(au) wrote: Featuring Not One but Two Colonels! Three years before this movie was made, Henry Blake left the 4077 and crashed into the Sea of Japan (I think it was the Sea of Japan) in the episode "Abyssinia, Henry." Shortly thereafter, Colonel Sherman T. Potter rolled in. The two men then both apparently hooked up with an alien cat, so I guess happy endings for all. And that's kind of how I think of this movie, when I really stop to think about it. It's got Henry and Colonel Potter. Which I think, incidentally, tells you a lot about the characters in question. No one ever calls Col. Potter "Sherman." He's regular Army, and he's older, and it would just feel weird. He was serving in World War I, before more than a few of the other characters were born. Here, too, Harry Morgan (still alive) is playing the crusty old military man, and McLean Stevenson (dead) is playing the crazy, not-terribly-bright doctor. I can't help wondering if it was intentional. Zunar-J-5/Doric-4-7 (traded off by Amber and Rumple) is crash-landing on Earth, an obscure little planet in the middle of nowhere. He has been participating in a survey mission for his planet, and part of his spaceship has burned out. He meets up with a human named Dr. Franklin "Frank" Wilson (Ken Berry), a scientist whom Zunar-J-5--nicknamed "Jake"--believes can help him return to his home planet. Of course, the military, represented by General Stilton (Morgan), is all over it. Mr. Olympus (William Prince), as represented by his agent, Mr. Stallwood (Roddy McDowall), sees Jake as the solution to his goal, which is probably to take over the world--though he does start dreaming bigger when he sees Jake's power. (Why he thinks he will be able to take over the universe, given that Jake is from a society full of that power, is another issue.) Frank enlists the help of fellow scientists Dr. Elizabeth "Liz" Bartlett (Sandy Duncan) and Dr. Norman Link (Stevenson). Hilarity ensues. Oh, and Jake is a cat. Obviously, given the title. Which in some ways I found kind of annoying, because there were some issues with Jake's spaceship that made it unbelievable for me for a cat-like species. Yeah, I know. Disney. 1978. I'm expecting logic? But the ship is, frankly, huge. Full of unnecessary open spaces. It seems to be that big simply so that Frank has a place to stand when he's in the ship with Jake, and I get that it's not unreasonable from the set designers' perspective, but it's still a little irksome. And, yes, I know that the species was somehow supposed to develop full intelligence through different means than humans, and I get that the screenwriters probably didn't know a lot of evolutionary biology. I also think this bit is kind of new--it's now believed that part of what drove the increase in brainpower was the opposable thumb. And while you may think your cat has one, it does not. A thumb, maybe. Opposable thumbs are a specific kind, and only humans have them. This is, of course, an inherently silly movie. Very few of these are at all thought-provoking, and this is less so than others. Believe me, I could spend a lot more time picking on the science than I have, and the main reason I don't is that, yes, I know it's a live action Disney movie from 1978. If I want believable, I should watch a different movie. I'm sure someone who knew more about the military could pick out a lot of flaws there. (Well, so can I--doesn't anyone have to show ID on that base?) I'm also aware that the reason they didn't just flip Roddy McDowall's film in the darkroom is that it's funnier if everyone has to crane to see it upside down. I'm not totally oblivious to that sort of thing. And the thing is, for all that, I find this movie charming. No, we have no more reason to believe that aliens would look like cats than we do that they would look like humans--less, in fact, to believe that an intelligent, space-traveling alien could be played by an actual cat. Still, we do assume that aliens would look like humans--and this one even still manages to give the alien a love interest! Honestly, I really like this movie. It's certainly not good, and it's not the first movie of this particular genre that I'd suggest to someone who, as so many of you do, has declared an intense hatred of Disney. It's certainly not going to overturn anyone's views on that subject, and I'm not trying to suggest it should. And, yes, there are parts of the movie which feel like padding. (Hey, it's longer than a lot of other kids' movies!) However, Jake is actually an engaging character, for all he's got some of the usual sci-fi alien flaws--he's arrogant about his species's accomplishments. He can speak flawless English, but he doesn't know that his word for "gold" isn't our word for "gold." And so forth. Still, there are worse ways to spend a Saturday evening, and I kind of feel as though I've done most of them. So meh. If you've got kids, too, they'll probably like it. It's a heck of a lot smarter than most of what Disney's putting out these days, anyway.