The Phantom Empire Reviews
Overall , there is just to much storylines for this serial but the one thing i love about this serial is the Sic-Fi element to it , athough it rips off the look off friz lang's METROPILIS (1927) this serial has robots, T.V's, death ray's , and misslies. for a serial made in 1935 its sci-fi element was at least a good 15 years ahead of its time.
Recommendation: DVD collectors get this serial on DVD through VCI entertainemt or BIG SKY VIDEO it makes a nice addtion to any collection. 6/10
But, you [i]*love*[/i] it anyway, either in spite of its uncountable flaws, or because of them. This serial has had a hold on me for almost fifty years since I first saw it in the early '50's. Every recollection of it brings a smile. It is a serial with everything, and combines elements of every movie genre one can imagine: western, musical, comedy, science fiction, crime, and dashes of horror and child adventure.
It has cowboys, evil scientists, lost cities, robots, radio and television, death rays, machines that resurrect the dead, and radium. Radium everywhere. This wonder element is the fuel that powers every futuristic machine in the hidden, underground city, and the desire of the evil scientists who scheme to get rich from it, and will kill to further their schemes. As adults, of course, we are obliged to ignore the reality that radium couldn't possibly do what it does here, but that's a trivial detail, irrelevant to the fun at hand.
The robots are a hoot: garbage cans that walk, but they are the only part of this movie I never came to accept. You watch each chapter for a little while, and it begins to take you in. It isn't long before you're thinking, [i]"This is terrible, but with just a little work here and there .. it could be pretty good."[/i] Then, you're hooked, and it's time to apply for membership in the Thunder Riders.
There is no way this serial could be remade today. For one thing, the notion of Radio Ranch, a radio variety program broadcast from a remote location, doesn't fly in a world of HDTV and personal computers. But, so help me, I can't help wishing someone would try![/font]