Gigantes Planetarios (Review)

Gigantes Planetarios

aka Planetary Giants
Gigantes Planetarios
Story by Alfredo Ruanova
Screenplay by Alfredo Ruanova and Emilio Gómez Muriel
Directed by Alfredo B. Crevenna

Gigantes Planetarios
Mexican science fiction was in a heyday in the 1960s, not only was the lucha libre genre doing strong work and showing masked wrestlers battling all sorts of beings, but there also was a nice batch of exploration scifi. These features would fit in nicely with the 1950s science fiction output in America, especially the many early rocket films that featured long sequences of astronauts preparing for their rocket missions, taking off in their rocket ships, and dealing with every day space annoyances like meteors, which usually meant an extended spacewalk sequence to repair the damage. These films became superseded in the 1960s by films where things don’t take 75 minutes for something to happen. Gigantes Planetarios (aka Planetary Giants) comes off as a nice hybrid of styles. There is still the homebrew science astronauts and slow build to actual rocket flight, but by then we got aliens and dictators and murder, so things are happening!
Gigantes Planetarios
Director Alfredo B. Crevenna and producer Emilio Gómez Muriel decided to save on money by producing two films at once, so Gigantes Planetarios is immediately followed by El Planeta de las Mujeres Invasoras. The films have a few mirror parallels, but end up being different in tone and quality. While Gigantes Planetarios features the Planet of Eternal Night, El Planeta de las Mujeres Invasoras goes to the Planet of Eternal Light. Gigantes Planetarios has a society dominated by a dictatorial male, while El Planeta de las Mujeres Invasoras has a society dominated by a dictatorial female (and is an all-woman society!) Both films feature Professor Daniel Wolf pretending to be a tough guy villain in order to fool the aliens. Both films feature an extended boxing match that ends with a character paid to throw the fight. Overall, El Planeta de las Mujeres Invasoras just ends up being more fun, because it fully embraces its campiness while still delivering a good story.

That isn’t to say Gigantes Planetarios is bad, it just takes a while to get going before running around on the alien planet begins. But ultimately, things don’t come together into a bunch of fun, it just goes along being average. And average doesn’t always cut it. There are some golden scenes, especially when the aliens are first invading Earth and blasting people at random. Those darn aliens, who will they blast next?
Gigantes Planetarios

Professor Daniel Wolf (Guillermo Murray) – Famous professor of knowing stuff, he gets involves in the whole aliens coming to Earth and doing sabotage business. Takes over the construction of Professor Walter’s rocketship and flies it to the invading planet to take the fight to the aliens.
Silvia (Adriana Roel) – Professor Wolf’s loyal assistant, she joins the space crew against his wishes and proves herself a valued member of the team as they fight the alien menace.
Marcos Godoy (Rogelio Guerra) – A boxer looking for a place to hid from the mob, he ends up accidentally joining the space mission when he steals the spacesuits of the real pilots.
Rey Taquito (José Ángel Espinosa “Ferrusquilla”) – The comic relief manager of Marcos who also accidentally joins the space mission. Is the older blue collar viewpoint.
El Protector (José Gálvez) – The nefarious dictator of The Planet of Eternal Darkness, bent on harassing Earth and has no regard for the life of his own men.

Gigantes Planetarios
Continue reading