Review of On the Silver Globe (1988)

Moving picture, 166 minutes

Seen in 2018.

A spaceship from Earth crashes on an alien planet. Though no help will come for generations, the three survivors colonize a continent because their children grow at an accelerated rate. These descendants quickly devolve into savagery, maddening the last of the astronauts. After civilization on Earth has collapsed into a similar barbarism, the people of the new world battle psychic avian Sherns (or Szerns) and their half-human offspring.

Science fiction with wide-open borders to fantasy, political allegory and Christian mythology. Some of the individual takes are amazing. The scenes of tribal turmoil at Wieliczka outshine Lynch’s version of the Fremen in Dune (1984). Having shot his scenes in 1975–1977, Żuławski was a solid decade ahead of mainstream SF cinematography. Like Jodorowsky with his own Freudian version of Dune (1977), Żuławski could have made a splash if his film had been completed and released on schedule. Some features of the narrative, particularly the “found footage” device of the first act, look still further ahead.

It is a pity the script is so awful. The principal actors spew a torrent of philosophical-sounding nonsense sprinkled with verses from The Bible (ca. 110 CE), as if the writer believed that dialogue is of no significance. Internal logic is never completely discarded, and the style is certainly consistent throughout, but the driving forces of this project are largely incompatible with extrapolation, leaning heavily on a series of vague visual allegories—including a dumb-looking US greaser car—and landing in Christian dross.

References here: O-Bi, O-Ba – The End of Civilization (1985), Cloverfield (2008).

moving picture fiction