Three spacecraft set out for Venus, two arrive, one commanded by Caotain Masha (Ignatova) which remains in orbit and one that lands on the planet. The rest is a fast-paced adventure story, told with considerable humor, involving volcanic eruptions, giant animals and hostile plants. The sets are stunningly designed with outlandish color schemes rendering the uncanny alienness of the Venusian landscapes as well as the spectacular aspects of space travel itself. The appearance of a Venusian is wisely delayed to the very end, and even then only suggested as being "just like us". As in all popular space operas, there is a robot (called John) who occasionally goes out of control. Here he is given to talking gibberish and playing forties dance music, a more appropriate musical accompaniment to space fantasies than the monumentally majestic waltz of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The result is the best straightfoward, unpretentious sf space travel movie made in the USSR.
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