29 August 2007 | mstomaso
Classic 1950s TV Sci-Fi Schlock Adventure
Had this been a 1940s Sci-Fi serial, there would be no question about its place in sci-fi cinematic history. Instead, Crash of Moons - an assemblage of episodes from the 1954 Rocky Jones TV series - sits firmly in the 1950s sci-fi schlock category. Crash of Moons, and the rest of the Rocky Jones adventures, has a very strong serial feel to it, and is enjoyable for many of the same reasons the 1940s serials are still entertaining. For info on the original 1954 series from which this comes, see http://pro.imdb.com/title/tt0046639/
Jones (Richard Crane) is a space-ship captain who flies around the solar system with his improbably named navigator "Winky" (played by the ill-fated child prodigy Scotty Beckett) representing the United Worlds - an interplanetary political entity which has a very strong resemblance to Star Trek's federation. In Crash of Moons, Jones and Winky find themselves trying to deal with a pair of "gypsy moons" whose eccentric orbit is going to collapse, destroying them both. Of course, both moons are inhabited (I assume, by people who do not require consistent sunlight, food, energy sources, and an atmosphere), and one is presided over by dictator Cleolanta (Patty Parsons). Jones has a number of support personnel - an elderly science professor, The United Worlds' Secretary of Space, a lovely and smart young woman, and a child prodigy. They all pool their resources to avert the crisis, but Cleolanta has other plans.
Star Trek fans will find more than the United Worlds concept interesting - the Rocky Jones series also consistently cast women in positions of considerable power and responsibility - a bold move for 1950s TV.
The special effects are not at all bad for their time. Mostly, the effects involve miniatures and some creative imagery which merely suggest what they are meant to represent, but the effects scenes are all sewn and filmed together in a surprisingly classy way. The cinematography and directing are quite good for early TV.
The script is predictably silly, very inventively deploys technobabble, and has nothing whatsoever to do with science, or even real technology. It is therefore what one might expect had Star Trek Voyager been produced in the 1950s by the same writing team which created it in the 1990s.
The acting is serviceable for its intent - family TV viewing. Characterization is a bit light - even for heroes Jones and Winky - but this is not surprising since the film is really just an excerpt from a TV series.
I heartily recommend Crash of Moons for those interested in Sci-Fi TV history and B film addicts. Keep what this is intended to be in mind and keep your expectations low, and you just might have a good time with it!