In the year 2012 a bunch of morons thought the world was going to end because an ancient civilization made a calendar and couldn’t be arsed to go beyond the year 2012. People of questionable intellect however chose to think that this meant that a people could predict the end of the world yet not predict the coming of the Spanish. Years later a film came out set in that year even though the science was so bad physicists burst out laughing at the ridiculous explanation for the end of the world.
But this isn’t December so I’m not doing modern films, instead I as always am going back to the 50s. When another film told of the end of the world, but this time with a explanation that Dara O’Briain didn’t make fun of in one of his tours.
Released in 1951 ( see told you it was the 50s) it tells the tale of a desperate plan to save the human race as the Earth is about to be destroyed by a rogue star. But rather than just go about following a bunch of people from one set to another and run away from lava that speeds up as they get faster (ok I’ll try to stop with taking things off that tour) – No this film focuses on the human element, as they work to have even the slightest chance of mankind surviving this apocalypse. And apocalypse it is, for the Earth won’t survive. So instead ships must be made carrying only as many people as they can safely do so, to land on another word, not knowing if that world is hospitable but it’s the only chance they have.
We start with Pilot David Randall as he transports Dr. Emery Bronson to a meeting with Dr Cole Hendron and his daughter Joyce. There is an odd atmosphere as he has a troubled look on his face. David following them in is there at the meeting where the evidence shows that a rogue star is heading towards the Earth and will destroy it in around 8 months! We now see a film of people from many walks of life (as well as the obligatory but fortunately not intrusive or annoying… now I think about it I think the love triangle was rather underplayed and everyone ok as the two leads hit it off… never mind) as the rocket has to be made long before signs of the incoming star and planet arrive for it will be too late if they do.
Other scientist scoff at Dr. Cole Hendron’s (head scientist) findings. He is unable to get the funding and thus has to get it from industrialist Sidney Stanton under the agreement he be allowed on the rocket, despite being wheelchair bound. Hendron is also assisted by his daughter Joyce (who is the lead female and in that sort of but not really love triangle).
The film does show some devastation when the planet orbiting the rogue star goes past but the main focus is on the cast building the rocket and the human element rather than obsessing over scenes of destruction. And that’s why I feel this film is superior to 2012. It’s telling the tale of people desperate to survive not even knowing if it will be all for naught rather than go, oh look big explosions and devastation Oooh. We see people choose death rather than be split apart. People go mad as the end comes to the point of nearly dooming everyone for this is truly the end, as the sky turns red.
While different from the 50s movies I often go for (no monsters) it’s definitely a good strong watch seeing the cast none of whom are antagonists yet do things in their own way. Stanton may be doing things for his own ends but he’s being realistic rather than idealistic which in a case of the end of the world you kind of have to be.
Whilst it’s an excellent 50s Sci Fi movie, the science is just as bad as 2012, if not worse, and is topped off by the incredible luck of the survivors finding a habitable planet. We’ve barely got one here.
while the notion of a rogue star is not got much to back it up, its much superior to the neutrinos mutating and heating up the planet, which they cant do, and then apparently stop doing by the end of the film with not mention of it happening.
Through the film though they made it clear they didn’t know the planet was habitable but it was their only choice. Also we can be more forgiving to a film in the 50s than we can those in the modern age.
Funnily enough we have recently discovered rogue stars that wander through space, possibly after being ejected gravitationally from their neighbourhoods by either black holes or even bigger rogue stars, so astronomically it’s been a successful idea.
I suppose if the planet hadn’t been habitable it’d have been a glum ending, much like Nevil Shute’s ‘On The Beach’. And in the 50s that may have been too much
“Gin a body meet a body
Flyin’ through the air.
Gin a body hit a body,
Will it fly? And where?”
James Clerk Maxwell