In the 22nd Century, mankind has well overpopulated the Earth, and the outer planets are being considered for terraforming and colonization. The United Earth Federation approves of the Solar System Development Organization's "Jupiter Solarization Project," under the command of a brilliant young scientist, Dr. Eiji Honda. The project will "solarize" the planet Jupiter -- transforming it into a miniature "sun," thus providing life-giving warmth to the outer planets, making them habitable for human life. In space, nears the Pluto area, the "Space Arrow", a spaceship is literally pulled apart, causing the ship to disintegrate. On Moonbase, investigation on the "Space Arrow" disaster comes to the horrible conclusion that a rogue black hole is entering our solar system on a direct course for the sun...
Directed by: Koji Hashimoto
, Sakyo Komatsu
. Starring: Tomokazu Miura
, Dangely Diane
, Miyuki Ono
, Rachel Huggett
, Paul Tagawa
, Kim Bass
, Marc Panthona
, Irwin Ron
, William H. Tapier
, Akihiko Hirata
, Masumi Okada
, Hisaya Morishige
, Andrew Hughes
. Music by: Kentaro Haneda
While "Bye, Bye Jupiter" is a bad film, you can't completely dismiss it because there are a few aspects of it that are well done...just a few. In addition, it is a nice bit of nostalgia for old fogies like me who lived through the 1980s--the film is VERY '80s in its look and style.
The movie begins in the future and the Earth now has 18 billion people! And, many million more live throughout the solar system. Dr. Eiji Honda (Tomokazu Miura) is in charge of a ridiculous project--though the film treats EVERYTHING deadly serious. They wish to turn Jupiter into a 'mini-sun' so they can then inhabit the nearby moons and planets. However, a small cult of futuristic hippies are doing everything they can to derail this project. Their leader is an obese hippie who sings songs about how wonderful the Earth and nature are (no, it is NOT played by Al Gore).
Later, after a deep-space probe is destroyed, the evidence suggests that the solar system and a black hole are on a collision course--and the Earth will be destroyed in only two years! So, Dr. Honda comes up with a crazy plan to blow Jupiter out of orbit and explode it in order to divert the black hole. And how will he accomplish this seemingly impossible task AND save the Earth? Well, he'll do it the way any Japanese picture would handle it--give the project to an 11 year-old! So, on a planet of 18,000,000,000 people, there is no one more qualified and our fate rests on his child-size brain! God help us!
Let's talk for a moment about precocious children in Japanese films. This dumb cliché is pretty common in their films. Children often have psychic love-bonds with giant monsters (such as the little brats in "Godzilla Versus the Smog Monster" and "Gamera"). Then, there are the kid science whiz heroes like Johnny Sokko with his flying robot (which, incidentally was stolen by "The Iron Giant"). There are also some sci-fi examples--such as in one of "Invasion of the Neptune Men". There are probably MANY more examples (heck, I am no expert on Japanese cinema)...and yet it boggles the minds of non-Japanese audiences how such a ridiculous cliché repeats itself.
Okay, now back to the story. Just before the planet gets blown (maybe I should have worded this better), a group of four terrorists from the cult attack the station and nearly derail this project. Now you'd think that with such an important Earth-saving project that's been in the works for two years AND the cult had done many things already to sabotage the project that they'd have a few security folks on hand! But, it's up to Honda, a red-shirt and the precocious kid (who's now in a wheelchair--much like Davros) to stop the baddies! Oh, and there's some weird and completely undeveloped plot about the 'ghost of Jupiter'--a city-size thing that is a relic from some other planet. I'd say more about this, but frankly the film never really knew what to do with this.
So let's talk about the film itself. First, the film has a very international cast...actually, it's mostly white folks and Japanese folks. And as for the actors who look like Americans, none of them seemed to be very competent at acting--and some were downright bad. It was harder to tell with the Japanese ones, as they were all dubbed. And speaking of this, the DVD was weird. It had captions but they often were not much like what the actors were saying--sometimes they said the exact opposite of each other! Additionally, many times the dub andor the subtitles got units of measurement wrong--and it was silly. Often meters were used instead of kilometers and minutes and hours were often mixed up...it was pretty weird.
Considering it was a sci-fi film, it's sad that possibly the worst part of the film (aside from the often senseless writing) were the special effects. The crazy space sex scene was just weird and done very amateurishly. The rest of it ranged from pretty good to just plain awful--and more often than not, the effects were awful. For example, "Space: 1999" (made almost a decade earlier) looked better.
But lets talk some more about the bad writing. It wasn't just that the plot often made sense, but the characters just said and did some very dumb things--and often seemed like caricatures than real people. They often did things that made you say to yourself 'why did they do THAT?!'. Then there's the weird knockoff of "Jaws"--yes in a sci-fi film they did a Jaws-like sequence! So overall, aside from occasional moments of decent film work, the overall film is just a dopey mess that only fans of '80s nostalgia could love. It's a very silly film--especially the last 20 minutes or so.
Review by planktonrules from the Internet Movie Database.