There's a sense of awe to the special effects work of animation specialists Gerry and Sylvia Anderson (Thunderbirds Are Go
)--the slow, lovingly detailed introduction of a massive spaceship creeping out of dock and struggling against its bulk while trapped on the ground, and the almost balletic spectacle of the ship elegantly floating against an impressive star field or dramatically flying against the rugged landscape. These moments are the highlights of this sober science fiction thriller about the discovery of a planet on the far side of the sun in Earth's orbit. A mission is hastily put together, with British astrophysicist Ian Hendry teamed with hotshot American astronaut Roy Thinnes for the three-week trip, but when they suddenly crash-land the strange creatures that surround them are revealed to be human. Against all rational explanations they're back on Earth, but Thinnes suddenly discovers that everything is a mirror image of his existence: Through the Looking Glass
by way of The Twilight Zone
. Though it begins as a paranoid spy thriller set in the near future (the opening details an ingenious espionage caper featuring a very special eyepiece), it quickly turns into a serious and oddly unsettling space-race drama with a heady twist. Robert Parrish's direction is unusually aloof, but the film is always intriguing and well acted with gorgeous special effects that may rank second only to Stanley Kubrick's 2001
as the most elegant vision of outer space flight on film. --Sean Axmaker
A space-race develops when a new planet is discovered on the far side of the sun, in this Gerry and Sylvia Anderson-created, effects-driven, sci-fi tale with a twist. When a new, previously unseen planet is discovered on the opposite side of the sun, 100 years in the future, a European space agency hurriedly dispatches a spaceship to investigate. But when astronauts Col. Glenn Ross (Roy Thinnes) and John Kane (Ian Hendry) are forced to crash-land, their dazed condition leads them to believe they're back on earth. It's not long, however, until they both discover the shocking truth: the undiscovered planet is actually a doppelganger of the earth, similar in every respect, but a mirror-image.