Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth, The / Bubble, The (1966)

“It’s a wall made out of glass — it’s the screwiest thing I ever saw!”

Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth Poster

Synopsis:
A man (Michael Cole) and his pregnant wife (Deborah Walley) ask their pilot (Johnny Desmond) to make an emergency landing in a strange town, where the inhabitants act like zombies. Soon they realize that they are trapped inside a glass bubble, and must find a way to get out.

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
It’s not clear why Peary includes this tedious film in his GFTFF, given that he acknowledges its “weak acting and lackluster production”, notes (appropriately) that the “characters seem to just wander about… as if they were waiting for someone to finish the script”, points out that it’s “full of bad conversation that’s meant to be profound”, laments that it’s “much too long, even in [its] shortened version”, and labels the ending “unsatisfying”. In addition, because the movie was filmed in 3-D, it’s full of contrived, laughable shots of objects floating in the air, and characters pushing items out towards the camera. In short, writer/director Arch Oboler takes a reasonably interesting premise, and somehow fails to generate any drama at all.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Not much of anything

Must See?
No. While it holds some historical interest for its gimmicky use of “stereoscopy” (i.e., 3-D cinematography), this film is simply too tedious to recommend.

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One Response to “Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth, The / Bubble, The (1966)”

  1. Not a must.

    While I agree with much in the assessment – and with Peary – my main problem with this film is I don’t understand director Oboler’s intent. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt due to certain intriguing previous work (‘The Twonky’, ‘Five’). I just didn’t know what he was doing this time out.

    It’s certainly an interesting premise – but there’s no pay-off: the main cause of frustration.

    I avoided this film for many years because of its reputation. Though it’s not as bad as all that, it’s certainly not good. As someone notes at imdb, and as I’d also thought as it went on, it’s like an extended ‘Twilight Zone’ episode – except that those episodes tended to hinge on some overriding (often moral) message, which is lacking here.

    There are a few plus factors: leads Michael Cole and Deborah Walley (known for fluff – who here turns in something surprisingly affecting) go at it with total conviction. And the plot seems to be some kind of Job-like rant about the confusion caused by a silent, omnipotent, seemingly vengeful God (at least, that’s how I see it, as opposed to some alien invasion; at one point, Walley talks about whatever force it is out there that apparently doesn’t care about people or what happens to them) – which, theme-wise, works as a valid human condition fear.

    It’s also interesting to note that the main characters are pro-active, and the sub-level characters symbolize those who go through life either making minimal effort or merely existing.

    But aside from the amount of filler (I can’t imagine the longer version), the main problem is that Oboler – as writer and director – is too vague about what his point actually is. Based on what we see, we just don’t know.

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