When I saw stills of this movie back in 1979, I thought someone had finally made a film just for me. It had spaceships, and robots and something that Star Wars didn't have: Caroline Munro. I waited in vain for its appearance at the cinema. It turned up on TV one afternoon in the beginning of 1985. Well, it was nearly the film I had been waiting for. Overall, it's got everything a b-movie addict can want: ambitious, but not always successful visual effects, at least one Shakespearian actor forced to recite comic strip dialogue, plenty of continuity errors, and a number of very attractive young women, principally, the said Miss Munro, as Stella Star.
It was a shock to find that the very English tones of Caroline had been dubbed by an American voice artist, but that's the movie business. The French speaking version(even for non-French speakers, such as myself) is preferable. Stella's voice is light and playful, and the robot, instead of the 'amusing' cowboy voice in the English language version, talks in mournful, echoey tones, which, for me, works very well.
Caroline Munro, although playing the central character, gets rather sidelined throughout the proceedings; however, she has two scenes in the first part of the story in which the action revolves around her, and if these are the best parts of the whole movie. Her skirmish with a tribe of amazons makes for a very exciting sequence. Inexplicably, but stunningly clad in a shiny black bikini, and thigh length boots, she dominates this sequence. It's a shame that an important section of it, in which the amazons attach her to a mind-probe device, was deleted because of film exposure problems. The film does, unfortunately, contain several instances where a prop or effect has been abandoned at the last minute, and a build-up is all for nothing.
Seek out one of the early drafts on the script (tucked away on the DVD set, if you dig deep enough), to get some idea of what might have been, had not the production been plagued with misfortune.
There are several ways to enjoy this movie. Pick out the bits you like, and ignore the rest; look on it as a latter-day Flash Gordon Serial-style entertainment (it does rattle along at breakneck speed when it gets going), and forget all about logic, and literacy, and the rules of storytelling; or just shut your eyes and listen to John Barry's fabulous orchestral score.
I like Starcrash for two reasons. Caroline Munro is one of them. The other is the fact that Luigi Cozzi wanted to make the movie he'd always wanted to see. He'd written the script before Star Wars came out, and it was only pressure from the studio that forced him to imitate elements of that film. Conversely, it was budget restraints and studio disputes that hampered his efforts.
At the beginning of this review, I made what may seem like a disparaging remark about the visual effects. In a day when we're used to spectacular CGI extravaganzas produced by hundreds of artists and technicians, and costing millions, it's well to consider that most of the effects on this movie were created by one guy with little time, few facilities and a comparitively tiny budget. It's easy to guffaw at the occasional stray shadow on a sky background, but I think what Armando Valcauda achieved, under the circumstances, was, to quote Stella, 'incredible'.
Ultimately, one of the most appealing shots of Caroline Munro as Stella Star is near the end, when Stella Star is swimming through space, and we get a close-up of her very beautiful smile through the visor of her helmet. It kind of makes you feel better, just looking at her.
Action / Adventure / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
Action / Adventure / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
Outlaw smugglers Stella Star and Akton manage to pick up a castaway while running from the authorities, who turns out to be the only survivor from a secret mission to destroy a mysterious superweapon designed by the evil Count Zarth Arn. The smugglers are soon recruited by the Emperor of the Galaxy to complete the mission, as well as to rescue the Emperor's son, who has gone missing.
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July 11, 2014 at 05:44 AM