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GARY LOCKWOOD IN THE COLD-WAR SCIENCE'FICTION 'EARTH II'

Title: EARTH II Year: 1971 Rating: **1/2

EARTH II is not a sequel to EARTH, and despite Gary Lockwood being one of Gene Roddenberry's stock actors, having starred in THE LIEUTENANT from 1963 to 1964, and then as a villain who starts out as Captain Kirk's Academy friend on STAR TREK, this is not a Roddenberry production, who did create a handful of likewise 1970's pilots with similar beginning-of a-new-world themes including another co-starring Mariette Hartley, GENESIS II...

The disco era was to science-fiction what the previous year was to cold war spy flicks... And while taking its time, and full of political dialogue with hardly any action at all, EARTH II is a somewhat decent if filler TV-Movie-of-the-Week, basically a Detonate-the-bomb-before-t-blows slow-thriller, resembling what Lockwood is best known for — 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.... 

Gary Lockwood in EARTH II

Along with the slow panning camera, as men work inside and then float outside their capsules (as did Gary's Frank Poole) and every so often with a sudden jolting quick pan forward as chilling music strikes, this is director Stanley Kubrick and author Arthur C. Clarke's hybrid brainchild watered-down and channeled for television by Tom Gries... 

Without any soap operatic melodrama or battles, the film is a meticulous anti-disaster anti-nukes film, relying more on stopping-what-could-be than dealing with a horrible aftermath — in this case, Red China's Nuclear Warhead Satellite, which wouldn't leave much to clean up...

Promotional ad for EARTH II

EARTH II is the name of a giant space station where people have gone to live... A second Earth, get it? After a while the precise, economical sequences get stale... But for a TV movie trying to be more realistic in showing the genuine work of Astronauts in outer space, dealing with a severe problem and without laserbeams, it's not bad... 

A little preachy, like the station's banal rule about not allowing kids to play with toy guns... Although Science-Fiction, especially having to do with a Near-Future and even going back to the 1950's THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, is usually the platform for parenthetical politicizing... But in this case, anything with Gary Lockwood is, to us, usually interesting.

Opening of EARTH II

 

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