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H.G. Wells' The Shape of Things to Come (1979)

Jack Palance , Carol Lynley , George McCowan  |  PG |  DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jack Palance, Carol Lynley, Barry Morse, John Ireland, Nicholas Campbell
  • Directors: George McCowan
  • Writers: H.G. Wells, Joseph Glazner, Martin Lager, Mike Cheda
  • Producers: Harry Alan Towers, John Danylkiw, William Davidson
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 11, 2003
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007L4MA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #511,471 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "H.G. Wells' The Shape of Things to Come" on IMDb

Special Features

  • French Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot
  • Poster & Still Gallery

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The time is the tomorrow after tomorrow, and mankind has now populated the Moon where vast domed cities have been built on what was once a wasteland. But when power-mad Emperor Omus (Oscar winner Jack Palance of "City Slickers") attacks the lunar colony of New Washington, a team of scientists led by Dr. John Caball ("Space: 1999's" Barry Morse) launches a dangerous mission to destroy the dictator and his robot army. Can three daring space jockeys and one renegade robot save their universe from the dark forces of intergalactic evil? Carol Lynley (Vigilante), Nicholas Campbell (The Dead Zone) and John Ireland (Spartacus) co-star in this epic science-fiction adventure directed by George McCowan (Frogs) and inspired by H.G. Wells' visionary novel that takes you beyond the frontiers of space, where man's future is limited only by his imagination!

H.G. Wells' The Shape of Things to Come is so deliriously bad that it begs inclusion in any collection of 1970s kitsch. It's a disco-flavored variant of TV's Buck Rogers in the 25th Century--just another no-budget rider on the coattails of Star Wars. Only a fool would perceive even a slight connection to Wells's classic novel, to which this misleadingly titled cheese-fest is ostensibly a sequel. Their careers in sorry decline, Jack Palance, Carol Lynley, Barry Morse (late of TV's Space: 1999), and John Ireland look embarrassed as they wrestle with a wearisome post-apocalyptic plot that pitches Morse, a pair of Ken-and-Barbie heroes, and their quirky robot (of course) against megalomaniac emperor Palance, who controls a drug needed for survival of moon-based colonists. Prior to directing this laughable mess, George McCowan had helmed episodes of several prominent TV action series of the '70s, but here he devolves into moribund hackwork. This is a ham sandwich sans bread, from a time when stale sci-fi was spreading like mold on George Lucas's leftovers. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly, hilariously bad! October 5, 2004
Up until I saw "The Shape of Things to Come," I thought Joe D'Amato's hysterically atrocious "Troll 2" was the best "so bad it's good" film out there. Well, I still believe that, but this movie comes in a close second. I suspect if you watched both films as a double feature, your head would explode under the endless assault of numerous scenes loaded with bad dialogue, ridiculous overemoting, and impenetrable plot points murkier than a cup of black coffee. This is a film so mind meltingly horrible, so offensive to every cinematic sensibility, that only lovers of bad movies who have fortified themselves beforehand should venture into this challenging territory. And even then I am not sure you will emerge unscathed on the other side. "Hey," I'm hearing people say, "How could a film starring Jack Palance and Barry Morse--set in a future where radiation from a series of robot wars wiped out the planet earth--be so bad?" That's a good question, grasshoppers. A very good question that I asked myself before setting out on this mission. The answer, the particulars of which lie ahead, sums up as follows: It's bad because the filmmakers took their effort seriously. It's also great because the filmmakers took their effort seriously. Read on.

I have no doubt, from the detailed plot set up and seriousness of every actor involved, that "The Shape of Things to Come" was meant to be a film that would rival Lucas's "Star Wars" in the science fiction genre. Heck, the film supposedly is based on a story by H.G. Wells, a fact the title boasts about. Thank goodness Wells never saw this nightmare; he might have stopped writing. As far as I could tell, the plot goes something like this: a series of robot wars went nuclear, thus rendering the planet inhabitable.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get Down With Jack Palance December 24, 2004
The onscreen written intro tells us that this film is taking place in the "Tomorrow after Tomorrow". So apparently in the next two days we'll have experienced the "Robot Wars" and have had to relocate to the moon coz Earth is too damn polluted and radioactive. The people of the moon colony come under attack by Jack Palance and his army of trashcan robots who do his dirty work. Palance hangs out on Delta 3, but he wants control of the moon as well. The wimpy moon people don't wanna take action, but 3 badazz renegades and a reprogrammed Palancebot aren't about to just roll over. So, before you can slap on your Skin Bracer, they're off to turn the tables on Jack Palance. First a quick pitstop on Earth for repairs. Meanwhile on Delta 3, about 7 people have formed a resistance against Palance's dictatorship. When they're not being fried to a frizzly frazzle by the Palancebots, they hide from these innovative, high-tech death machines by merely crouching in the grass about 2 feet away as the killers merrily march by. If these robots are the biggest threat the moon colony is facing, what's the panic all about? Palancebots are also easily dispatched by a good rap on the head with what ever is handy. Our heroes finally make it to Delta 3 after a brief detour through some wacky black hole-type thing. I don't know what the hell that scene is about, but guessing from the facial expressions it was either very painful or felt very good. Once on Delta 3, they team up with the shrinking resistance and have to face Jack Palance's Deadly Disco Dance-O-Rama! Hope they didn't forget their lucky deck coz Palance isn't gonna go down easy. Check out the shot where the crumbling ceiling bonks Jack Palance on the head! Was that intentional? Do our heroes save the day? Do you really give a @$#&? Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Time Is The Tomorrow After Tomorrow." June 1, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have two words to describe "H. G. Wells' The Shape of Things to Come": oh, brother. I felt certain when I discovered that it was made in Canada in the wake of "Star Wars" with Jack Palance as an evil overlord, that the movie had extreme cheese potential, and not only was I right I had no idea how right I was. Of all the films I would have loved to see MST3K deal with this has to top the list.

The film starts with a ponderous crawler explaining the background of the film. In a nutshell we learn that the Earth has been destroyed in the great robot wars, that man has colonized the moon, and that (for some never explained reason) the human race is wholly dependent on the supply of a miracle drug, RADIC-Q-2, which is only made on distant planet Delta Three. What could possibly go wrong? After seeing the extremely cheesy credits (they are reminiscent of the original "Battlestar Galactica" without the realism), which reveal that the film stars Jack Palance, Carol Lynley, and Barry Morse, you get no extra points for figuring out that the correct answer is, of course, Jack Palance.

The film opens in "New Washington" the home of the new lunar government, headed by "The Master Computer" whose name is Lomax. The control center reminded me of the spaceship set from "Space Mutiny" (although, again, much less realistic), but I had no idea that was the tip of the iceberg of ludicrousness. There is political intrigue afoot (in a situation that actually does mirror reality) when boneheaded Senator Smedley (John Ireland) tells brilliant scientist Dr. John Caball (Barry Morse) that the defense budget is being cut as it's unnecessary, effectively canceling the nearly complete "Starstreak" project. Within minutes of the discussion, a robot plows a spaceship into New Washington.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The movie is ok since it doesn't have all the ...
The movie is ok since it doesn't have all the modern stunts and colors. The actors did keep interest in the plot.
Published 3 months ago by Jackie Stinson
5.0 out of 5 stars "My Responsibility Is To The Moon Council!"...
What if, just before filming STAR WARS, George Lucas had suffered a mind-obliterating stroke? Well, this film may answer that question! Read more
Published 14 months ago by Bindy Sue Frřnkünschtein
3.0 out of 5 stars So bad you have to like it! Or not! Mostly not...
Let's see...this 1979 Sci-Fi,um...thriller, comedy, tragedy, Star Wars wanna-be...headlines Jack Palanace as a brilliant scientist/engineer who wants to rule, well, everthing and... Read more
Published on March 19, 2011 by ARH
2.0 out of 5 stars Finally settles my curiosity....
The only reason I wanted to purchase this film on DVD was because I had a number of articles from the 1970's written by Brick Price, who created all the models for the film. Read more
Published on November 15, 2010 by Pierre Fontaine
2.0 out of 5 stars Space 1999 meets Dr. Who
And I mean the old cheesy Dr. Who, not the wonderful new verson on BBC.

At least I got to see Barry Morse and Jack Palance, and that's why I gave this mess two stars... Read more
Published on January 19, 2010 by lighten_up_already2
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst movie I've seen this month, and that's saying something.
The Shape of Things to Come (George McCowan, 1979)

I'm not terribly sure how many variations on the word "bad" I can use in one review, but this review will, most... Read more
Published on June 25, 2007 by Robert Beveridge
3.0 out of 5 stars WACKY post 70's Canadian Sci Fi film!
I remembered reading about this film in an old Starlog and of course, the film never appeared in my area! I was assured it was "ghastly" and "hilariously bad". Read more
Published on March 16, 2005 by Bob Eggleton
3.0 out of 5 stars Trapezoidal
Jack Palance plays an insane villain who takes over a mining colony on a planet with a population of about 12 (who spend most of the film hiding from Jack in a cave). Read more
Published on June 19, 2004 by Blahblahblah
1.0 out of 5 stars Makes Buck Rogers Look LIke Citizen Kane
Beyond your wildest imagination.... beyond belief is more like it. In the wake of STAR WARS came the cheap knock-offs like STAR CRASH and THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME, which placed... Read more
Published on January 4, 2004 by David A. Brown
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