Film (1962; vt Gorath). Toho Studios. Directed by Inoshiro Honda. Written by Takeshi Kimura, based on a story by Jojiri Okami. Starring Ryō Ikebe, Yumi Shirakawa, Akira Kubo, Kumi Mizuno, Hiroshi Tachikawa, Akihiko Hirata, Kenji Sahara, Jun Tazaki. 88 minutes, cut for American release to 83 minutes. Colour.
A small but massive Star, named Gorath, enters the Solar System and begins disrupting planetary orbits. A Japanese Spaceship, the Hawk, is sent to investigate, but it is pulled in by Gorath's immense Gravity to a fiery death; before it is destroyed, however, the crew relays important data that helps Scientists on Earth track Gorath's path and determine that it is on a collision course with Earth. A second Japanese spaceship, the Eagle, is sent to see if Gorath can be destroyed, but noting that its mass is increasing as it sucks in other objects, crew members conclude that this cannot be done. The only alternative is an international effort to move the Earth out of Gorath's way by building and firing immense rocket engines at the South Pole. Despite some setbacks due to damage, the engines manage to move the Earth just far enough away to avoid destruction.
Though he had resolved to make a film without any of the giant Monsters he was becoming famous for, director Honda was pressured by his company to add a monster to this film, which took the form of an enormous walrus which was released from underneath the South Pole due to earthquakes during the construction of the engines; ironically, however, the scenes were deemed so incongruous that they were omitted from the film's American release. Given the stated dimensions and mass of the film's rogue star, it would seem to qualify as a white dwarf, though it is depicted as reddish, resembling a planet covered with molten lava. Unlike other wandering objects that have threatened to collide with Earth in sf films, Gorath is too massive to be destroyed, leading to the imaginative strategy of effectively turning the Earth into a huge spaceship by means of rocket engines blasting at the South Pole to push Earth away from the approaching star (see World Ships) – though the amount of energy required to achieve this goal would appear to exceed that of any engine humans might construct on short notice. Overall, it is not exactly a great film, but amidst scores of Japanese sf films featuring sinister Alien invaders or rampaging Monsters, Gorath stands out at least for its novelty. [GW]
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