Cosmic Princess (1982) / Destination Moonbase-Alpha (1978) – Film Reviews
Directors: Charles Crichton and Peter Medak
Cast: Martin Landau, Catherine Schell, Brian Blessed
By Roger Crow
This one is partly a version of the season two Space: 1999 opener, the episode in which dreamy Catherine Schell made her regular debut (after a bit part in a season one episode). She plays Maya, the alluring metamorph whose ability to transform into creatures gave the show a new dynamic.
Anyway, while Maya does her sexy naive alien routine, Brian Blessed chews the scenery as her scheming father.
Once more there’s some glorious effects care of Brian Johnson and a team of geniuses. Those smouldering volcanos led to a lot of 1970s kids trying to replicate the effects with papier mache and poster paint.
The plot involves an Eagle sent to the planet Psychon, which has titanium, needed for repairs to the Alpha Base. However, when a bright light kidnaps the crew and is used by Psychon scientist Mentor as a bait with which to entice other members of the Alphan crew onto the planet, the scene is set for more high drama.
“Repulsive space monster”
Oh, and the photogenic Anouska Hempel also has a sub plot as a love interest of one of the captured pilots. Look out too for Nick Brimble (Little John in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) as a co-pilot.
That’s directed by Charles Crichton, a few years before making A Fish Called Wanda.
Grafted onto that is ‘Space Warp’, in which a sick Maya transforms into a repulsive space monster. Trivia fans (like me) will waste little time telling you that Peter Medak would later helm The Krays and Species II.
Director: Tom Clegg
Starring Martin Landau, Catherine Schell, Barbara Bain
By 1978, with Star Wars fever all the rage, there was little wonder Destination Moonbase-Alpha was cut together to tap into that desire for all things galactic.
Aliens, explosions, cool model work and epic set pieces were glorious eye candy for kids, and as I saw the bulk of all the original episodes in black and white, because colour TV was a late 1970s thing in our house, then a colour film version was heady stuff for many.
This offering was spliced together from the two-part offering ‘The Bringers of Wonder’, which featured some terrific monsters, but was generally a bit of a let down.
“Must for completists”
After Koenig starts behaving strangely and crashes his Eagle, while he recovers, an Earth ship arrives on Alpha, bringing new hope for the colonists. But of course there’s more to these visitors than meets the eye, and only Koenig knows the truth.
Obviously these HD revamps are a must for completists, and a version of the Italian theatrical movie Spazio: 1999, featuring a score from the much missed Ennio Morricone, is one of its greatest selling points.
Four ‘Space: 1999’ movies, ‘Alien Attack’, ‘Journey Through the Black Sun’, ‘Cosmic Princess’ & ‘Moonbase Alpha’, rebuilt form the high definition restorations created for the series episodes, are presented here in their original 4:3 fullscreen aspect ratio alongside new 16:9 widescreen special editions.
On Blu-ray from Network, £50.