When is a film so bad that it’s just bad? There are always redeeming features in any film and this Star Wars cash-in of mid-European origin is a riot of bad disco outfits and not so-special effects and yet… it has one rare and precious thing: a soundtrack by John Barry.
It also has Christopher Plummer stuck between career heights and the sustained renaissance that he still enjoys as well as the quintessential 70s go-go-to-glamour girl Caroline Munro who expresses emotion chiefly through the power of costume… and very impressively too.
The production suffered from erratic funding and support from the industry and so what we have is perhaps not quite as Cozzi intended. It stops short of disaster and is redeemed by its earnest quirks as well as Barry’s soundtrack.
The film opens with a space ship in pursuit of a mysterious Count Zarth Arn which is attacked by a strange red ray causing the crew to self-destruct: a warning of the evil abroad in this space.
|Judd Hamilton and Caroline Munro|
Returning from another successful venture, they are chased by the inter-stellar law enforcement: obligatory odd-ball robot Elle (Judd Hamilton) and his boss Thor: Chief of the Imperial State Police (Robert Tessier). Stella easily out flies them but they encounter a starship escape pod and in helping the survivor are slowed down enough to get caught by Thor.
|Caroline Munro, Robert Tessier and Marjoe Gortner|
With Thor and the not-annoying- in-any-way-at-all, Elle, they fly off to the remotest corner of the universe to play hunt the thimble.
|Nadia Cassini and her angry amazons|
|A bad bunch...|
He leaves our heroes to be disposed of by two stop-motion mechanoids resembling Ray Harryhausen cast-offs but they are unable to over-power Akton though as he wields what looks suspiciously like a light saber. Mortally wounded he sends his friends to safety whilst he plans to destroy the battle-planet.
There’s a big bang and Stella and Simon make their way to the Emperor’s ship… all is set for a climactic show-down with the usurper and his men that bears a strong similarity to Flash Gordon a few year’s later: men propelled through space in torpedoes as Barry’s soundtrack goes into interstellar overdive…
It’s entertainingly confusing but you can be sure that good will out and Stella will get her Prince in the end.
It’s childish and under-funded but not unpleasant combining a host of crowd-pleasing cliches. Miss Munro actually does really well and is believably swash-buckling: maybe we shouldn’t complain about a strong female heroine from this period? Yes she’s beautiful but she can also act and does her best to infuse the plastic sets with emotion.
|Christopher Plummer and David Hasselhoff|
|70's future-scapes: scantily-clad women and space-ships|
The soundtrack is the star though and is available from eMusic as well as Amazon as is the DVD of course.
Dusty verdict: Leave your cynicism at the door and just stop being so demanding.
|Using necessary Force|
|View from the bridge|
|Guess which ones the Good Ship and which one's the Bad Ship...|