“Prince of Space” was a nice change of pace for these IMDb Bottom 100 movies. Instead of Paris Hilton vehicles and “Movie Movies”, “Prince of Space” is something far more familiar and pleasant to me: a poorly translated, lazily dubbed, low budget Japanese sci-fi movie. I grew up on VHS tapes of Toho Showa Godzilla movies, so “Prince of Space” felt like pure nostalgia.
All of that said, “Prince of Space” doesn’t quite have the same charm of those old Toho features. There is plenty of cheesy dialogue and an outstanding over-the-top villain, but I’ve never been able to suffer child protagonists very well, and there is a hefty dose of those in “Prince of Space”. Also, the plot certainly takes it time getting where it is going, and bad pacing is capable of killing far better movies than this. There is also a fair amount of repetitiveness in this feature, particularly in the encounters between the villain (The Phantom) and the mysterious hero (the titular Prince of Space). Prince of Space makes it clear early on that the weapons used by The Phantom and his minions can not harm him (and repeats this fact numerous times), yet The Phantom attempts to shoot him at every turn. At first it is pretty entertaining, but it gets old very fast.
“Prince of Space” has a fair share of issues, but I’m not so sure it necessarily belongs in the Bottom 100. Not unlike “The Starfighters”, I feel like this movie is a single selection of a massive, forgotten collection of near-identical movies. In fact, there is another Bottom 100 movie that is nearly a carbon copy of “Prince of Space”: “Invasion of the Neptune Men”. Both of these movies I feel are only exceptional due to their inclusion in Mystery Science Theater 3000, and that otherwise they would just be two of the legion of poorly dubbed, goofy Japanese sci-fi movies out there. They are certainly low enough in quality for consideration here, and there is an argument that they are representatives of their genre, but it is hard to shake the fact that these two movies aren’t particularly unique. I even had to re-watch both “Prince of Space” and “Invasion of the Neptune Men” separately to keep from confusing the two: the movies are that similar to each other. The MST3k guys even re-use gags from one riff in the other.
So, do I recommend “Prince of Space” to bad movie aficionados? I’m not so sure. I think that some old Showa Godzilla movies like “Godzilla vs Megalon”, “Godzilla vs Gigan”, and “Invasion of Astro Monster” are far more entertainingly bad than this, but “Prince of Space” isn’t devoid of fun. It might be a delightful/confusing double feature with “Invasion of the Neptune Men”, especially if you dig up the MST3k riffs for both of them.