Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Star Odyssey (1979)

The success of Star Wars inevitably led to a slew of knock-offs of varying quality.  Of course, when the best of the crop are the hysterically daffy Starcrash and Roger Corman's Magnificent Seven pastiche Battle Beyond the Stars, then "quality" is a somewhat subjective term.

(Yes, I know The Magnificent Seven is itself a remake.  Hush.)

My point is, when I tell you that this is one of the worst Star Wars knock-offs I have seen, that is no small claim.  Because my word, this film is dire.  But let's start with the "Star Wars" part of "worst Star Wars knock-off" first.

We've got the seemingly unstoppable bad guy supership.  We have the bickering 'comedy' robot couple (literally a couple in this case - they're "in love").  We have the rough and tumble rascal who gets the girl.  We have the psychic powers - not that this film will bother even with the fig leaf of "the Force" to justify them.  We have hordes of identical bad guys.  We even have frickin' light sabers.  These are almost as good as the ones you'd buy from your local toy store.

So yeah, the inspiration is pretty clear.  There's a fair amount of difference in the details, of course.  This film has an alien overlord "buy" Earth at an intergalactic auction, with plans to sell the population as slaves.  Initially his plan goes well as he overwhelms humanity's defences with a barrage of stock footage explosions.

Earth authorities therefore turn to the brilliant but iconoclastic Professor Mauri.  Mauri is "two centuries ahead" of any other human being in technological knowledge, and also incidentally a psychic.  Though when I say they "turn to" him, I mean they send someone to say "Hey, save the world, would you?  Just don't expect any help or resources from us."

... yeah.

So after that crime of narrative stupidity, Mauri assembles a crack team of ne'er-do-wells, some of who he has to break out of prison.  Because the authorities won't give him any help.  Because the movie is stupid.

Mauri assembles a team and they have a series of badly staged battles with the bad guys and there's a completely nonsensical ending and I haven't even mentioned the soundtrack, which appears to consist of one single 10 second tune that goes "doooo da da doo da da doooo" and is played over and over and over and over and over and oh god please just make it stop.

103 minutes of awful.

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