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Oh, why do I like Ultra Seven so much? - At Last! More Nonsense from Paul!

Jul. 5th, 2015

06:51 pm - Oh, why do I like Ultra Seven so much?

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I can't recall why I have become interested in Japanese monster/SF/fantasy movies recently; for whatever reason, I have recently watched most of the readily-available qualifyiing theatrical films that were released between 1954 and 1974, plus selected television episodes. I am now about halfway through the run of the 1967 television series Ultra Seven, which I find entertaining and frustrating, in equal measure.

 photo UltraSeven1_zpszv1pqvaa.jpg

This is a live-action science fiction series, set sometime (unspecified) in the future when the Earth's population is aware of the need to protect itself against space aliens, and has appointed expert teams to locate and dissuade them from interfering with us. The six members of Ultra Force seen above, are the focal characters in these half-hour dramas. During the final act of each episode, they are joined by a seventh member of the team (actually one of the six teammates) in the form of a giant red-and-silver alien known as UltraSeven.

In nearly every episode, UltraSeven must battle a giant monster. Sometimes the space-born enemy is a monstrous giant; sometimes the monster is just a fellow traveller with the aliens. Either way, expect a monster fight at the conclusion of every episode.

 photo UltraSeven2_zpsfjza1c5t.jpg

In "Reika 140-do no taiketsu" (which translates as "Showdown at 140 Degrees Below Zero" according to wikipedia) UltraSeven fights a big critter during a raging snowstorm, but he first receives telepathic messegase from these guys:

 photo UltraSeven3_zpsvfxmqdbo.jpg

Now, obviously, I am bound to love these guys, even if they didn't sound sort of like Speedy Gonzales and look like escapees from an early film by The Residents. And I do, for all these reasons. I just wish that so many of the episodes did not work so hard to provoke my "This Really Is Plain Stupid" response. It TRIPS me up sometimes. Wouldn't be so disruptive (hey, I think it's clear I enjoy a LOT of stupid things!) except the first act of each episode is often based on a workable science fiction premise; in this episode, catastrophic weather conditions shut down the nuclear reactor at the core of Terrestrial Defense Force headquarters, and the backup generators won't start. Disturbingly plausible, eh? Well, it gets silly, pretty quick...don't worry about seeing anything that's actually disturbing.

I'm amused by the fact I am so entertained by this series, even though I find myself frustrated at the more clever and workable ideas. Good ideas or not, you can count on everything devolving into a punching match with some big monster, eventually.

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