Full disclosure: I have seen a very small portion of Starchaser: The Legend of Orin (1985). However, I have never watched the film in full and the part I have seen (the opening ten minutes) was viewed way back in the mid-1980s.
So what gives?
OK, so at some point during the 1980s, my dad rented Starchaser: The Legend of Orin from the local video shop (the same video shop I would work in from 2000-2003). He rented the movie for me and my brother to watch, as it looked like something we would enjoy – a sci-fi fantasy similar to Star Wars.
Star Wars was huge when we were kids and both of us loved anything to do with Jedi, Wookies and the like. So I think my dad thought this movie would be perfect.
Erm… yeah, he was wrong. What I remember about this film is that it is NOT for kids.
Just check out this scary bastard…
And then this even scarier bastard…
I recall my dad putting this film on for about ten minutes before it became apparent we probably shouldn’t be watching it. My brother may have watched the film in its entirety – I really can’t remember – but I did not.
For years I have wondered what it was/is all about and whether I would ever watch it again. I guess it is time to pick up where I left off.
- This film is brutal!
- An old bloke has been killed by a laser whip. A bloody laser whip!!
- Is that a magical laser sword? Now where have I seen that before?
Obi-Wan KenobiAn old man has appeared in a hidden message. Hmm… this looks familiar too?
- Just over 13 minutes into the movie and a girl has been strangled!
Yeah, if ever there was any doubt, this film is definitely not suitable for kids!
Han Solo a rogue with a gun has just turned up! And now a sassy robot! The Star Wars influences couldn’t be any more obvious.
“You have no right to go probing around inside me.”
Is this a porno?
In other news – which has nothing to do with this movie – I have just eaten a very large bar of Cadbury’s chocolate. I am losing control of my life.
*Checks to see if there is anymore chocolate in the packet*
You know, I’ve got to give this movie some form of praise – it’s a blatant rip-off of so much Star Wars content that you have to admire the brass balls of it! Characters, settings, imagery, music – there’s so much that has been
lifted from inspired by the original trilogy.
Jeez, somehow it has been 1 hour and 25 minutes and this film shows no sign of stopping! How long is this movie?
*Looks around for more chocolate while the film continues to play out*
OK, so while the film plays out in the background, I have to talk about the poster that was originally used to promote this film.
Observation #1: The tagline says: ‘A spectacular 3-D adventure for the entire family.’ THE ENTIRE FAMILY.
In 2020 (pandemics aside), audiences of all ages go to the cinema to watch animated movies, but that wasn’t the case in 1985. But had the entire family gone to watch this particular movie, I think Grandma would have had a few words to say about what she saw!
I think the sight of a main character sticking his hands in the ass of a robot, would have been enough to give granny a heart attack. At the very least, she would have thrown her bag of mint imperials at the screen in sheer disgust!
Observation #2: The second tagline reads: ‘A magical movie experience in the tradition of “Snow White” and “Dark Crystal“.
Erm… what this should say is: ‘A magical movie experience in the tradition of “Star Wars” and ONLY “Star Wars“!’
The tagline should continue: ‘This is basically a “STAR WARS” movie – there’s no “Snow White” here! You want “Star Wars“? Then this is the movie for you! You want “Snow White” you should go elsewhere!’
Although, I guess that wouldn’t fit on the poster.
Observation #3: The imagery used on this poster suggests this is a fairly fluffy film, with heroic characters and mild peril. It fails to mention the death, destruction, innuendo or all the three breasted aliens!
*Clicks stop on movie*
Hmm… yeah, I don’t really get what that was all about.
Putting aside the Star Wars stuff, Starchaser is a very odd movie… although, dare I say a movie that was ahead of it’s time. It was clearly put together by a team who envisioned animated movies as being something more than just kiddie fare – a rarity in the mid-80s – and for this reason I have to say it is pretty impressive.
It knows what it wants to do and it sticks to its guns. The result is a sci-fi fantasy that is a darker take on the Star Wars movies.
Now that said, what the heck was the studio thinking when they said “yes” to this one? Who the heck did the studio think this was made for?!?
In 1985, Starchasers was too adult for kids, and I can’t imagine that many teens/adults sought it out either. It is very clear the marketing team didn’t watch the movie, because if they had they might have produced a completely different poster!
Anyway, regardless of all that, the big question remains, did I enjoy Starchasers?
It was OK. I appreciated what it was trying to do and it had moments here and there, but ultimately it came across as a film that borrowed too heavily from George Lucas.
I like Star Wars (who doesn’t?), but when I feel in the mood for Star Wars then I watch one of the movies in the Star Wars Saga – not this! I don’t ever feel the need to watch something that is trying to be a bootleg version of Star Wars and that’s what this feels like to me.
Starchasers has a cult following and that’s fine – I get why many people like this movie – but for me it’s watchable, but nothing special. I can’t see me sitting through this movie ever again, and I totally get why I wasn’t allowed to watch this as a youngster.
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