Movies that are slightly off.
Battle Beyond the Stars
A battle beyond time, beyond space.
A young farmer assembles a band of diverse mercenaries to defend his peaceful planet from an evil tyrant.
"Battle Beyond the Stars," in all its B-movie, space fantasy glory is one better villain away from being a passable film. New World's space-based update of "The Seven Samurai" is ambitious, but its budgetary limitations and character issues prevent it from being the grander space spectacle it might have been.
Following a young farmer who builds a team of rag tag mercenaries to face an evil despot named Sador, the film is derivative but obvious about its influences. The story is a token hero quest made interesting by the cadre of characters met along the way. The characters are not necessarily original, but they are compelling. Sador, played to hammy extremes by John Saxon, is the one weak link that…
Not as "cheap" looking as I remembered from seeing it as a kid, but just as dull. The effects, it turns out, are the only real attraction here as John Sayles uninspired Seven Samurai variation doesn't really do much to link together the seemingly endless, unexciting scenes of ships/people/aliens firing lasers at each other. Sybil Danning and a fully-emboobened (I made that word up) space ship sex up the movie well beyond anything you would get in a non-Corman produced domestic Star Wars riff, but there's nothing sexual about how stiff the male lead is, just barely holding his own against George Peppard doing a weird cowboy shtick and Robert Vaughn who seems to be playing Roger Corman. This movie…
Soporific Star Wars knock-off, complete with a Korngold-biting score and a plot which filters Flash Gordon space opera through a familiar genre narrative (lifted, in this case, from Seven Samurai / The Magnificent Seven). Notably absent: enthusiasm.
George Lucas’ name has become a byword for crass over-commercialization, but the fact of the matter is that the original Star Wars is a movie informed by overwhelming affection—for the heroes, for nifty special effects work, and for a certain kind of predictable, the-bad-guys-wear-black storytelling.
Some notable names in the production of this B-grade sci-fi film: Produced by Roger Corman, Script by John Sayles, music by James Horner, special effects by James Cameron. Onscreen, we're not so lucky... Richard Thomas gives a weak lead performance, John Saxon's worse as the bad guy, and when it comes right down to it, everyone else is pretty bad too... it all feels like a collection of first takes by a bunch of kids making a film in their back yard. Storywise, it's a remake of The Seven Samurai, by way of The Magnificent Seven (with Robert Vaughn making a return appearance), but it is so inferior to either film that it's only good for laughs and maybe for…
Pedestrian space opera adaptation of The Seven Samurai / Magnificent 7 that has it's charming aspects, and isn't bad to have on in the background for amusement, but it pretty much lost me early on in terms of engaging with it narratively. I experienced déjà vu repeatedly throughout the film, but I'm not sure if I'd seen it, or seen bits of recycled elsewhere. Punches a bit above it's weight in the FX dept. courtesy of James Cameron. Rating slightly inflated because I'm partial to the genre, and it looks nice on Blu Ray.
Strangely badass little B-movie fare.
Half the cast sleepwalks, the other half actually tries.
John Sayles wrote this, of all people.
I wish I had been able to crew this thing.
Battle Beyond the Stars Has some rather good credits to its name,Produced by Roger Corman,Screenplay and story by John Sayles. , Music by James Horner ,director of photography and special photographic effects - Jim Cameron and a rather starry B-list of character actors ,not only this but a proven well worn story based on good old Seven Samurai aka The Magnificent Seven . The special effects are on the whole very good to perfunctory,They reminded me allot of the kind of effects you get in the TV shows like Buck Rogers and BattleStar Galactica,which in it self is not a bad thing,but compared to its major bigger budgeted counter parts which were at the cinema at the time (and I…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
What's unusual about this Roger Corman attempt to cash in on sci-fi after Star Wars, is that it mixes the exploitation pic with the family blockbuster, a little like Flash Gordon in the same year. Unusually for a film aimed partly at children, a huge proportion of the cast actually die, I remember that being pretty shocking and sad as a 7 year old. It holds up pretty well, mainly because the characters (written by John Sayles) are good.
"I would recharge his capacitators, stimulate his solonoid; tingle, dingle, dangle, prangle his transistors!"
Yes, Sybil, we're sure you would. Battle Beyond the Stars is not very good, but it is a delightful B-movie night find with both Robert Vaughn and George Peppard. Both seem to be having some fun with this blatant ripoff of every sci-fi movie that was in existence back then. It being an 80s B-film Sybil Danning had to be there as well. The story is rather slapped together, though, and seems to serve more as a way of sticking the 'impressive' sets and model work together, with little to no character development.
Overall, a fun diversion, but nothing highbrow.
One of those 'only possible in the 80's films'. Ham acting meets hackneyed writing meets blatant rip offs meets a lack of a budget.
And yet, like Hawk the Slayer, it still manages to be enjoyable enough to waste a few hours. Don't expect genius. Expect silly, over the top fun.
Endearingly glib writing and a wanton indulgence of sci-fi tropes makes this pretty fun for the first hour, but the pacing and staging of the actual battle portion of the film is awful. It becomes a collection of reaction shots and recycled footage, and the footage that is being recycled isn't interesting to look at in the first place. I also have to mention that the production design, though occasionally good or at least absurd (Sybil Danning... excuse me St. Exmin's missionary position spaceship) is so scattershot that nothing about it feels consistent. This is a universe where Hannibal is a space confederate and Earl Boen is Multiple Man. It's really weird.
This Star Wars rip off from Roger Corman is naff beyond belief; shoddy effects work, terrible script and questionable acting...and it's great fun!
Essentially Magnificent Seven in Space, Corman takes ideas, runs them through his cut price recycler and what plops out the other end is unashamedly entertaining.
This was a favorite as a kid and it's still capable of bringing a smile to my face.
On the surface, Battle Beyond the Stars seems like another Star Wars clone, and it is. Kind of. See the film is actually another remake of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, which was already remade in America as The Magnificent Seven. Meaning that we have three films telling the same story in three completely different time periods. I can honestly say I haven't seen that before.
Now in terms of storytelling, Battle Beyond the Stars isn't as gripping as Seven Samurai, but at the same time Seven Samurai didn't have Sybil Danning dressed as a futuristic Amazonian warrior and an 80's Jazzercise instructor. Yeah, this movie is weird. You have George Peppard (Breakfast at Tiffany's) as a space cowboy. No, literally…
"I'm only in this for Sador. I want his head. "
The worst lead ever, together with space-golgo 13, fights against John Saxon, from Enter the Dragon.
The wikipedia entry on Exploitation cinema is a bit hit and miss. Some films are nicely representative of their exploitation…
UPDATE 1/27/2016: New removal. This time it's the 1980 mini-series The Martian Chronicles. Don't know why, since I was under…