When a comet passes the earth very closely, it pulls a small part of North Africa with it. Carried along is a bunch of people. Among them Angelika, who just escaped from a ruthless weapon dealer's ship, and her two brothers, who are searching her. Then there's a group of natives, who plan a rebellion against the French colonists. All these conflicts become secondary when the people finally realize that they are doomed to live together on an alien planet. However this time of peace and world-happiness won't last for long...
Directed by: Karel Zeman
. Starring: Emil Horváth
, Magda Vásáryová
, Frantisek Filipovský
, Cestmír Randa
, Josef Hlinomaz
, Hanus Bor
, Zdenek Braunschläger
, Zdena Bronislavská
, Ivan Chrz
, Jana Drbohlavová
, Karel Effa
, Karel Engel
, Ladislav Gzela
. Music by: Lubos Fiser
Having seen Zeman's excellent rendition of Baron Munchausen, I decided to watch ON THE COMET, expecting a similar mind-bending trip. Unfortunately, there's less animation in this film, and far more silliness, and confusion.
ON THE COMET is set in North Africa (presumably Morocco) in the year 1888. The French military have occupied the region, and are on the verge of war with the local Arabs. There's a Spanish diplomat who serves as a moderator between the two nations.
The story's main character is a French Lieutenant who falls off a cliff while surveying land. He lands safely in water, and is rescued by the girl of his dreams.
Can you follow any of this? This is just the beginning...
There's a giant moon on the horizon which looms larger and larger. Fortunately, the French Lieutenant is knowledgeable about such strange astronomical matters, and explains to us that the strange sphere is NOT a planet, not a moon - but a comet - heading directly towards Earth! Meanwhile, the Spanish diplomat attempts to blow up the French militia. And it is this MASSIVE explosion which catapults an entire city, along with all of its inhabitants up into the atmosphere - and they land, soundly onto the comet.
Now, never mind the fact that comets are balls of rock and ice, rarely more than 50 kilometers in diameter (according to wikipedia.) Oddly enough, this comet - the surface - looks IDENTICAL to Earth! Gravity remains the same. There's no extremely curved horizon. The only way the audience knows the characters are on a comet, is because they continually say that they are on a comet!
The rest of the film makes fun of the absurdity of war. It shows high officials acting like complete imbeciles. A French Captain pounds a desk whenever he complains. With each strike of the desk, powder from a crumbling ceiling lands on his head. Does he ever decide to move out of the way? No. He continues his habit, propping an umbrella above his head.
None of these antics are terribly funny. They are merely silly.
At one point, animated dinosaurs appear, seemingly out of nowhere. The French Captain orders his cavalry to attack. They are frightened of the reptiles, but due to the tame tone of this film, you know they are not in any real danger. Shooting guns at the dinosaurs prove ineffective. "I told you our calvary was in no shape to fight" snorts the Captain, in disgust.
Why are dinosaurs roaming a comet? I have no idea. But, common household utensils turn out to be the weapon they fear most.
This movie consists of silly people running away from enemies who are absurd and not scary. And then running some more after an inconvenient kidnapping. None of this action appears to take place on a comet - even though everyone claims that's where they are.
The bulk of this film is shot in monochrome - that is, black & white, with a very strong yellow tint (or should we say black & yellow?) The effects shots have various colors in them.
ON THE COMET is pure absurdity. Fun, I guess, if you can make any sense out of it.
Review by swagner2001 from the Internet Movie Database.