Beware of space banditos, because Battle Beyond the Stars is the Greatest Movie EVER!
Click on the Bluray disc cover or the title above to download our review of the film,
featuring Jeff “Rich Lather” Tatarek.
Review in a Nutshell: A science fiction pastiche that borrows liberally from The Magnificent Seven and Star Wars, Battle Beyond the Stars is nonetheless a low-budget romp that showcases a young James Cameron’s eye for production design and also includes colorful performances from veteran character actors.
This movie contains:
John Saxon, Space Tyrant.
Hey, man. It’s impolite to point.
You’re kidding, Paul – no comments? For BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS?!?!?
Not the best STAR WARS ripoff ever, let alone the best SEVEN SAMURAI ripoff – but it’s got Robert Vaughn playing basically the same character he played in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (which is the best SEVEN SAMURAI ripoff!), George Peppard walking off with the movie as “Cowboy of Earth”, pretty great early James Cameron F/x work, and a halfway-decent John Sayles script (though far from his best early schlock work – that would be ALLIGATOR, which is a classic!).
PS: Of course, it also has Richard Thomas as the lead, which is guaranteed to drag any movie down! Only time I’ve ever liked him (well, except for a one-episode stint in BRACKEN’S WORLD in the Sixties as a psycho-stalker religious fanatic who kidnaps one of the female regulars!) is his role on THE AMERICANS – as a self-righteous Reagan Era religious fanatic who works for the FBI.
Yep – the closer Richard Thomas plays it to a Religious Right Nutbar, the more believable he is….
Battle Beyond The Stars is probably my favourite Roger Corman film, period. The cast is thoroughly enjoyable, I love the James Horner score and the effects work is rough but undeniably charming. Great B-movie stuff all-round in my eyes.
Also, sorry to be nitpicky towards Jeff as a guest on the show but his take on James Horner reusing music from prior work for BBTS is technically incorrect. Prior to BBTS, the only other music score Horner composed was for Humanoids From The Deep; none of which is re-used to my knowledge in BBTS whatsoever. Furthermore, the score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture was by Jerry Goldmsith and the one for Starcrash was from John Barry although Horner’s take on certain music cues in BBTS from ST:TMP is evident for sure.
Either way, a fun listen as always Paul. 🙂
How can you not have seen THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, Paul? That’s like saying “I saw YOJIMBO and SANJURO, so I don’t have to see The Man With No Name Trilogy!” They’re both classics in their own rights, and take the stories in different directions than the originals – even if MAGNIFICENT SEVEN includes most of SEVEN SAMURAI’s plot points, the emphasis is completely different.
It and THE OUTLAW JOSIE WALES are two of Tammy’s favorite Westerns. While she worked parts of TOJW into LADY KNIGHT, she’s still looking for a way to get THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN/SEVEN SAMURAI in one of her books.
The “Group of Honorable Tough Guys Save a Village/Backward Planet” has become an archetype of its own, set in various cultures and times. A huge-budgeted (for the time) Bollywood adventure, CHINA GATE, is a variant version about a group of ten disgraced Indian officers and their subordinates who get back together to protect a remote village where a dacoit band holds sway. Terry Frost of Australia’s PALEO-CINEMA PODCAST has also point out THE DIRTY DOZEN, another classic, is a cynical variant of the same premise – a group of highly-qualified prisoners are brought together for a suicide mission, with the promise of a pardon if they somehow succeed.
If you were still offering the “Tell Me What To Podcast About” promo, I’d have you do THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN with MoM, who I think would appreciate the movie. Maybe finally get your Dad on, too – I’ll bet it’s his kind of movie.
Jeff Takarek’s comment about Zed, the last Akira Warrior, got me thinking of the the Indian Emperor Ashoka The Great, who ruled over much of what is now modern India, and is credited with making Buddhism a major Indian religion and the attendant great social and cultural flowering. Prior to that, though, he was, according to his own words, one of the more bloodthirsty conquerers ever – it was the especially bloody conquest of Kalinga that began his (slow, not always as pacifistic as Buddhists might like!) conversion to Buddhism.
There are a number of (usually hokum-filled) Indian biopics about Ashoka – few of which bother with his life after he got all Buddhist and stuff. We saw the 2001 version starring Shahrukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor – which is kind of like watching a Revolutionary War movie starring Bruce Campbell as George Washington, and Scarlett Johansson as the gun-toting Betsy Ross he’s having a torrid affair with!
What I suspect from BBtS is that Sayles based The Varda on odd bits of Buddhism that he remembered from a Comparative Religions class, and made Zed a mashup of The Village Elder character from SS/TM7 with pieces of Ashoka’s story.
And I’m not the ONLY one who thinks you should see THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN either, Paul! The AV Club just wrote it up ….