Wednesday, October 28, 2020

WARNING FROM SPACE (1956) Blu-ray Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 27
Total First Time Views: 14
Amount raised for BOXVILLE: $2,222.64

Warning from Space (1956) d. Koji Shima (Japan) (87 min) (2nd viewing)

As Japan is rocked by mysterious sightings of UFOs over Tokyo and large one-eyed aliens attempting contact, scientists collaborate to investigate the unexpected rise in extraterrestrial activity. Unbeknownst to them, one of the aliens has already assumed human form and is about to deliver a very important message that could be humanity’s last hope for survival.

Following the international success of Godzilla, Daiei was the first studio to take on Toho at its own game, delivering the one-two punch of Japan’s first alien invasion film AND the first sci-fi flick to be made in color. With a witty script by Hideo Oguni (screenwriter of several Akira Kurosawa classics), iconic starfish-like aliens designed by avant-garde artist Taro Okamoto, and eye-popping special effects from the same team that would bring Gamera to life a decade later, this handsomely produced effort combines the thoughtful social commentary of The Day the Earth Stood Still with the thrilling premise of When Worlds Collide to great effect.

Unsurprisingly, Oguni borrows several plot elements from Gojira, including bickering scientists, cautious politicians, and a pair of romantic ingenues to provide an “emotional” core. Shima does an excellent job of balancing the scales – by and large this is a serious affair about the potential end of the world, yet he keeps the action clipping along so as not to get bogged down in existential dread. In so doing, he never lets us forget what fragile creatures we are, despite our inflated sense of selves, while also giving humanity a chance to show itself at our best.

Those who’ve only seen the oft-mocked (most famously on MST3K) American dubbed-and-reedited release owe it to themselves to check out the original Japanese version as it proves to be far more subtle and poignant, much as Ishiro Honda’s 1954 cut of Gojira packs more of a punch than the smoothed-over Godzilla King of the Monsters! that hit American shores the same year that Warning from Space was released in its native land.

Kudos to Arrow Video for their stellar high-def presentation of an oft-misunderstood masterpiece.


High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed Japanese mono audio
Optional newly translated English subtitles
Brand new commentary by Stuart Galbraith IV, author of Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo!
First-ever HD transfer of the American release version of the film, including a newly restored English dub track
Theatrical trailers
Image galleries
Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring an essay on artist Taro Okamoto by Japanese art historian Nick West, and an essay on the production of the American edit of the film by David Cairns

Warning from Space is available now on Blu-ray from Arrow Video and can be ordered HERE:


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