Sayanora, Jupiter is another one of those films whose reach exceeds its grasp. It could have been a really good film, because its overall production values are quite high, but for a space adventure film, the action drags so badly that by the time the tragic climax arrived, I found myself screaming at the TV "ALRIGHT, DIE ALREADY!!!"
This film is not without its merits. It sports a multinational cast, and the special effects are fairly good, which they should be, since this film was made by Toho Studios in 1984. Godzilla even gets a small cameo appearance as the subject of a movie being viewed by one of the characters. Which kind of gives a hint as to what manner of bizarre juxtapositions occur in this movie.
When I learned via the liner notes that the film was adapted from a novel, things began to make a little more sense--there was obviously a lot of expository material that didn't make it into the screenplay, or too much stuff from the book that really should have been cut out. Kinda like what happened to Frank Herbert's "Dune." The entire sub-plot with the alien culture leaving Nazca lines on Mars could have been eliminated, as it went no where. And then there was that anime-style wire-fu sex sequence which lasted...ooh, about a half an hour or so...that really wasn't necessary. I'm not even sure how you can attach wires to naked people, and I don't think I really want to know.
Okay, so here we go...fasten your seatbelts...
In the 22nd century, the Earth has a serious overpopulation problem (although you'd never think this from the idyllic nature shots that get utilized during the song breaks.) Mankind has colonized the Moon and some asteroids and is in the process of terraforming Mars by melting its polar ice caps, but even this is not enough--they want to push colonies further out into the solar system.
However, the space stations don't seem to be adequate for the job, since they need to create their own source of energy. Nuclear fission being ine-fission-t, some fifteen year old computer genius named Carlos Angeles (go ahead, groan, I sure did), who lives in a cardboard box on board the Jovian command space station Minerva, devised a means of sparking Jupiter to begin burning itself up to provide light and heat to the outer planets.
Several eco-terrorists from the Earth-based Church of Jupiter sneak aboard the Minerva space station and, in the guise of reporters, attempt to sabotauge the machinery destined to turn Jupiter into a second sun. They start out by asking innocent questions about why anybody would want to hurt such a beautiful planet, then conclude by grabbing tools, ripping off their shirts to expose anti-scientific slogans, and start whanging away at the machinery.
The project's leader, Eiji Honda, gives the captured terrorists (or protesters, if you prefer) a stern dressing-down and orders them deported back to Earth on the next ship (which takes 85 days to make the transit, so you wonder what these guys were doing on the ride out.) Then he notices the Mysterious Woman In The Black Picture Hat, and grabs her by the hand for "further interrogation."
This involves that extended surrealistic sex scene I referred to earlier, as it turns out that Maria is Eiji's former lover. We are told in a flashback that they were both born on Mars, but Maria's parents were killed in a starship accident, so she grew to hate everything about space, and went back to Earth. She explains to him that the Church of Jupiter wants to preserve Nature and stop Mankind from exploiting the other planets, and begs Eiji to stop the project and come back to Earth with her. He refuses, and Maria gets deported with her cohorts.
Back on Earth, we learn that the Church of Jupiter is a hippie-style commune on some Hawaiian-type island, run by a Jerry Garcia look-alike singer named Peter, who has adopted a dolphin his acolytes have named Jupiter. The dress code is beach wear, if anything. There's no Paul in the story (that I can remember,) but there is a Moody Woman In An Orange Sarong named Anita who turns out later to be a far more radical member of the cult, who wants to instigate more violent sorts of protests.
Okay, that takes care of that plot line. Let's move to the next one, keeping in mind they're all sort of braiding together throughout the film.