The Shape of Things to Come


1h 38m 1979

Brief Synopsis

Planet Earth is a devastated wasteland, and what's left of humanity has colonized the Moon in domed cities. Humanity's continued survival depends on an anti-radiation drug only available on planet Delta Three, which has been taken over by Omus, a brilliant but mad mechanic who places no value on human life. Omus wants to come to the Moon to rule and intends to attack it by ramming robot-controlled spaceships into the domes. Dr. John Caball, his son Jason, Jason's friend, Kim, and a robot named Sparks embark on Caball's space battlecruiser on an unauthorized mission to Delta Three to stop Omus.

Film Details

Also Known As
H.G. Wells' The Shape of Things to Come, Shape of Things to Come
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1979

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.33 : 1

Synopsis

Planet Earth is a devastated wasteland, and what's left of humanity has colonized the Moon in domed cities. Humanity's continued survival depends on an anti-radiation drug only available on planet Delta Three, which has been taken over by Omus, a brilliant but mad mechanic who places no value on human life. Omus wants to come to the Moon to rule and intends to attack it by ramming robot-controlled spaceships into the domes. Dr. John Caball, his son Jason, Jason's friend, Kim, and a robot named Sparks embark on Caball's space battlecruiser on an unauthorized mission to Delta Three to stop Omus.

Film Details

Also Known As
H.G. Wells' The Shape of Things to Come, Shape of Things to Come
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1979

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.33 : 1

Articles

The Shape of Things to Come - JACK PALANCE IN A PURPLE CAPE, CLUNKY ROBOTS AND MORE!


You've got to hand it to Blue Underground, a prolific DVD production company, which is committed to remastering and releasing through Image Entertainment a select assortment of cult films and guilty pleasures for discriminating movie buffs. Who else would take such care in mounting the DVD release of The Shape of Things to Come (1979), an extremely tacky sci-fi fantasy that enjoyed a brief run at drive-ins during the late seventies and never had a home video release before now. While some of Blue Underground's recent releases blur the line between exploitation and art-house cinema (Jess Franco's Eugenie: The Story of Her Journey into Perversion (1969), for example), that's not the case here. The Shape of Things to Come is unintentionally hilarious trash and a must-see for any Star Wars (1977) fan who feels compelled to see every bad clone of that cultural rite of passage.

Where to begin? Supposedly based on a story by H.G. Wells, The Shape of Things to Come opens with a narrator informing us that "This is Washington. New Washington. A thriving colony on the surface of the moon..." But it looks like a rented sound stage populated by extras with bad hair dressed in vintage K-Mart disco wear. And it just gets better. The story is set in a time after the great "Robot Wars" when mankind is dependent on a drug, Ridic-2-Q, that protects against radiation poisoning, a constant concern. But when the evil Omus (Jack Palance in a purple cape) takes control of Delta Three where Ridic-2-Q is produced, he uses extortion and acts of violence to blackmail mankind into accepting him as the emperor of the universe. Of course, he didn't count on any serious opposition from Dr. Caball (Barry Morse of The Fugitive and Space: 1999 TV fame) and his renegade band of rebels.

Shot on location in parts of Quebec and Ontario, The Shape of Things to Come is a rock-bottom, no-frills production that looks like it was filmed in a shopping mall. Imagine a threadbare version of Logan's Run (1976) and you've got the picture. What action there is usually involves scads of extras racing up and down antiseptic corridors or frantically pacing back and forth in control rooms where they shout out technical gibberish and stare intently at small computer monitors. Oh yes, we forgot to mention the kamikaze robots who are controlled by Omus. They're big, clunky affairs that are much closer in design to Robby the Robot in Forbidden Planet (1956) than the Star Wars cyborgs. Occasionally they'll blow up something or engage in very slow hand-to-hand combat with a jump-suited extra. On the side of the good is "Sparks," an annoying, Shakespeare-quoting piece of metal that is a sad imitation of R2D2. But the best special effect in The Shape of Things to Come is Mr. Palance who cuts quite a figure in his purple cape and unflattering space-age attire. Not only does he get most of the best lines but he has a great freak-out scene toward the end where he's surrounded by his faithful robot bodyguards. He even gets to appear as a spinning hologram that changes color in one scene. Hollywood veterans like John Ireland and Carol Lynley aren't as lucky and aren't required to do much more than look extremely distressed....and who wouldn't in those clothes?

The DVD edition of The Shape of Things to Come is presented in an anamorphic 1.66.1 transfer and, although slightly grainy with instances of spotting, this transfer probably looks better than the original film did when it was first released in 1979. The Dolby Digital Mono track is acceptable despite some muffled dialogue and a background hiss. But overall, this DVD is a labor of love and connoisseurs of really bad cinema should throw down their purple capes and worship Blue Underground. By the way, the disk extras include the French theatrical trailer, a domestic TV spot and a poster and still gallery.

For more information about The Shape of Things to Come, visit Blue Underground. To purchase a copy of The Shape of Things to Come, visit TCM Shopping.

by Jeff Stafford
The Shape Of Things To Come - Jack Palance In A Purple Cape, Clunky Robots And More!

The Shape of Things to Come - JACK PALANCE IN A PURPLE CAPE, CLUNKY ROBOTS AND MORE!

You've got to hand it to Blue Underground, a prolific DVD production company, which is committed to remastering and releasing through Image Entertainment a select assortment of cult films and guilty pleasures for discriminating movie buffs. Who else would take such care in mounting the DVD release of The Shape of Things to Come (1979), an extremely tacky sci-fi fantasy that enjoyed a brief run at drive-ins during the late seventies and never had a home video release before now. While some of Blue Underground's recent releases blur the line between exploitation and art-house cinema (Jess Franco's Eugenie: The Story of Her Journey into Perversion (1969), for example), that's not the case here. The Shape of Things to Come is unintentionally hilarious trash and a must-see for any Star Wars (1977) fan who feels compelled to see every bad clone of that cultural rite of passage. Where to begin? Supposedly based on a story by H.G. Wells, The Shape of Things to Come opens with a narrator informing us that "This is Washington. New Washington. A thriving colony on the surface of the moon..." But it looks like a rented sound stage populated by extras with bad hair dressed in vintage K-Mart disco wear. And it just gets better. The story is set in a time after the great "Robot Wars" when mankind is dependent on a drug, Ridic-2-Q, that protects against radiation poisoning, a constant concern. But when the evil Omus (Jack Palance in a purple cape) takes control of Delta Three where Ridic-2-Q is produced, he uses extortion and acts of violence to blackmail mankind into accepting him as the emperor of the universe. Of course, he didn't count on any serious opposition from Dr. Caball (Barry Morse of The Fugitive and Space: 1999 TV fame) and his renegade band of rebels. Shot on location in parts of Quebec and Ontario, The Shape of Things to Come is a rock-bottom, no-frills production that looks like it was filmed in a shopping mall. Imagine a threadbare version of Logan's Run (1976) and you've got the picture. What action there is usually involves scads of extras racing up and down antiseptic corridors or frantically pacing back and forth in control rooms where they shout out technical gibberish and stare intently at small computer monitors. Oh yes, we forgot to mention the kamikaze robots who are controlled by Omus. They're big, clunky affairs that are much closer in design to Robby the Robot in Forbidden Planet (1956) than the Star Wars cyborgs. Occasionally they'll blow up something or engage in very slow hand-to-hand combat with a jump-suited extra. On the side of the good is "Sparks," an annoying, Shakespeare-quoting piece of metal that is a sad imitation of R2D2. But the best special effect in The Shape of Things to Come is Mr. Palance who cuts quite a figure in his purple cape and unflattering space-age attire. Not only does he get most of the best lines but he has a great freak-out scene toward the end where he's surrounded by his faithful robot bodyguards. He even gets to appear as a spinning hologram that changes color in one scene. Hollywood veterans like John Ireland and Carol Lynley aren't as lucky and aren't required to do much more than look extremely distressed....and who wouldn't in those clothes? The DVD edition of The Shape of Things to Come is presented in an anamorphic 1.66.1 transfer and, although slightly grainy with instances of spotting, this transfer probably looks better than the original film did when it was first released in 1979. The Dolby Digital Mono track is acceptable despite some muffled dialogue and a background hiss. But overall, this DVD is a labor of love and connoisseurs of really bad cinema should throw down their purple capes and worship Blue Underground. By the way, the disk extras include the French theatrical trailer, a domestic TV spot and a poster and still gallery. For more information about The Shape of Things to Come, visit Blue Underground. To purchase a copy of The Shape of Things to Come, visit TCM Shopping. by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1979

Released in United States 1979