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The Mysterians

Four-star sci-fi period piece from Japan

(Edit) 12/05/2015

In a landscape overlooked by Mt Fuji, a group of aliens from Planet 5 set up an Earth base. Equipped with superior science, colourful capes and crash-helmets, they plan the colonization of Japan and, to the greater alarm of the locals, interbreeding with Earth females.

A first show of alien force by means of an immense radio-controlled robot – an hilarious cross between a giant ant-eater and a Samurai warrior – is eventually neutralized by the brave military, but not until after much model-work special effects, and ‘heat-rays’ painted directly onto the celluloid. The heroic 1950s style is highly enjoyable and must have been a great technical achievement at the time. Now it is an amusing and pleasant contrast to latter-day CGI. The acting is earnest and without irony.

Negotiation is simplified by the surprising fact that the Mysterians speak Japanese and even bow politely in the manner of the people they are invading. Scientists, rather than politicians, are invited to the discussion table indicating the aliens have some good-judgement at least. No compromise can be reached however.

A full-scale battle commences with a slightly too-prolonged effects sequence. Meanwhile a romance narrative involves the rescue of some captured Japanese maidens. There is much drooping of artillery barrels as the heat rays defend the alien dome. A solemn decision not to deploy H-bombs is justified after a last-ditch perfection of a counter-ray which sees the aliens off.

This is great entertainment from a classic sci-fi period-piece of the mid-C20th era.

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