Saturday, October 25, 2008

KRONOS (1957)

Chintzy little SF thriller with little to make it rise above the average late-50's alien story aside from the title, er…, character, a gigantic metallic block creature, a cross between a robot and an ultra-modern office building. In an opening that feels like a scene from the later Close Encounters, a man driving a truck on a desert road one night is attacked by a Tinker Bell-like light flare which possesses him to head over to the nearest astrophysics lab. The flare leaps out of him and into scientist John Emery, who then communicates with more blinking flares outside his window. An object that scientists believe is an asteroid plummets into the sea just off the Mexican coast, at which point Emery passes out. Colleague Jeff Morrow and his totsy assistant Barbara Lawrence head off to Mexico where they kiss on the beach, then see the boxy metallic monolithic Kronos rise up out of the water. Guided by whatever extraterrestrial intelligence has possessed Emery, Kronos starts walking around (on cartoon-animated legs) sucking up energy to take back to its dying home planet. Bombing it just gives it more power, but when it heads to Los Angeles, Morrow comes up with a plan to destroy it by overloading it with energy. Kronos is a fairly nifty creation; Morrow and Lawrence actually land on it, enter it, and investigate a bit, and it seems more like a space ship than a sentient creature, but it's still an impressive "character," and it certainly makes more of an impact than any of the human cast. Morrow is stolid and drab, and Lawrence is kind of a zero; there's a room-sized computer named SUSIE, which has about as much charisma as those two. Emery looks constantly constipated, and the only other cast member to register is George O'Hanlon (later the voice of George Jetson) as a comic relief sidekick. Sadly, the DVD has no extras but it is letterboxed--I can't imagine this would be worth seeing at all in a pan & scan version. [DVD]

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