Four men crash on Venus, although they are traveling in a craft named Neptune; perhaps a wrong turn at Albuquerque. But then, the Atlantis didn’t go to Atlantis; but Challenger on the other hand . . . well, never mind. Still too soon.
Venus, according to Bradbury science, is a tropical planet of non-stop rain. Like Mars, the air is breathable. The crew’s GPS tells them it is 8 miles to the nearest Sun-Dome. These are structures built so that travelers have a permanent warm, dry place to stay while visiting Venus, kind of a One-Seasons Hotel.
They make their way to the Sun Dome at about 1 mile an hour, not exactly a breakneck pace considering the path seems pretty clear for them. Hour by hour, mile by mile, the GPS calls out their progress. Somehow, they end up right back at their ship like the time my goddamn GPS took me in circles for an hour trying to get in the DFW airport. But I digress.
Going in a circle and ending up back at the ship makes sense if you are the dolts from The Blair Witch Project using a map (did they have a map? Or did they have a compass, but not the brains to use it? Or were they just staring at Heather’s ass instead of watching the terrain?). But explorers using a GPS type of device? That is a Prometheus-level of stupidity.
The men go a little crazy being lost in the non-stop rain. Boltz destroys the GPS and drowns himself by swallowing the rain, Cooper opens himself up to be killed by lightning. Captain Trask and Simmons start out again for the Sun Dome.
Only an hour from the Sun Dome, Simmons gives up and they have a long argument. What’s strange is that in the shots of Trask, he is in pouring rain, but in shots of Simmons, it doesn’t seem to be raining at all. This is the ultimate continuity error as it should be CONTINUOUSLY raining — that is the defining characteristic of Venus in the story, the constant maddening rain.
Only Trask is left to make it to the Sun Dome. He makes it to the Dome and opens the doors to the warm, dry interior. And then something happens. No, wait, nothing happens. This might be the most pointless story in the series, and that’s saying something.
This episode is — ahem — awash with poor decisions.
Instead, in the original short story, the group begins falling apart when the first Sun Dome they reach has been destroyed by Venusians. My guess is that this pivotal point was ruined by budgetary constraints — less effective, but much cheaper to just show the ship twice.
More could have been done with some men just breaking and staring up at the sky until they drown from the rain — an interesting idea that gets about 10 seconds here.
Similarly short shrift is given to the carnivorous plants. If you die, they lasso your body and I presume drag you off somewhere to be eaten. A few times when the men aren’t moving fast enough, the ivy wrapped it self around their ankles and they had to break free. Fortunately this wasn’t directed by Sam Raimi.
And what of that Sun Dome? It is pretty clear that Trask makes it and enjoys a nice warm day at the spa. A little ambiguity of his fate, or remorse for his men would have been welcome.
- Does anything ever get long shrift?