Battle Beyond the Stars
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Battle Beyond the Stars was the biggest-budgeted movie Corman had ever made up to that time, about 2 million dollars, and his money is up there on the screen, with good sets, good props, good special effects, and a good cast. In typical Corman fashion everything except the cast was used over and over again in other space sagas he made. Waste not, want not! is his credo, and he boasts that he's never lost a dime on any of his movies. I believe it.
The plot of this movie was stolen shamelessly from Akira Kurosawa's classic Seven Samurai, so if you liked that Japanese epic and its American remake, The Magnificent Seven, you should like Battle Beyond the Stars, too. It just goes to show that if you have to steal a story, you might as well steal a great one!
The cast includes Richard Thomas, just out of his John-Boy of The Waltons role, as a poor man's Luke Skywalker recruiting mercenaries George Peppard, Robert Vaughn, Marta Kristen, and Sybil Danning, among others, to fight the evil conqueror Sador, played by John Saxon, always a good villain.
Never one to miss a trend, or start one, Corman cashed in on the phenomenal success of Star Wars with Battle Beyond the Stars. It's a fun film and I recommend this DVD widescreen edition. There's interesting commentaries by Gale Anne Hurd, John Sayles and Roger Corman, movie trailers, biographies, trivia game, scene index -- but the usual Corman filmography booklet is absent here.
First off, as mentioned before, the plot is nothing new. While a lot of people would say he is ripping off Star Wars that is really not the case (although he probably is banking on the popularity of the space opera). As a matter of fact Corman, in his infinite desire to copy successful themes based Battle Beyond the Stars on the The Magnificent Seven. Which of course was copied by John Sturges in his western classic from Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece The Seven Samurai. So technically Corman didn't copy anything that wasn't already copied. Still a good plot is a good plot no matter where it came from and putting it in a science fiction setting only makes the movie that much more interesting.
What makes this story work so well is that Corman "gets" what Magnificent Seven (and Seven Samurai for that matter) were doing... at least to a point. These movies were less about the brave warriors protecting a community from evil raiders and more about the various personalities of said warriors. Battle Beyond the stars takes that to different level with the different warriors coming from different planets and cultures. While most of the character development is a little more than two dimensional the amount of various characters really make up for it. From there you have a usual space opera fare. Spaceships roaring and blowing each other up to majestic music. Villains wearing black and acting ruthless.Read more ›
This was one [heck] of a smart script. No surprise, since the writer is John Sayles, a screenwriter of impeccable literary sense. The dialogue of this film crackles better than most big-budget films I've seen, and as a result Darlanne Fluegel (as innocent maiden Nanelia), Robert Vaughn (ice-cool mercenary Gelt), Sybil Danning (who steals the show as dashing, comically busty Valkyr warrior Saint-Exmin), Earl Boen (as lead drone Nestor) and George Peppard (as Space Cowboy) all shine, having a field day with the incredibly brisk pace and economical character interactions. And there's great comic material here, which is like an amplification of the gently sardonic tone of Seven Samurai, the obvious ancestor of this film.
The richness of Sayles' conception of this world just draws you in -- even more so, I would argue, than Star Wars, because the depth of the philosophical implications behind the details is phenomenal. The "Facets" of Nestor, the on-the-run nihilism of Gelt the mercenary, and the communicative dilemma of the Kelvin -- it all points to very real human needs and psychological desires, hidden behind the comic-book action and tongue-in-cheek tone. Revel, as well, in the amount of attention paid to the design: Talking spaceship "Nell" is in the shape of a giant woman's body; the stingray menace of Gelt's ship; the different kinds of "hum" that each character's vehicle produces. Shows what you can do even with little money if you put some thought into it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Corman was a man before his time. Great save the farm adaptation space movie.Published 10 days ago by Steve Kraemer
Just finished watching; along with Jeff H., "Battle Beyond The Stars," released by Shout Factory. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Joseph Baneth Allen
Fine Blu-ray off this entertaining "Star Wars"/"Magnificent Seven" knock-off has many good extras and two commentary tracks as supplied by Shout Factory.Published 1 month ago by Quiet Knight
THE STORY: One-dimensional evil cosmic bad guy threatens a planet of peace-loving types. Our idealistic, headstrong young hero knows his non-violent people are doomed without... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Hose Knows (aka Jinzo Ningen)
Not the best work of Cinema fiction in history but it did get Johnboy out of the Waltons house. I loved it as a kid and still enjoy it today. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jeffry Gunter
I remember this movie from my youth and it was nostalgic to watch it again. Good, campy, but good none the less.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
What a fun movie. Campy, yet still nicely done. The actors seem to have had fun making it. Video is of high quality. Excellent transfer.Published 4 months ago by zardoz
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