All About that Robot Booty.

starchaser_poster_01

Hold onto your (robot) butts, because Starchaser: The Legend of Orin is (probably not) the Greatest Movie EVER!

Click on the inexplicable movie poster or the title above to download our review of the film, featuring guest host Oli Bulmer.

Review in a Nutshell: Starchaser is an oddity. A 3D film with rotoscoped animation, Starchaser is also a blatant Star Wars knockoff filled with weird religious symbolism and uncomfortable subtext. Watch it at your peril.

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8 Responses

  1. How is this not an anime, Paul?

  2. It’s American made, albeit Korean animated. Anime is created for the Japanese market. Also, it’s a mash-up of Mormon and Scientologist propaganda.

  3. Well, besides all that, Paul! :p

    Did this roast your brain…?

  4. Howard the Duck was worse.

  5. Howard the Duck was worse.

    I bet! (And I saw that long before Starchaser myself)

    I first saw Starchasers in the mid 90’s by chance of finding the damn tape at a video store. Prior to that, the only thing I ever remembered of Starchaser was this brief, few minute clip on the making of the CGI ships in the film that was seen as part of a Disney Channel special covering the use of computer graphics in animation during the time of Tron’s release in the early 80’s. The same special also looked at the effort of the soon-to-be Pixar team with their film “The Adventures of Andre & Waly B.” It was a fun special and I was glad my mom taped it for me when she did so I watched it over and over!

    Getting back to that Starchaser tape, the film saw a VHS release stateside through Paramount Home Video (I assume also on Beta and LaserDisc too), but sadly the transfer was a typical Pan & Scan copy and it looked too murky and grainy to make out the details on the screen, let alone who’s head they wanted to show in those two-shots. No, we had to wait until MGM finally got out it’s DVD release in 2005 before we could ever see the rest of the picture in it’s intended ratio (3-D is another matter, but I’ll get to that soon enough). Unlike Paul, I probably followed Oli’s lead on this one. It definitely is a stupid, silly Star Warsy space flop of the worst kind, yet because I shut my brain off, I could learn to live with the robot rape scenes and mass extermination like it was nobody’s business. I do wonder if kids really thought that hard while watching this one in the 80’s (and I thought I was traumatized seeing The Beastmaster when I was 6). The Scientology is a new one though (I would’ve thought Mormons as well, now I’ll have to go back and read Jeffery’s notes if I must).

    The one thing I’ll give the movie a pass for is the music, though I can’t help but notice, yet another, another former Bakshi collaborator on was this too, Andrew Belling previously did “Wizards” for Ralph in the 70’s.

    Now onto 3-D, that was a toughie. The film itself did receive a home release in 3D, but not on LaserDisc, rather, on a more obscure format sold in Japan called VHD (developed by JVC). The disc isn’t the same as a Laserdisc, of course both were videodiscs the same, but the VHD pushed 3-D movies through the use of field-sequential cycles for both the left and right side of the picture while special glasses that could shift between the two had to be worn during the video. This all worked with CRT’s mind you, not on flat screens. This disc would become something of a prized treasure among collectors and often saw many VHS and DVD bootleg copies sold all over for years, it’s not that hard to find a copy if you’re that interested to see what amounts to flat cardboard cut-outs moving around the screen.

    I see recently there was some continued interest in the film over in Korea, and this one website was setup over it, possibly playing some digitally-restored version of the film or what-not. I suppose in their eye, they created a magnificent piece of Korean cinema that hasn’t been rivaled since.
    http://starcon.kr/

    Similarly, I see both Hahn and Scott set up a little company of their own and are offering a digital 3D copy of the film for any theater that may like to book such screenings. It wouldn’t hurt!
    http://www.hahn-productions.com/Projects.htm

    I know if I wanted to schedule a night of both Lensman and Starchaser, I’ll definitely need to play this in between! Clears ’em out good!

  6. Thanks for the extra notes Chris, I didn’t realise that the 3D laserdisc was actually an entirely different format altogether; granted, I imagine my labelling of it as a laserdisc probably came from the one auction I’ve found on Ebay of the disc itself. Good to know Hahn can be contacted over theatrical rights, might have to look into that. 🙂

  7. I should have mentioned this on the Facebook (Avery here), when it came up, but I confused this all the time with Metalstorm, especially when I was younger. It probably had a lot to do with the 3D. Also, the only real time I saw this was either as a demo tape that someone was playing or it was on TV at the time when I was shopping in a Radio Shack with parents long time ago, where it was playing on TVs there. I think it was the fighter chase scene. It really looked weird at the time.

    Also, the rotoscoped-CGI-then-photocopied-and-traced technique was done in Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective, also around this time, and it probably influenced Starchaser’s production, because I remember featurettes all about the Big Ben sequence.

  8. “Good to know Hahn can be contacted over theatrical rights, might have to look into that.”

    It might prove to be an interesting prospect, at least something of curiosity to show of a forgotten time.

    “Also, the rotoscoped-CGI-then-photocopied-and-traced technique was done in Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective, also around this time, and it probably influenced Starchaser’s production, because I remember featurettes all about the Big Ben sequence.”

    I would say it was the other way around, given that Starchaser came out a year before Great Mouse Detective, but both movies certainly shared in the process applied, I only knew of it probably a year earlier due to a Disney Channel special I talked about before that showed how it was done. I wish it was still up on YouTube or I would link to that section of the special to share.

    One of the animators on Starchaser, Bill Kroyer, would also dabble in the same technique for some of his work like the Oscar-nominated “Technological Threat”.

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