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War in Space
War in Space
Actors: Kensaku Morita, Yûko Asano, Ryo Ikebe, Masaya Oki, Hiroshi Miyauchi
Director: Jun Fukuda
Genres: Indie & Art House, Science Fiction & Fantasy
NR     2006     1hr 25min

The year is 1988. Aliens from the Empire of Galaxies establish a base on Venus and launch a surprise attack on Earth. As the invaders? spaceships quickly defeat the world?s armies and destroy New York, Moscow, Paris, and L...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Kensaku Morita, Yûko Asano, Ryo Ikebe, Masaya Oki, Hiroshi Miyauchi
Director: Jun Fukuda
Creators: Yuzuru Aizawa, Fumio Tanaka, Tomoyuki Tanaka, Ryuzo Nakanishi, Shuichi Nagahara
Genres: Indie & Art House, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Science Fiction
Studio: Discotek Media
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/25/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/1977
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1977
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 25min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 11
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: Japanese, English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

robin | 05/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"We found a problem with the War in Space video encode and it happened to late to solve the problem before some of them were shipped out. Unfortunately this initial batch of War in Space discs with video encoding problems were released into the marketplace. If you encounter a disc with video problems please return your defective disc only, (please do not return the case or cover) to this address:

Discotek Media
War in Space Replacement
522 Hunt Club Blvd. PMB 338
Apopka, FL 32703

Please include your name and address with your return. We will ship you a fully working replacement ASAP. We are very sorry for the inconvenience."
Terrific Old School Space Opera from the creators of Godzill
Christopher Mills | 07/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"From director Jun Fukuda and special effects wiz Nakano Teruyoshi, the creators of several Seventies' Godzilla epics, comes Toho Studios' 1977 interstellar adventure, WAR IN SPACE (WAKUSEI DAISENSO).

Conceived by Toho Studios as a STAR WARS rip-off, the final film owes more to Gerry Anderson's British television shows UFO and SPACE: 1999 and the Japanese studios' own Sixties sci-fi thrillers like ATRAGON and BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE than to George Lucas' intergalactic epic.

In the (then-future) year of 1988, UFOs attack the Earth. While the invaders are devastating New York, Paris, Tokyo and the world's other major cities, a team of scientists race to complete a space battleship called Ghoten. Once launched, the ship and its crew head for Venus, to counterattack the aliens. Along the way, the only female crewmember (Yuko Asano) is kidnapped by the green-skinned, Roman-helmeted alien leader and his horned wookie, UFOs engage in high-speed dogfights with the Earth fighters above the barren Venusian landscape, and space ships explode impressively.

The old school, handcrafted special effects work - finely detailed miniatures on mostly-invisible wires - is expertly executed and effective. The spaceships, in a decidedly Asian conceit, resemble sea-faring vessels, and the alien flagship is specifically modeled on ancient Roman sailing ship designs. The Ghoten features a huge drill bit (shades of ATRAGON!) and cool, giant revolvers that fire missiles and are also used to launch sleek, one-man fighters. The UFOs are original and unique. Made on a fraction of STAR WARS' budget, WAR IN SPACE demonstrates that ingenuity and imagination can carry the day even when money's tight.

Discotek Media's DVD presents WAR IN SPACE for the first time on U.S. home video (I believe) with a brilliant 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, completely restored and remastered for this edition. Audio options include both the original Japanese language track and an English dub, presented in both the original mono and in a newly created 5.1 remix. The Japanese track is preferable, as it's stronger and more robust. Discotek has also included a bevy of cool bonus features, including a fascinating video interview with special effects director Nakano Teruyoshi, the original theatrical trailer, an extensive still gallery, and an informative booklet that includes poster art, spaceship design sketches and informative liner notes.

(NOTE: Some of the first batch of WAR IN SPACE discs released had an encoding problem causing playback issues. Discotek is aware of the problem, and if you get one of the defective DVDs, they'll replace it for you for free. Visit their website for more information.)

As a fan of outer space epics and Japanese fantasy films, I've been wanting to see this movie ever since I saw the poster art in a 1978 issue of Fantastic Films magazine. It took almost 30 years, but I wasn't disappointed. It's a terrific presentation of a great old-fashioned space opera, and I recommend it highly.
"I am the emperor of the galaxy...Commander Hell!"
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 12/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"From Toho Studios comes War in Space (1977) aka Wakusei daisenso (the original Japanese title) aka The War in Space aka Battle in Outer Space 2 aka Great Planet War aka Planet it what you will, but I call it just, plain fun. Directed by Jun Fukuda (Godzilla Versus the Sea Monster, Son of Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Gigan), the film features Kensaku Morita (Topsy-Turvy Journey), Hiroshi Miyauchi (Secret Task Force Goranger), Ryo Ikebe (Gorath), Yûko Asano (Guillotine Island), and David Perin (Companions in Crime), as the token Caucasian character.

The year is 1988, autumn, to be precise, and there be some trouble at the UN Space Federation, Japanese Branch. Upon arriving home after spending a couple of years in the states, Miyoshi (Morita) learns that there's been a lot of strange space activity causing electrical interference preventing contact with Space Station Terra...oh yeah, he also finds out the girl he liked, named Jun (Asano), is engaged to his friend Morrei (Miyauchi). Anyway, the stuff soon hits the fan as orb-shaped UFOs begin appearing in the sky, attacking various miniature cities throughout the world. Not only that but Space Station Terra finds itself under attack by something described in the short and highly illuminating message as follows..."It's big! It's very big!"...all right, so Jun's father, Professor Takigawa (Ikebe), who also happens to be Miyoshi former teacher, is instructed to revive a defunct project known as `Gohten', as Earth's defenses are no match for the mysterious, alien ships, which have been wreaking havoc across the globe. What is Gohten? Well, if you've seen the film Atragon (1963), then you're probably familiar with it as it's the same ship used in that film, with a few extra modifications. While Professor Takigawa and his crew struggle to prepare the ship, there's lots of talk about a character named Jimmy (who now works at NASA), and the aliens, learning of Gohten's existence, begin blasting the hell out of the underground island base in the hopes of neutralizing the humanity's last chance for survival. Jimmy shows up (finally), and Gohten takes off just in time to beat the tar out of the alien forces (Hooray!) flying about Earth before heading into space, their destination...Venus! Seems the aliens have set up their base of operations on the Venusian surface and now it's time to take the fight to them...but wait! Some green-skinned goons crash the party, kidnap Jun, and make her wear a tiny leather S&M outfit...Hello Kitty! After some stuff we eventually learn the aliens, aboard a ginormous space galleon named the Daimaken (whose aerodynamics seem dubious at best), led by a tyrant named Commander Hell, who just happens to be emperor of the galaxy (obviously a self appointed title), have all kinds of plans for the Earth, but the one thing they didn't figure on was a bunch of plucky Japanese astronauts riding the pain train right to their doorstep...once Gohten reaches Venus you better believe it's on, as only one ship will be leaving that planet's surface...

From what I've read War is Space was Toho Studios answer to Star Wars (1977), but the two features share only a few, relatively minor commonalities. One obvious aspect was Commander Hell's alien henchman, who looked suspiciously wookie-like, except for large horns on his head and he wields a huge axe instead of a bowcaster. Also know Commander Hell, who's dressed like a Roman emperor (for some, unknown reason), doesn't have much on Darth Vader (Vader and his Imperial forces would have reduced Commander Hell and his fancy space galleon to a greasy, space smudge in about two nano seconds). One really funny aspect for me in terms of the galleon was how it actually had oars protruding from the side, but they weren't used in the traditional fashion as they were, in reality, weapons of mass destruction. Other than that the story seems very similar to that in the film Atragon, except here a good part of the fighting takes place on Venus rather than Earth. The Gohten is pretty cool, one of its main features being a rotation cartridge cylinder, much like that found on a revolver, that has dual use in that it launches fighter ships into space along with firing powerful laser blasts. The story, while hokey, was a lot of fun, but I could have done without the middling love triangle between Miyoshi, Jun, and Morrei. It wasn't played up too much, except for a couple of scenes where I was tempted to jam a couple of shrimp forks into my ocular orbs. In terms of the effects I wouldn't classify this as Toho's best work, but it was still pretty decent as I only saw hanging wires from the ships in a couple of scenes. Once things get rolling there's plenty of action, including a rather large battle between the ships near the word of advice for the captain of the I'm no master strategist but I'd think it'd be wise, when doing battle in outer space (or anywhere for that matter), to not fly directly into your opponents line of fire. Perhaps it's tied to the `kamikaze' mentality witnessed during WWII, I don't know, but if so, it's not an advisable course of action given you're the only defense for Earth against a hostile, alien race intent subjugating the planet. I really liked the music throughout, and I also liked the fact the story had little problems in sacrificing the occasional main character or two, but I only wish they would have done so without the gooey sentimentality that followed. All in all this isn't a stellar Toho production but I found it entertaining and worth a look, especially if you're a fan of Japanese science fiction. One should know there are no gigantic monsters running around in this feature, and element found in many of Toho Studios more popular films often referred to as `kaiju', or giant monster features.

The picture quality, presented in widescreen anamorphic (2.35:1), on this Discotek Media DVD release, looks decent, although the colors seems dull and even brownish at times. Apparently, when the DVD was originally released, there were some quality issues with the encoding process causing the picture to go nutty about forty minutes in, but the copy I got, early in 2006, played just fine. For those who have issues, contact the company via their website and they'll fix you up with a replacement. As far as the audio there's the original 2.0 Japanese, a newly remixed 5.1 Japanese track, and a 2.0 English dub, along with option English subtitles. Extras include a theatrical trailer, a photo gallery, an interview with special effects director Nakano Teruyoshi, and a detailed insert booklet with historical information, poster art, and vehicle diagrams. Also included are trailers for Lupin the Third: Strange Psychokinetic Strategy (1974) and Mikadoroido: Robokill Beneath Discoclub Layla (1991).

Classic 70's Japanese sci-fi
Bonzai | 05/06/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A small percent of the first shipment of DVDs had a mastering error that caused the video to become interlaced later in the film. This was an error in the production of the disc itself.

If you have a problem with your DVD you can go to the publishers web site (Discotek Media) for instructions on getting it exchanged for a working version. All future shipments are the corrected version."