“Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet” or “Planet of Storms” or “Planeta Bur”.
In the year 2020 three manned space ships are sent from a colony on the moon to the planet Venus. The three ships Sirius, Vega and Capella are part of an international effort. Professor Hartman (Basil Rathbone) is monitoring the mission from moon base Lunar 7. On their way to Venus a meteor hits the The Capella and destroys it. The two remaining ships continue to the planet even though the mission requires all three ships. A replacement ship, the Arcturus is to be sent from Earth; however, it will take about two months for it to get to Venus.
The Astronauts aboard the Sirius and the Vega believe that since they are already at Venus some exploration of the planet is better than waiting. They come up with a plan. Two of them from the Vega will go down to the planet in the glider leaving Marsha (Faith Domergue), one of the Astronauts in orbit. Contact with the two crew members is lost once they land. The Sirius lands nearby and its three man crew head out in a hovercar on a rescue mission to find the two lost Astronauts. On the way they can hear an eerie noise. As if it’s a woman singing. The planet also has man eating plants, human size T-Rexes, and giant dinosaurs.
In the meantime the two Astronauts Kern and Sherman that landed in the glider are walking on foot with their robot John. They fall ill and it’s up to John the robot to come to their rescue. Once they are well enough they start out again only to be confronted with lava from a near by volcano. It’s now a race for the hovercar to reach the stranded Astronauts in time.
In 1962 Roger Corman went to Russia. The official reason for the trip was to attend the Pula Film Festival in Zagreb. While behind the Iron Curtain Roger also visited Kiev and Moscow. While in Moscow Roger secured the rights to four Russian made science fiction films. One of these films was “Planeta Bur” or “Planet of Storms”. Roger being Roger took “Planet of Storms” and made it his own. The result was two movies created from the one. “Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet” was one of those movies. Fortunately for us Roger did not muck it up too much. Roger cut scenes with two of the Russian actors and replaced them with similar scenes with Basil Rathbone and Faith Domergue. He then had the remaining scenes dubbed in English with; I’m sure, changes that Roger felt were appropriate for American audiences. This resulted in most of the movie staying intact which is a good thing.
At that time the special effects of the Russian filmmakers were better than the American filmmakers in many ways. Case in point “Planeta Bur” now “Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet”. In this movie you will find some really cool things. The robot is cool. The spacesuits are cool. The hovercar is cool. The dinosaurs are lame. But at least they have them. The cinematography is wonderful as well as the matte paintings. The astronauts endure creatures, seas, lava and storms.
This is by no means a great movie, but there are some interesting visuals especially for the time. Fans of Soviet science fiction should enjoy it. Also anyone who just likes early science fiction gizmos, gadgets and atmosphere. For another view that is truer to the filmmakers intent find the original “Planet of Storms” in the Russian with English subtitles.