Travel into the future to March, 1980. Astronauts crash-land on an asteroid and are shrunk to a mere six inches tall! They are held captive by a race of miniature people who are under attack by a mysterious legion of alien... more »s, led by Richard Kiel ("The Spy Who Loved Me's" Jaws). Meanwhile, a rescue ship from Earth is being organized to save the captured astronauts. Can they survive the ruthless alien onslaught. A fun sci-fi drive-in extravaganza, complete with hideous aliens, rocketships, spacemen and out-of-this-world excitement!« less
"Phantom Planet is a generally-overlooked but thoroughly enjoyable slice of early-60s SF cheese. Not really good enough to be a "good movie," not really bad enough to achieve Trash status; but I could watch this one every six months without getting tired of it. Dean Fredericks in the lead makes a quite unappealing, unsympathetic `hero,' lending a strange atmosphere to the movie right off the bat. Francis X. Bushman (the silent Ben Hur) and Anthony Dexter (fallen far from 1951's Valentino) lend kitsch appeal, and Coleen Gray and Dolores Faith, as the `mute girl,' provide potential love interest for drippy Fredericks. If you watch this with the mindset of a 10-year-old there's lots of fun and clever ideas and effects: the shrinking thing, passable outer space/rocketship sequences, the disintegrator floor panels and duel of death, the flaming Solarite death ships, etc. And the sad sack monster, played by clumsy giant-for-hire Richard Kiel (`Jaws'), has to be one of the most lovably moth-eaten, pathetically unthreatening creations to grace any B-flick; kind of Paul Blaisdell-meets-Harry Thomas at the thrift store. You could probably suspend your disbelief and really enjoy this movie on a comic book level, or have a few friends over and laugh yourselves silly. Highly recommended.
For long-time fans of this movie, Image's DVD delivers a fine print of the film: sharp and detailed, great tonal scale, virtually spotless save for some very light speckling and a rare blemished frame. You'll never need to worry about upgrading from this one. It blows my VHS TV prints right off the map. Unfortunately, there is no trailer for the feature, and the only other `extra' is the chapter stops. There are five trailers included in an `easter egg,' but they're the same ones as on every other Image release. Considering all the movies in their catalog, they could dish out a few new ones already! A minor gripe though, and if you love this movie you'll want this disc anyway."
Better than expected
Robby Krell | Sea of Tranquility, Luna | 04/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I just watched this yesterday, with very low expectations, and was pretty surprised at how good it was. Definitely worth viewing, esp if you can track it down on a multi-movie set. (The transfer used in Mill Creek's Sci-Fi Classics box set is just fine.)
Others have talked about the story and the acting, but I want to mention is the non-stop use of special effects. Sure, they're hokey, but they keep coming, and that's what keeps your (or at least my) interest. There's the ping-pong-table Moon base, complete with whirling radar dish; plenty of spaceship shots, a space walk, meteor shower, invisible asteroid, shrinking astronaut/tiny people, Rock of Oblivion... and that's not even mentioning the monster. I don't think 3 minutes pass by in this movie without some "special effect" or other. That makes for pretty fun, engaging viewing, in my opinion.
Also, you can practically count the future Star Trek episodes... The one with the hollow asteroid traveling across space... The one where Kirk and Spock engage in mortal combat... The one where the girl falls for Kirk. (Oh wait, that's all of them.) And so on. Even the Rock of Oblivion acts suspiciously like the transporter, set on one-way of course.
All in all this is a fun film that rarely flags, perfect for a rainy weekend afternoon."
Late Night fun as a kid
tvrepairman | USA | 10/04/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This film is no classic but it is a fun one i remember as a kid. I saw it late night of course and enjoyed it then and i have seen it since and realize that you should take it as it is and not look for extreme quality acting but if you are a sci fi fan and enjoy old flicks then you will have fun with this one. Break out the popcorn and gather the kids for a good viewing."
Neither as Bad nor as Good as You Might Expect
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 01/30/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Capt. Chapman (Dean Fredericks) lands on an asteriod which is unexpectedly inhabited by six-inch tall humans. When the atmospheric properties reduce him to their size he not only finds himself working to save their civilization but ensnared in several romantic complications and rivalries as well. While it sounds slight, the plot is actually cohesive and many of the concepts involved are unexpectedly ambitious--but as it happens, the 1961 PHANTOM PLANET has a less-than-B-movie budget, and the result is a film that alternates between being interesting in terms of ideas and often hilariously bad in execution.
Some of the special effects are pretty good for 1961, but then again some of them are ludicrous beyond belief. The space sequences are reasonably done until the asteroid appears on screen; depending on how you look at the thing, it might be a clump of trail mix or a deep-fried chicken nugget. The sets and costumes are adequate until the monster of the piece appears on the scene; even by "B" movie standards it is pretty silly stuff. And then there is the cast.
The most interesting of the actors is Francis X. Bushman, one of the great stars of the silent era and perhaps best recalled as Messala in the 1925 version of BEN-HUR--a film in which he gave a noticeably stagey performance. By 1961, however, Bushman had shed such mannerisms, and he gives a performance here that leads you to suspect he could have had a more distinguished career in sound film if he had gotten the breaks and the scripts. The rest of the cast, however, ranges from merely adequate to down right atrocious, with leading man Dean Fredericks a case in point.
Ultimately, PHANTOM PLANET reads very much like an Ed Wood movie but without hilarious inadequacies of plot and script that you expect from such. Fans of sci-fi "B" pictures of the era will likely enjoy it, and I give it three stars for them, but if you are looking for an unintentionally comic bad movie you'll find this one neither as bad nor as good as you might expect.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer"
A FiveStar B Movie
Nick Tropiano | Havertown, PA United States | 09/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Everything a 50's B movie should be. Monsters, space ships, bizarro plot, an overall strange and trippy throughout, unintended notes of surrealism, tough talkin' 50's B-movie hero types. So much fun, so much old school trippy craziness - just campy enough. These movies can never be replicated. Like vintage wines, they have to "ferment" for a number of decades to reach the peak of their entertainment value. I savored this one, which I somehow missed on UHF TV growing up. It's new old stock! Yeah! What makes this one especially great is that - while not a high-budget production, it wasn't so poverty stricken that it detracted. To the contrary, this one had some surprisingly competent and effective pre-CGI special effects, decent acting and acceptable production values. A great time at the movies for those who appreciate this vintage. A five star wine of a B film that has reached maturity."