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2.8 out of 5 stars
Starcrash (Roger Corman Cult Classics)
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102 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2010
Luigi Cozzi's Star Crash (a/k/a The Adventures of Stella Star) is one of my all-time favorite movies. Usually dismissed as a cheap Italian Star Wars knock-off, it's actually much, much more than that: it's a cheap Italian knock-off of all three Flash Gordon serials, Barbarella, hundreds of pulp space operas and comic books, and a half-dozen Ray Harryhausen movies.

It literally has everything: a scantily clad heroine, a comic relief robot, stop-motion monsters, lightsabre duels, space amazons, space troglodytes, a galactic villain with a beer belly, ray guns, ludicrous spaceship miniatures, beach ball planets, blinking Christmas tree light stars, an eclectic international cast that includes Joe Spinell, David Hasselhoff, Marjoe Gortner, Robert Tessier, and an apparently stoned-out-of-his-mind Christopher Plummer... and a marvelous musical score by Academy Award-winning composer John Barry!

I've long lamented that there wasn't a quality, authorized DVD edition of this personal favorite available, and the thought that in a few days I'll have a high-definition, widescreen copy on Blu-Ray is exciting. Ever since I read director Cozzi's article about the origins of and the making of the film in Future magazine (anyone remember that companion mag to Starlog, later known as Future Life?) back in '77, I've been fascinated with the film, and when I finally saw it on VHS with some friends around 1990, I couldn't believe just how much giddy, shameless, stupid fun it was.

There isn't much I don't love about the movie, to be honest. Caroline Munro is gorgeous, the special effects are psychedelic, the characters so ridiculous and earnest... it's pure, rainy Saturday afternoon bliss, and vastly more entertaining than ANY of the Star Wars prequels or the mind-numbingly boring and overrated Avatar.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2011
A piddly 3 stars as average rating? C'mon Basic Instinct 2 has the same rating (at least as I'm writing this), and it's nowhere near as fun (or any fun at all, actually)! I don't know that I have anything to really add to the reviews that tout this as extremely entertaining camp; I can tell you that I only became aware of this film in September 2010 when it came out on DVD and Blu-ray. I read the reviews from the DVD reviewing sites and decided that, being a lover of science fiction and of campy movies, I would love it. So I bought it sight unseen and have become completely obsessed by it. A framed poster is now in my living room, I check ebay periodically for other Starcrash merchandise, and have seen it numerous times. Now, I'm not saying that everyone will love it in the (possibly maniacal) way I do, but I will say there's a very good chance those who enjoy science fiction and cheesy movies will at least like it. And there are numerous positives to a film that I may be making sound completely disposable: the score by John Barry is frequently beautiful, the often colorful cinematography looks great (especially on the Blu-ray) and it has David Hasselhoff! You can't lose...
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39 of 48 people found the following review helpful
This film simply lacked "true" space opera common sense and seemed from the outset to be nothing but an awful Star Wars (1977) copy. I was hesitant to go as high as 5 stars but I suppose the basic premise of the film is acceptable enough, it is an enjoyably awful, cheese space film.

I find Starcrash (1978) very stirring and exciting. At its heart, it is a close relative of the klutzy Italian giallo films, a swashbuckling Star epic full of political space color, ridiculous special effects, dumb intrigue, and moral danger in space. Christopher Plummer emerges as a memorable villain, and David Hasselhoff's presence is enough to further increase the mystique of the Hasselhoff cheese legacy. I sense some unbalance in this movie. The script is so bad that it makes Marjoe Gortner and Joe Spinell look lame but Caroline Munro wearing a bikini is hot.

Starcrash (1978) is underrated cheese and more imaginative than most cheese space films ever shot.

Not only does this movie entertain kids of all ages but it holds up well to repeat viewings and earns the right to be called a "cheese space classic".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2011
In 1977, Star Wars was a critical and commercial hit! It made movies fun again! In the 1970's, sci-fi movies were dark, violent, downbeat, low budget, and nightmarish! Filmmakers were trying to maximize any sci-fi project that they had the rights to. Luigi Cozzi's Starcrash(1979) was one of the Star Wars clones. The Emperor(Christopher Plummer) forces sexy smuggler Stella Star(Caroline Munro) to find his son. Our heroes also have to battle the megalomaniacal Zarth Arn(Joe Spinell). The film is so bad, it's good. It has a sense of fun and adventure that the overrated Battlestar Galactica remake lacked. An Amazon Queen yells, "I'LL HAVE MY REVENGE!" and we'll never find out what she wants revenge for. The robot police officer Elle has a "Southern" accent looped over him! It's like that scene in Sleeper(1973) where Jackie Mason's voice is looped over a robot sales clerk! Akton(Marjoe Gortner) claims that three space fighters are attacking their ship and only one can be seen in the VFX shots!
British starlet Caroline Munro plays smuggler Stella Star and American English is looped over her accent. Munro played a sensual femme fatale in the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me(1977). Speaking of James Bond, the late John Barry composed the music score for Starcrash. It gives heart and soul to a film packed with 1970's cheese! A young David Hasselhoff(Knight Rider, Baywatch) plays Prince Simon. We get to see Marjoe Gortner engage in a light saber duel with two stop motion robots! In one scene, Stella Star almost freezes to death on a planet covered in snow. I wonder if George Lucas got even by having the Rebels hide on the ice planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back(1980)? I like the scene where a capsule smashes through a space station window and the room doesn't depressurize! Starcrash is a flawed movie, but it's fun to watch with a case of beer!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Long before the word "mockbuster" was invented, there was Roger Corman. This is perhaps one of the granddaddy cheesiest films out there. You can't but laugh at David Hasselhoff's hair as he saves the universe with his leading lady Stella Star (Bond girl Caroline Munro) whose outfit likewise was a laugh with its cape and tight fit. The science behind this film is about the worst with one of the nosiest space vacuums imaginable.

Joe Spinell as the evil Count Zarth Arn brought a tear to my eye as an MST 3000 gift from the gods. I will say in a comparison to "Star Wars" the robot had more personality than 3CPO.

The lines spoken in the film are gems. 5 stars on the camp and cheese scale. A movie that is so idiotic, one doesn't need to be stoned to appreciate it. Fun for the whole family.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2012
There's something magical about this movie, I can't quite put my finger on it. But it leaves you feeling uplifted, and smiling from ear to ear. It is easily the best Luigi Cozzi film. Everything just comes together in a way that is purely entertaining and sometimes moving - "Star Crash" possesses an innocence that is quite affecting.

A few things I love about this movie:

1. The Cast: Where else can you see a scene played out by Caroline Munroe, David Hasselhoff and Christopher Plummer? All three are wonderful in the movie. Like the cast of the original Star Wars (1977) they never play the story for camp, nor do they make the mistake of trying to elevate the material or turn it into something it is not. They're having fun so we have fun too; they all strike the perfect balance. Elsewhere, we have Joe Spinell (from the Godfather movies) as an evil Count; Robert Tessier giving a strange but interesting performance as an alien space-cop; and the gorgeous Nadia Cassini who shows up briefly as an Amazon Queen. Notable performances are given by Hamilton Camp as the voice of "Robot Ell", a truly memorable and likable character; more intriguing is Marjoe Gortner as Akton, a mysterious super-human apparently modeled after Paul Atreides (Dune) and Luke Skywalker - Marjoe was a child preacher and later produced a film exposing bogus faith healers - he brings an easy and likable spiritual quality to Akton, and lends a strangely powerful undertone to the line, "Have faith and never give up hope."

2. The Characters: Caroline Munroe is "Barbarella" in all but name, playing "Stella Star" with wide-eyed, infectious enthusiasm and irresistible charm. She looks great in all of her costumes and is clearly having the time of her life. She's an infinitely better "Barbarella" than awful Jane Fonda, and "Star Crash" is closer to a great "Barbarella" movie than the smarmy, sleazy, ugly movie that was produced in 1968. Akton is the perfect messianic hero, stripped of all unnecessary baggage, presented as a child would imagine it. Robot Ell is funny and endearing. The Emperor is wise and magisterial. Prince Simon is heroic and likable. It's a winning combination of simple, enjoyable characters.

3. The Visuals: When Luigi Cozzi is on form, his visuals are a joy to watch. George Lucas and Ridley Scott are masterful illustrators, laying on details and niggling over fine points. Cozzi is a mad childlike savant, splashing the screen with color and images with wild abandon, filling his films with surreal tableaus that stand in stark contrast to the often poorly executed technical effects. He never again captured the seamless quality of "Star Crash's" visuals. The rickety stop motion is bursting with energy and charm, the model work looks like something out of a Universal "Flash Gordon" serial, the heavens glow with multicolored stars, recalling Dick Calkin's "Buck Rogers" Sunday strips and the bold colors of Silver Age DC and 1970's Marvel comics. Luigi's love of technicolor films shines through bright and clear, perfectly capturing the gaudy, vivid palette of films like "War of the Worlds", "The Time Machine", "This Island Earth" and "Forbidden Planet". The images crackle with imagination and life and are always exciting to watch.

4. The Score: John Barry's music grows on you with subsequent viewings. He offers up a swinging 70's era theme that in no way apes the famed John Williams "Star Wars" fanfare, and buffets the fun story and vivid imagery with a delirious, dreamy score that sweeps the viewer into a lush world of fantasy. It's a gorgeous and memorable score.

The 2-Disc DVD set presents a good transfer of the film and plenty of lavish extras. If you love space opera and fantasy films, add this to your collection. It is certainly more enjoyable than James Cameron's lugubrious "Avatar" or other similar, recent, expensive and pretentious bore-fests. "Star Crash" is unique, memorable, and most of all, just plain fun!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2010
YES, Starcrash is cheesy. This is lovingly splashed all over the DVD cover. If you didn't get that it's gratuitously wacky--or if you hate fun--then don't read any further.

Okay, still here? Good, because Starcrash has a lot to offer in the way of entertainment. I'd like to think of this film as a cousin to some of the Ray Harryhausen films that pack in a ton of special effects into a Saturday Matinee-styled film.

I'd even go so far as to say the story is disjointed, but hilariously so. And while campy, it takes itself seriously (for the most part) in a way that gives it an endearing quality. If you're a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, you're going to LOVE this movie.

This movie just looks like it was a blast to make for the cast and filmmakers, and that's easily apparent. The DVD extras on disk two (non-Blu Ray edition) include interviews with cast and crew that confirm as much--as well as the fact that they were "in on the joke".

Starcrash has more in common with the 1980 Flash Gordon, Barbarella, or even Spaghetti Westerns from the 70s, than Star Wars. If that's what you're expecting, look elsewhere.

But if you want to laugh and cheer on the good guys, then you can't do much better than Starcrash!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2011
We laughed so hard at this film our ribs hurt. We stopped the movie twice so everyone could quiet down from laughing and wiping the tears away. This is the funniest, serious space opera movie anyone at the party had ever seen. On the accompanying "Special Features" disk you'll see how proud the animators are of their Gumby-like animation and their macaroni, milk carton and gold spray painted spaceships. StarCrash is far funnier than Barbarella, The Crawling Eye and This Island Earth combined. Highly recommended for any campy film party!
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39 of 55 people found the following review helpful
I remember seeing this movie on many a Saturday afternoon when I was young. Back then I loved it. Today I am fully aware of its shortcomings. That being said I still enjoy it, only this time the "cool" factor has dropped down several notches since I was a kid and the "cheesy" factor has kicked in. This movie might be fun for different reasons than I had before, but it's still fun.

I find it interesting that this movie is being released under the Roger Corman's Cult Classics moniker considering Corman had NOTHING to do with it. It was directed (and written) by Luigi Cozzi. It was originally conceived as a Harryhausen Sinbad type adventure in space rip-off, but then Star Wars came along so Luigi upped the production schedule and added George Lucas' classic on the list of stuff he borrowed from.

Bear in mind this is one of those Italian-made productions and it was obviously trying to capitalize on the success of Star Wars. Starcrash is definitely along the lines of a classic space opera, and when I say that I mean everything including tiny budgets and short production schedules. Star Wars it aint, but if you think about it Starcrash is truer to the genre.

The movie takes ideas from a lot of places. Of course there is the aforementioned Harryhausen ideas when "borrowing" concepts for their stop motion model work. The sword fight with the robots and the giant Amazon robot are direct rip offs of two notable scenes by the master Harryhausen himself. Of course Star Wars got milked too, but not nearly as much as you might think. Most likely the light sabers were ripped off and that villain's name, Zarth Arn, sounds way too close to not be derivative of Star Wars' Vader. The plot kinda sits there and some of the scenes make very little sense. I guess that's okay since the script throws out some major cornball dialog.

Production values are abysmal in this film. The spaceship models look like they are various household items glued together with parts of model kits (including the plastic frames you pull the parts off of). The stop motion animations are extremely choppy. The laser effects... well they are kinda cool, but definitely dated. Everything about the special effects scream college film project.

The acting varies from good to hammy. Caroline Monroe is known for doing roles like this one and she pulls it off just like she always does. Christopher Plummer... man that guy can make the worst lines ever written sound noble and poignant. That's exactly what he did here. David Hasselhoff is in this one as well and he doesn't do a bad job if you can get around the eye makeup.

Now this movie has gotten the DVD treatment before and now Corman is releasing it on his Cult Classics collection as both Blu-Ray and DVD. That's about all the information that has been released so far. No news on whether or not this will be a remastered edition. No word on what features and extras will be included. Best I can do is let you know what's out there, and so far the best model to go on is the Collector's Edition DVD.

The Collector's Edition actually had 5.1 DTS audio, however the caveat to that is it's a 5.1 digital master of a monophonic movie. Take that however you like, but the CE audio wasn't all that amazing. Will this Bly-Ray do anything to improve that? The Collector's Edition also has some interesting features such as a making of documentary that I think came from a television program that was released in Italy way back then. It also has a documentary/interview with director Luigi Cozzi. Will this Blu-Ray have any of this stuff and/or more? I'll update this review as I learn more.

I know I make it all sound pretty bad, but when you put it all together the movie does have its charm. Cheesy charm and some authentic movie charm as well. I'm surprised Mystery Science Theater 3K didn't do a number on this movie. Watch it with some friends and you will all have a great time poking at it. For you classic space opera fans this movie is a hoot as well. Especially if you are very forgiving of all the limitations I mentioned. Definitely worth a look for any science fiction fan with an open mind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2014
Wow. What can you say about a man that loved Science Fiction so much, he made a Star Wars type movie with bits of "Sinbad", "Jason and The Argonauts", "Invasion From Mars", and a few others? Pure Italian rip off Sci-Fi glory! I saw this when I was a mere 13 back in 1980 on cable TV. I liked it, but I never considered it to be an equal to the phenomenal "Star Wars" from 1977 even back then. I find it entertaining and campy. You have to admit, if you like campy science fiction movies as I do, this is definitely one of them. You can't take it seriously. I mean did you take all the '50s Sci-Fi that way? lol I am a big fan of Caroline Munro so I remember this one with great fondness. (She is a genuine Bond Girl from The Spy Who Loved Me). So, that in itself is why I like it just to see her in her glory. She runs around in this sleek black outfit worthy for a space adventure. Remember, there is no underwear in space! lol
If you like cheaply made science fiction movies that will get you laughs, this is one for you, but DON'T expect it to match up to anything in the SW universe. This movie is the result of an Italian movie lover of Science Fiction and adventure movies. I often look at it as an Italian homage to our American counterpart of Star Wars.

Here's what you get: A Two disc set (one Blu-ray, one DVD) with reversible cover, a very nice color booklet with Caroline Munro on cover, lots of Special Features.
Disc 1: (Blu-ray)
Movie in Widescreen
Featurettes: Interview with Luigi Cozzi, The Music of John Barry, Photo Galleries
(Designs, Storyboards, Behind The Scenes, Fan Artwork, Promotional Artwork),
Theatrical Trailer
Theatrical Trailer with Commentary by Joe Dante
Theatrical Trailer with Commentary by Eli Roth
TV Spot
2 Radio Spots
Audio Setup: 5.1 DTS-HD Surround Sound, 2.0 DTS-HD Stereo, Audio Commentaries with writer and Starcrash expert Stephen Romero
History of Starcrash making of the film and it's importance in 1970s fantastic cinema
Scene By Scene Production Trivia, Anecdotes, and Critical Analysis

Disc 2: (DVD) More Special Features
Interview with Actress Caroline Munro who discusses her career from modeling and beyond (looking very well, I might add),
(If you are a fan of hers, this is a must see.)
17 deleted and Alternate Scenes
Making of the Special Effects (With exclusive never before seen footage)
Behind the Scenes Footage with Commentary
Original Screenplay (Illustrated with storyboard and concept art)

If you are a fan of this movie and late 1970s science fiction "rip off" movies of SW, this one is for you.
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