Welcome back to 1 out of 5 – Would Recommend, where I’ve had the acapella version of the Imperial March stuck in my head for over a week. In celebration of the new Star Wars movie currently devouring the world’s money, we’re taking a look at Roger Corman’s attempt to cash in on the original craze – 1980’s Battle Beyond The Stars.
What’s The Plot?
When the evil Sador (A Nightmare on Elm Street’s John Saxon) threatens to destroy the peaceful hippy planet of Akir, young Akiran Shad must venture forth into the universe to find mercenaries that can protect their world. He finds approximately seven, who stand with the small population of Akir to fend off Sador’s overwhelming force.
If all of that sounds kinda familiar, know that the film’s Spanish title is Los 7 Magníficos del Espacio.
Who Made This Beautiful Garbage?
This movie was, as mentioned before, produced by the one and only Roger Corman (whose films have graced these pages before). More impressive though is the film’s crew – assistant production manager Gale Anne Hurd (who would go on to produce the Terminator franchise, Aliens, The Abyss, Tremors, and The Walking Dead TV series among many others), composer James Horner (who would compose music for Star Trek II & III, Amazing Spider-Man, The Rocketeer, Aliens, Titanic, and Avatar among many others), and art director James Cameron (who would marry Hurd and direct some of the most successful movies in the history of film – working often with Hurd and Horner).
Five Reasons to See It
- Sibyl Danning (destined for another appearance in this column thanks to starring in The Howling II: Stirba, Werewolf Bitch) plays Saint-Exmin, the incredibly busty Valkyrie. Her costume was apparently a constant threat to the film’s PG rating.
- Shad’s spaceship, Nell, is female. You can tell because it’s traditional, she has a female voice and name, and looks like flying ovaries with boobs on the front.
- The planet Akir and the Akira who live on it are named for Akira Kuroswa, director of The Seven Samurai and therefore originator of the “seven ragtag outsiders save a small population from an evil army” plotline. It’s a nice, if not particularly subtle, tip of the hat.
- The villains’ fighters are operated by typing. That strikes me as…inefficient.
- “I could do wonders for that boy! I would recharge his capacitators, stimulate his solonoid; tingle, dingle, dangle, prangle his transistors! You know: Sex!” – Saint-Exmin.
Eh, it’s OK. Neither the writing nor the acting are strong enough to make it particularly interesting (unlike Death Race 2000) but the special effects are too good to make it ridiculously silly (unlike Corman’s Fantastic Four), but it’s the kind of movie you would sit down to watch in syndication on a rainy Saturday. Fun, but not something to run out and get.
NEXT WEEK: Jame “Birdemic” Nguyen’s film debut, Julie & Jack.
Chris – some outstanding things to note about this film….
if you look closely at dancing’s costume in some of the space battle scenes, you can see that her nipples are exposed and blurred out due to the PG rating.
Darlene Flugel – 80’s hottie plays the lead female character.
the film even capitalized on Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back by having a hand severance scene (which evolves into hand replacement and eventually a plan of sabotage).
while the film is not outstanding by any means, it is a good watch with many hats off to other films, memorable (yes, memorable), and Corman ALWAYS lands up-and-coming Hollywood players (Cameron, Nicholson, etc) so it’s good because you can see those people’s earmarks on many aspects of the film (Cameron’s visual effects in Galaxy of Terror).
keep up the great work! love reading the reviews!