The 70s and 80s saw an amazing rise in Science Fiction movies. We saw the beginning of such truly legendary Science Fiction movie series as what was considered to be the long awaited re-emergence of Star Trek, when Paramount released Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), and the release of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), and even a personal favorite of mine, The Terminator (1984), and that is just to name a few of the major mainstream Sci-Fi greats!
The 70s and 80s also saw the release of some truly amazing B Movie Science Fiction movies, such as Starcrash (1978), Galaxina (1980), and even Escape From Galaxy 3 (1981)!
Now we all know what is great with the above mentioned more mainstream Science Fiction movies, but what I gotta say that I really like about at least some of these B Movie Sci-Fi movies is a couple of things:
1. The actors in these movies are fantastic! In my opinion people like John Saxon (Queen Of Blood) and Greg Evigan (DeepStar 6), are just as amazing and as relevant as say, Sigourney Weaver (Alien), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Red Sonja) or heck, even the more current Shia LaBeouf (Transformers), in the movies they have done!
2. The stories that are in B Sci-Fi are just as fun as the more main stream Sci-Fi movies.
3. And in some cases the special effects are just as good in B Science Fiction as they are in the main stream films of their day!
And that is just a few things that I like about Battle Beyond The Stars (1980):
Written by: John Sayles (A Perfect Match) and Directed by: Jimmy T. Murakami (The Snowman) & Roger Corman (Attack Of The Crab Monsters). Starring: Richard Thomas (It), Robert Vaughn (Hangar 18), John Saxon (From Dusk Till Dawn), George Peppard (Damnation Alley), Darlane Fluegal (Lock Up), Morgan Woodward (The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie), Earl Boen (The Terminator) and Sybil Danning (Hercules).
Battle Beyond The Stars tells the story of the battle to save the peaceful planet, ‘Akir’ from Sador (Saxon) and his army of Malmori mutants who wish to take over the planet!
You see Sador and his Malmori mutants basically go from planet to planet in a gigantic ship, with the intentions of taking over that planet as the sole ruler… But if the inhabitants of the planet refuse, then Sador uses a weapon called, the ‘Stellar Converter’ and literally turns the entire planet in to a small sun!
Now Sador’s next target is the peace loving planet of, ‘Akir’…
Akir wasn’t always peaceful, as a matter of fact at one point, Akir did have some war like tendancies, but (and this is never quite explained), but it looks like they gave up their war like ways when they end up finding religoin!
Well when Sador arrives at Akir, he threatens the Akira that if they don’t submit to his will when he returns, that he will destroy the entire Akira civilization!
After hearing this, and the meeting that the leaders of Akir hold, a divided group ultimately decides to fight, but due to the fact that the only real warrior left in their midst is an old blind man by the name of Zed (played by: Jeff Corey), and all they have is one ship, they decide that they are going to have go off world to find mercenaries to fight for them!
Now immediately a young man by the name of, Shad (Thomas) volunteers to make the expedition to find these mercenaries as well as weapons, and Zed offers up his ship, ‘Nell’ (voiced by: Lynn Carlin) for the journey!
So Shad takes off, and on the recommendation of Zed, heads for the Space Station of Doctor Hephaestus to see if the good Doctor could help… Well he couldn’t help, but the good Doctor’s daughter Nanelia (Fluegal), with whom Shad is following for, decides to take off after Shad leaves; to join him and his fight for Akir…
So after agreeing to meet up in the Lambda Zone, Shad takes off to find these mercenaries so that they can help save his home planet! When he meets back up with Nanelia, he has with him a human by the name of Space Cowboy (Peppard), an Assassin by the name of Gelt (Vaughn), A group of clones that have a hive mind called, ‘Nestor’ and which are led by Nestor 1 (Boen), as well as a Valkyrie warrior by the name of, Saint-Exmin (Danning) who have all offered to help save Akir.
When they get their though, Nanelia has also hired an Alien by the name of ‘Cayman Of The Lambda Zone’ (Woodward) for their cause as well…
So off they go back to Akir, to save the planet from Shador, so that Akir can maintain their independence, and to keep the Species alive!
Now what I think makes Battle Beyond The Stars an awesome B movie is a couple of things:
1. Although it is true that in my opinion the special effects in the movie are quite comparable to the mainstream movies, I found it rather humorous that all of the different species in this movie, (with the exception of Cayman’s species) all looked human!
2. I also thought that the story was a lot of fun.
3. Future filmmaking legends James Cameron (Titanic) who worked on this movie as one of the Art Directors, and Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator), who worked on this movie as an Assistant Production Manager, met on this set, and would go on to make together some great movies in the 80s, including, The Terminator (1984) and Aliens (1986).
4. The inspiration for the creation of this film was based on Akira Kurosawa’s, Seventh Samurai (1954), so much so that the character of ‘Gelt’, which was played by Robert Vaughn in this movie, is based on the character of Lee from, The Magnificent Seven (1960), and some of Gelt’s dialouge is actually taken from that movie as well!
With that in mind folks, if your looking for a kick ass Sci-fi movie to get in to, if you get a chance, check out Battle Beyond The Stars! You might like it!