Sunday, November 26, 2006

[1980] BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS: I'm pretty sure this is the best-looking Corman movie I've ever seen. The ships are all distinct-lookng (it's The Seven Samurai in space, you see, and every one of the seven gets their own ship) and they did a good job of approximating the Star Wars style of spacefighting (though this is a Corman movie, so of course at least one of the shots was reused about five times.) Plus there's character actors out the wazoo--George Peppard, Robert Vaughn (Fukasaku and Corman the same year!), John Saxon, Sybil Danning, John Boy Walton. (Vaughn is probably the best, or his character is the most interesting: a supercriminal who's so wanted by the authorities that he just wants a place to live like a normal person.) But even with all that and John Sayles doing the dialogue and it generally being a pretty coherent movie in terms of plot and visuals, it still never got unbland enough for me--it's not bad or tasteless enough to be super-enjoyable trash, and it's not original enough to be one of those amazing B-pictures like the original Star Wars was. It's more like the Star Wars prequels in fact, a mixed bag of entertaining visuals that gives you a a bemused blah feeling when everything's over.

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