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Warning from Space (1956) - Blu-ray Review

Warning from Space (1956)

GIANT STARFISH FROM SPACE!  Holy crap, humans!  Run for your lives!  These baggy-suited martians with eyes where their stomachs ought to be might just tickle you to death.

"While this cult classic is definitely not for everyone out there, those with any appreciation for the house that built Gamera will definitely want to check out this Warning From Space!"


This is the cheesy-looking territory of acclaimed director Kôji Shima’s Warning From Space, a science fiction movie in which aliens appear in Tokyo and, after we try to blow them up, save the day thanks to their WARNING FROM SPACE.  Get it?  Financed by Daiei Studios in the wake of Toho’s Godzilla, the subject matter of the movie might be deadly serious, but the look of it - as aliens become avant-garde thanks to artist Tarō Okamoto’s otherworldly designs - makes it a cult classic 

With plastic costumes and duct tape a-plenty, Warning from Space was the first COLOR science fiction flick made in Japan.  It wasn’t the last, but the film - as silly as it is - also produces some memorable images thanks to the arrival of UFOs as they skirt across the deepest of nights above Tokyo.  The images are quite crisp and hauntingly beautiful as these aliens from a planet called Pairan arrive.Warning from Space (1956)

The laughter doesn’t start until they waddle out of the craft.  Sure, we get a quick shot of the aliens deciding what to do before they land, but their goofiness only grows. These aliens look all sorts of crazy as giant starfish with an eye in the middle of their bellies descend.  Their purpose?  Not to teletubby us to death with panicked shrieks of laughter, but to warn a scientist against the use of his brand-new weapon.

But, when they discover that something massively is unexpectedly headed toward Earth, they find a use for the weapon.  But what are the consequences of using such nuclear force?  Oh, who cares?!  Earth must be preserved and so, thanks to these goofy-looking gangliosides from outer space, humans find a good enough reason to mix UFOs with atomic bombs for a BOOM-BOOM show that won’t soon be forgotten.

Written by Hideo Oguni (Seven Samurai), the first Japanese science fiction film made in color arrives on blu-ray thanks to Arrow Video.  While this cult classic is definitely not for everyone out there, those with any appreciation for the house that built Gamera will definitely want to check out this Warning From Space!

4/5 beers

 Warning from Space (1956)

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Arrow Films
Available on Blu-ray
- October 13, 2020
Screen Formats: 1.37:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:
Japanese: LPCM Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The first Japanese science fiction film to be made in color, Koji Shima’s Warning From Space features eye-popping special effects from the same team at Daiei Studios that would bring Gamera to life a decade later.  As Japan is rocked by mysterious sightings of UFOs over Tokyo and large one-eyed aliens attempting contact, scientists collaborate to investigate the unexpected rise in extraterrestrial activity. Unbeknownst to them, one of the aliens has already assumed human form and is about to deliver a very important message… that could be humanity’s last hope for survival.  With a witty script by Hideo Oguni (screenwriter of several Akira Kurosawa classics including Seven Samurai) and iconic starfish-like aliens designed by avant-garde artist Taro Okamoto, the original Japanese version of Warning From Space finally makes its official English-language video debut.

Video:

The original Japanese version of Warning From Space is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1.  The high definition master was supplied by Kadokawa Pictures.  Additional quality control and optimization took place at R3store Studios and Bad Princess Productions.  Due to the condition of the film material, some photochemical issues remain, such as the occasional density fluctuation and flicker.  Additional picture grading, restoration, and audio remastering work supervised by James White and James Flower at Arrow Films.  Overall, this is a worthy upgrade to HD thanks to Arrow Video.

Audio:

The original mono soundtrack is also included as well as an English-language track, making its official video debut with this release.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Rejoice!  Fans of this loopy feature get a red-hot commentary from Stuart Galbraith IV, author of Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo

Special Features:

Alongside the reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin, fans get the commentary, a booklet (limited to the first pressing only), the first-ever HD transfer of the American release version of the film, including a newly restored English dub track, and image galleries.

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original uncompressed Japanese mono audio
  • Optional newly translated English subtitles
  • Brand new commentary by Stuart Galbraith IV, author of Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo!
  • First-ever HD transfer of the American release version of the film, including a newly restored English dub track
  • Theatrical trailers
  • Image galleries
  • Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin
  • Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring an essay on artist Taro Okamoto by Japanese art historian Nick West, and an essay on the production of the American edit of the film by David Cairns

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3.5/5 stars


Film Details

Warning from Space (1956)

MPAA Rating: PG-13 on appeal for crude sexual content and language.
Runtime:
87 mins
Director
: Kôji Shima
Writer:
Hideo Oguni
Cast:
Keizô Kawasaki, Toyomi Karita, Bin Yagisawa
Genre
: Sci-fi
Tagline:

Memorable Movie Quote:
Theatrical Distributor:
Kadokawa Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 15, 1964
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 13, 2020.
Synopsis: The first Japanese science fiction film to be made in color, Koji Shima's Warning From Space features eye-popping special effects from the same team at Daiei Studios that would bring Gamera to life a decade later. As Japan is rocked by mysterious sightings of UFOs over Tokyo and large one-eyed aliens attempting contact, scientists collaborate to investigate the unexpected rise in extraterrestrial activity. Unbeknownst to them, one of the aliens has already assumed human form and is about to deliver a very important message… that could be humanity's last hope for survival.

Art

Warning from Space (1956)

 

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