“Battle Beyond the Stars” Review

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Directed by Jimmy T. Murakami, Roger Corman. With George Peppard, Robert Vaughn, Richard Thomas, John Saxon. A young farmer sets out to recruit mercenaries to defend his peaceful planet, which is under threat of invasion by the evil tyrant Sador and his armada of aggressors.

This is clearly an attempt at attracting the Star Wars fans, it was released in 1980 just long enough after both Star Wars (1977) and Star Trek (1979) that the story elements, special effects, and most jarring to me, the music, was either heavily influenced or even lifted whole scale from other properties. James Horner did the music for BBtS, and while I love his later work, this isn’t his best material, and as I just mentioned, it’s strongly influenced by other properties. The miniature work is both fantastic but obvious and wanting, some of the main ship’s designs are weirdly sexual, you can see in the above movie poster that the hero ship is a combination of a set of Fallopian tubes and a pair of boobs, the rest of the ship reminds me of a snail crossed with a hammerhead shark. It’s a weird enough combination that it should work in some way, but they never did find an angle that looked good to shoot it from.

The main character is played by a young Richard Thomas (John-Boy from “The Waltons”, or the lead from “All Quiet…l” which I recently watched) and woof his acting is bad here, but I’m not sure who to blame that on really, this whole thing is a glorious mess, with the one exception of Robert Vaughn, who plays a space merc that’s legitimately scary, sad, and ultimately the only character that I ended up having any connection to.

I heard sound effect from Battlestar Galactica, doors that sounded like Darth Vader’s breathing, a sassy/saucy AI on the ship, a female Conan Space Warrior, a truck driver with a bar on his belt buckle, clones, clones, and more clones. This was a fun movie just to watch to see what I would recognize from other properties or to see how weird it would get and I would suggest it if you have a deep history with science fiction that came out prior to 1980, you’ll likely get a kick out of what you catch that I didn’t.

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