Destination: Outer Space (2010) by Jeffrey Long
Originally posted at: http://bmovieshelf.blogspot.com/2013/09/destination-outer-space-2010.html
"Destination: Outer Space" is filmmaker Christpher R. Mihm's black and white throwback to classic 1950s low budget space adventure serials, along the likes of the classic "The Space Adventures of Flash Gordon," with a dash of "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" tossed in for good flavor (actually, quite much more than a dashha!). It's following on the heels of several other similar-style movies by the same filmmaker, titles like "The Monster of Phantom Lake," "It Came From Another World!," "Cave Women on Mars," and "Terror From Beneath The Earth." If you're familiar with any of those (be it watching them yourself or just from reading my previous reviews of them), then by now you know the whole spiel here and what to expect from a Mihmiverse movie.
After having his presence terribly missed in the previous movie, actor Josh Craig thankfully returns to the series to reprise his second character, Captain Jackson, in addition to playing a cameo of his first character and father of Captain Jackson, Professor Jackson. "Destination: Outer Space" acts almost like a direct sequel to "Cave Women on Mars," catching us up with Captain Jackson and what's all gone on with his life since returning from the Mars Mission and the repercussions his actions at the end of that movie have had on his life (spoiler: Nothing good). Looking to redeem himself and his family name, he returns to space (after much persuasion from both his father, as played by himself once again, and his best friend, as played by M. Scott Taulman, one half of the Canoe Cops duo from "The Monster of Phantom Lake" and "It Came From Another World!," here playing the intelligent son of his Canoe Cop character), in order to test out an experimental spaceship, however something goes terribly wrong and he ends up lost in a far-away uncharted galaxy. With his ship broken and no way to return home, he finds himself in one "Star Wars"-inspired adventure after another, with some "Star Trek" and "Lost in Space" rearing their heads from time to time, along with plenty of other homages and nods, many of which I caught but some I'm sure I missed as well, and will require multiple viewings to catch them all.
This movie's runtime returns to the longer runtime that I normally dislike for these kinds of movies for reasons I've stated in the previous reviews. With that said, it did not bother me one iota here, seeing as how the nature of this movie actually kind of called for it. You see, with this being a homage to classic space adventure serials of the days of old, it very much feels like three separate half hour-ish episodic serials just edited together to form a continuous movie. The first chunk reintroduces us to the character of Captain Jackson and eventually gets him out into space where he ends up in a far-flung foreign galaxy and crashing onto a planet after experiencing ship troubles. The second part picks up with him wandering this planet and finding his way into a 'wretched hive of scum and villainy' cantina filled with not just strange new alien lifeforms, but some hilarious returning 'faces' to fans of the Mihmiverse, both in actors as well as monstrous fellows. It's there that Jackson runs afoul of a red-headed tough-as-nails female bounty hunter that ends every sentence with 'Yes?', a character trait I initially found annoying but quickly grew to love (and then miss once the character was gone). Escaping from her ship when it comes under attack from the evil Ominai Empire, Jackson aimlessly floats through space for weeks in the escape pod, surviving off nothing but tasteless packed MRE rations. The third and final, almost double-length, portion picks up as Jackson is rescued from his fate by a box-headed robot named A.D.A.M (quite possibly the most laugh-out-loud funniest character in any of these movies yet) that introduces him to his home planet and then wishes to use Jackson's help in delivering a terrible blow to the Ominai Empire and in return offers to help him get back home to his own galaxy.
I really don't know how much I can say about this entry in the Mihmiverse series, for the simple fact that everything is perfect. The hammy acting was the best I've seen out of this series to date, the impressive no-budget special effects and set designs did their job perfectly in making me forget they were even special effects and fake sets and that this movie was actually largely filmed in just some guy's basement, the costume designs were inspired and the perfect mix of familiar and alien, and even the larger-then-normal (out of this world, you might say!) scope of the story - just everything is top-notch excellent here and easily Christopher R. Mihm's best effort yet, taking all the things I loved about "Cave Women on Mars" and amplifying them even more. Sure the runtime was one of the longest yet, however it honestly felt much shorter to me because I was so easily able to get caught up in this story and the fictional world presented here. Of course it also helps that there were plenty of hilariously cheesy fight scenes, all done with great and fun-to-watch choreography, from getting tossed around by the bounty hunter's crew, or dueling with electrified baton weapons against the Ominai footsoldiers, or using a spear against the Tusken Raider-wannabe Ominai soldiers that had giant eyeballs for heads (and ending in a hilarious spear-through-the-eye scene), this movie had no shortage of Captain Kirk-inspired tussles, and they were all a blast to watch.
As with all the other movies in the Mihmiverse, this self-produced DVD is stacked right up with tons of excellent bonus content that while may be a bit less then usual, is still quality stuff all the same: We get only one Blooper Reel instead of the usual two (but it has a really good length to it and is, just like all the others, simply laugh-out-loud hilarious), a trailer for both this movie as well as other movies under the Mihmiverse banner, a Photo Gallery of tons of Behind-the-Scenes photos, an introduction to the film by Horror Host Dr. Ivan Cryptosis, and the usual informative full length Audio Commentary by Christopher R. Mihm and several of the main actors of the movie.
In classic serial nature, "Destination: Outer Space" ends things off on a promised note of further adventures of Captain Jackson in this 'lost galaxy', yet as the way of things with these movies, I'm willing to bet this is probably the most we'll ever see, since Christopher R. Mihm and the folks over at Saint Euphoria have done eight of these movies so far (with a ninth in the works) and none have really been true sequels to one another other then recurring characters and locations. Also, it's sad to note that to date this is Josh Craig's final appearance in the Mihmiverse series, perhaps truly being lost in another galaxy right along with his character, waiting to be rediscovered in a future movie and adventure! In all seriousness though, despite some misgivings I had in the past with one of the characters he plays, Josh Craig's overall presence in the series will surely be missed in the following movies. However on the positive side of things, I really can't think of a stronger, more bold, movie for him to go out on, then "Destination: Outer Space."
Seeing as how most of the advertising for these movies come from simple word of mouth from the fans, then if you do check his stuff out and enjoy it please help get the word out there on these movies and hopefully we can snag in a few other fans that may not even realize these exist. You can order these on DVD (and even BluRay for the latest couple!) over at his official site which is filled with all sorts of other goodies as well (including a monthly newsletter in addition to a very laid back, yet fun and informative, podcast). Hell, there's even an excellent deal on right now – Buy Three Movies, Get One Free, which seeing as how there's currently eight of these titles, if you do that twice then that is the perfect way to catch up with all of them and in the end save some dough – that's how I did it!
10/10 rooms in the Psych Ward