Stuck in Space
American astronauts; Jim Pruett (Richard Crenna), Clayton Stone (James Franciscus) and Buzz Lloyd (Gene Hackman) have come to the end of a 3 month mission in space and are ready to return home. Unfortunately their rockets won't fire and they are stuck in space with little hope of getting home with some back on the ground thinking the only option is to abandon them. But after NASA decides to launch a rescue mission it is hit by problems, most notably a hurricane which prevents launch of an experimental rocket.
Long before Tom Hanks took us on a space adventure in "Apollo 13" Hollywood had already gone where that movie went before, or something along those lines. What I am on about is the 1969 movie "Marooned" which saw a trio of astronauts stranded in a spacecraft with oxygen running low and command back on Earth trying to launch a rescue mission as the clock is ticking down. A clock ticking down might have actually helped "Marooned" as sadly this ends up a monotonous movie which whilst coming good during the final 30 minutes still leaves you with the first 105 minutes to endure.
Now some might say I am being hard as "Marooned" is a movie from back in the late 60s but I reckon you could have condensed the first 105 minutes in to about 60 and in doing so not only giving it a more exciting pace but removing some of the uninteresting dialogue which there is a lot of. And it is a shame because between the weather system threatening the rescue mission to tough conversations which have to be had when the oxygen drops to a level where 3 people can't survive but 2 might it has some nice elements which mainly come in to play during the final 30 minutes.
Whilst the drawn out nature of "Marooned" is its biggest problem as it makes it horrendously tedious for long periods of time what is surprising is the anonymous performances. Whilst Gregory Peck certainly delivers a strong performance the rest of the cast which includes Richard Crenna, James Franciscus and Gene Hackman end up quite forgettable. I put much of that down to the movie giving most of the characters little to do with only really Peck's character moving around between sets.
What this all boils down to is that if you watch "Marooned" and can increase the speed then it makes the first 105 minutes a lot less tedious as this is painfully drawn out. But the final 30 minutes end up delivering all the movie's best bits and it is during this final 30 minutes it actually manages to grab your attention.