are afraid of their appearance; so a few of them take the risk of having their bodies modified to look like humans, the leader opting for the form of a popular female nightclub singer. Taken in by an unsuspecting family when they find her awash on a beach, the alien exhibits the ability to walk through walls, and displays uncanny intelligence when she is able to understand the scientific notes of the family patriarch, a nuclear physicist working on a new element, Urium. She is adamant that he should not pursue the formula, for it will create a weapon capable of destroying the Earth, and that he of all people should know how destructive nuclear weaponry can be.

Initially, it appears that the warning is going to be about nuclear proliferation in a cold war world. But we come to learn that it's far more dire than that. A rogue planet, R, is on a collision course for Earth, and within a few days astronomers will be able to prove that, as the planet not only comes into view of telescopes, but also sometimes fills the sky. As the deadly planet draws nearer, tides begin to rise, and temperatures become sweltering. In an attempt to save mankind, all the world's nuclear arsenal is deployed to Planet R...where it does nothing at all.

What can possibly save the human race now that they've received their warning? Yep, you guessed it -- that good old formula for Urium, which gets to demonstrate just how powerful it really is.

WARNING FROM SPACE is yet another of those 1950s atomic power parables that came out of Tokyo. The story, while basic and drawn out, is feasible enough to create a decent narrative. Of course, the Pairans are laughably silly looking today, appearing to be nothing more than (what they really were) people in sleeping bags with their arms out to the sides. However, a bad movie doesn't make for a bad Blu-ray release. If you enjoy looking back at the schlockian era of sci-fi films, you can't do much better than this Arrow release, which includes a 30 page booklet on the style of Okamoto and a section on the art of the English dub. This release also includes commentary bu Stuart Galbraith IV ("Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo!"). The Blu-ray release also features Arrow's trademark presentation style of a reversible art sleeve, allowing the owner to choose the front facing image of the case.

Grade: 
3.0 / 5.0