Part of my vacation involved flying and, as my incredible good luck would have it (extreme sarcasm…off!) I had plenty of time what with delayed flights to watch movies.
I had a few films I downloaded to my iPad (legitimately bought digital copies of films, by the way!) and chose as my first film to see the 1978 cheesy “classic” Starcrash. Here’s the movie’s trailer:
Right off the bat let me say: I seriously doubt many modern viewers are going to watch this film and give a crap about it. Those who do will likely hoot and holler and make fun of what they see.
The film, to be very clear, was made to cash in on the sci-fi craze that started with the release of the original Star Wars in 1977. Starcrash was clearly meant to evoke (or, if you’re less forgiving, completely rip off) Star Wars along with Barbarella, Jason and the Argonauts, and the general vibe of cliffhanger serials such as Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers.
Only… the film had a super low budget, subsequent cheesy effects, and questionable acting.
The cast of the film is incredibly robust. You have Marjoe Gortner, who was a semi-big star in the 1970’s, smiling like a maniac throughout most of the film (He seems so genuinely happy throughout his time in the film that it feels wrong to accuse him of being stoned or worse). You have Christopher Plummer, yes, that Christopher Plummer, in what amounts to a semi-extended cameo role delivering his cheesy lines as if they were heavy Shakespearean drama. You also have David Hasselhoff (yes, that David Hasselhoff) in one of his earliest roles acting -believe it or not- the most naturally of everyone.
And then you have Caroline Munro as the movie’s protagonist.
Caroline Munro, for the uninitiated, was a popular star through the 1970’s and into the 1980’s. Perhaps her best known role was that of the deadly helicopter pilot in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.
She was, in my humble opinion, incredibly beautiful and the movie wisely choose to show off her… uh… assets in bikini wear like this. Note, though, Ms. Munro, for her entire movie career to date, refused to do any nudity so despite the cheesiness and the cheesecake, the film is strictly a “PG” affair and clearly the movie’s makers spent a lot of time figuring out the proper attire for interplanetary travel…!
The movie’s plot goes something like this: The son of the Galactic Emperor goes off with his ship to explore some planet, said ship is destroyed but not before several lifeboats are released. Meanwhile intergalactic criminal Stella Star (the lovely Ms. Munro) and her assistant Akton (Marjoe Gortner, natch) are captured for some smuggling they were up to but are subsequently released to help find the Emperor’s lost son… and face off against a meglomaniac who intends to destroy the Empire.
The movie makes little sense but if you’re willing to ride with it and have fun, you will find it, though again I caution everyone who is more used to modern fare that this film isn’t terribly quick moving and the effects are, even for their era, hardly revelatory.
Still, Starcrash is innocuous fun, a film not meant to be taken seriously and made by people who clearly were trying hard to evoke another era.
If you’re in the right frame of mind, Starcrash is a hoot.
If you’re not, then you best stay away.