Tags: Caroline Munro, Christopher Plummer, David Hasselhoff, Hamilton Camp, Joe Spinell, Judd Hamilton, Luigi Cozzi, Marjoe Gortner, Nadia Cassini, Robert Tessier, Roger Corman's Cult Classics, Shout! Factory
has an average rating of 3.2 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 25gb disc
DTS-HD 5.1 MA & DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo
are over 2 hours long via a bonus DVD
– 92 minutes
– Shout! Factory
This uses 13.6GB for the movie out of 22.2GB total.
Overall Verdict – Cult Classic Decently Upgraded
— Review written by: Danielle Byington —
The Movie Itself is Directed and Co-Written by Luigi Cozzi, with the additional screenplay writing credit of Nat Wachsberger, and additional dialogue by R.A. Dillon.
The story itself centers on Stella Star (Caroline Munro), and her accomplice, Akton (Marjoe Gortner), who are basically space-outlaws. After a galactic flee from an encounter with the Imperial Space Police, they encounter a lone space-pod, and after Stella ventures into this seemingly empty small spacecraft, she recovers one survivor. Soon after this, the Imperial Space Police catch-up to the space outlaws again, and capture Stella and Akton.
The two are convicted of piracy and sentenced to a life-time of hard labor in a prison colony. Stella creates a bit of a riot, and manages to somewhat escape, though is again captured by the chief of police, Thor (Robert Tessier). However, instead of being returned to the prison colony, Stella is taken to a main ship, where Akton is also present, and the two are made an offer by the Emperor of the Galaxy (Christopher Plummer), who is present via hologram. The Emperor is at war against the Count Zarth Arn (Joe Spinell), and he previously had a spaceship of men seeking the Count and the secret-weapon he possesses. The men on the Emperor‘s ship were driven to madness by an unusual energy (shown as red globs), and the Emperor‘s son was also aboard. Despite the odds, it is believed that he may still be alive, having possibly left on an escape pod. Stella and Akton are offered freedom at the completion of the Emperor‘s request to help find the Count and his secret-weapon, as well as recover his son, Simon (David Hasselhoff).
In closing, even the supplements (notably the interview with Luigi Cozzi) do not hide the fact that the film wanted its place on the map like “Star Wars” in the Sci-Fi film genre. Cozzi mentions that he was instructed to write something in the likes of “Star Wars“, to which he further explains that he had not seen the film, nor had access to it at the time; so he acquired his inspiration from what was basically a graphic novel of the film. There are many similarities to this film and SW, and the Italian film really seems to gloat about this as a bit of a homage, rather than have shame that it was simply trying to make bank.
The story itself is a bit off-track at times, somewhat taking turns to make unnecessary explanations or focus rather too intensely on random action sequences. However, it is certainly not the film’s story that drives it into cult-classic territory, but rather its combination of re-done sci-fi material and conveyance of dearly-tried special effects. Though quite shoddy, the special effects really are what give the film its “campy” essence; minus the stop-motion animation effects of Armondo Valcauda, the film is simply a dull story about a space outlaw chick with Megan Fox eyebrows wearing a bondage-esque bikini. Overall, the film’s story is not exactly the best material ever, but rather the “campy” action sequences give it the claim to fame.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-25 (25 gigabyte single layer Blu-ray Disc) in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. When it comes to the video quality here on “Starcrash“, there are many things to take into consideration. This 1978 film sometimes presents a decently cleaned-up picture (compared to its grade before), with balanced contrast, and a decent amount of clarity in finer details; on the other hand, a majority of the picture has a softer quality. In a few scenes, this softer quality is created by the multi-colored lighting in the set design of the spaceship’s interiors. The red, green, blue, and sometimes yellow light cascading from what is intended to be spacecraft control panels, often fills the frame of medium and close-up shots; in these lighting situations, the decent amount of reveled definition seen in facial features, strands of hair, textures of wardrobe/props, and so forth, becomes more smudged in appearance. There are also a few sequences (outside of those involving the use of stop-motion animation) in which the grade of the picture suddenly looks substantially raw and un-doctored in comparison to the rest of the film (such as seen in THIS screenshot example). These sequences are pretty minimal, but certainly do not pass through the runtime unnoticeable, with a briefly more stark appearance in the contrast, orange-like fleshtones reminiscent of 1970′s film, and absolutely loud film grain and artifacts, leaving not just a softer picture quality, but just a total lack of any definition.
When it comes to the sequences involving the use of special effects, there are several examples of varying grades of video quality. Many scenes involve the characters communicating via tele-monitors and hologram, and the rendering of these specific effects flows rather well (for a 1978 film), with no distortion within the video quality. However, scenes involving the use of stop-motion animation effects are a different story. For example, as Stella battles on-foot against the Guardian of the Amazons, the footage of Stella and her surroundings consists of the above mentioned very raw quality, whereas, the footage of the Gaurdian is quite clean, and actually presents a great amount of detail.
Looking back at previous video renderings of this film, “Starcrash” on Blu-ray, while not a prime example of everything the format can offer (even for a film over three decades in age), is definitely a step-up in its own video presentation. While it does retain a generally soft picture for the majority of the film as discussed above, it has moments that prove to be well-doctored and enhanced in a manner that also does not strip the 1978 film down to plastic, as film grain is retained. The contrast is more balanced than before, eliminating the overly harsh hues seen in films from this era, also set against a black level that is less grayed-out than before, though it is not exactly one hundred percent solid. Overall, the video quality for this release is worthy of a “3.5 Star Rating“, earning this credit for the significant upgrade it conveys in its video quality compared to past releases, yet not receiving further credit in rating as it still is somewhat rough in comparison to other films that have made it to the format from this era.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in both DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo. The audio presentation(s) for this release prove to be decently dusted-off and rejuvenated with even more of a lively kick from the 5.1 track. Panning occurs quite frequently with the presence of the mulitple galatic sound effects; these audible subjects primarily involve sequences of passing spaceships, firing of rifle-rays, and explosions. Some nice examples of these scenes include high-action sequences such as a riot amongst the prisoners, which consists of mostly rifle-rays being fired, popping-up about the 5.1 setup, and two significant space-chases yeilding copious panning of the “wooshes” from fleeing spaceships and the firing of their laser defenses, which convey usage from the rear and front channels respective to the props’ on-screen blocking, as well as a bit of subwoofer rumble. Even in what would seem to be a more dorment scene as far as audio goes, the chapter involving Stella having been captured by cavemen-like beings renders the crackling of their campfires all the way to the rear channels.
The dialogue is presented rather clearly as well, not possessing any noticeable pops or hissing, and while it is primarily conveyed fromt he center front channel, it occasionally pops-up from another assigned channel in the 5.1 soundscape, of course respective to the speaking actor’s on-screen blocking. An example of this would involve a scene at roughly 13 minutes and 20 seconds, in which the voice of a guard annoucing a 5-minute rest for the slaves/prisoners chimes in from the right front channel. One issue that is detectable within the audio track is however relative to the dialogue. At the runtime of roughly 27 minutes and 30 seconds (Stella has been captured by the Amazons, and Elle has come to her rescue), there is an issue with the syncing of the ADR that continues for no more than about 15 seconds. Overall, aside from the small brief flaw just mentioned, the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track for this release does justice to the cult classic, and offers a substantial amount of audible life from the sounscape, earning it a solid “4 Star Rating“.
Bonus materials are presented in both Hi Definition (1080i HD) and Standard Definition (SD) using Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo.
- “Audio Commentaries“
- “Photo Galleries (HD)
- “17 Deleted and Alternate Scenes” (36:36 – SD)
- “Interview With Caroline Munro” (1:13:00 – SD) is basically as the title suggests, as the actress reflects about many aspects of the production, before, during, and after.
- “Making of Special Effects by Armondo Valcauda (With Exclusive Never Before Seen Footage)” (24:00 – SD) is an interesting look at the unique stop-motion techniques executed by Valcauda. Also worth mentioning, the exclusive never before seen clips makes a pretty decent audio presentation for a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track.
- “Behind the Scenes Footage With Commentary” (19:48 – SD) offers glimpses of the film’s production at the Po River in Italy and other sets.
- “Original Screenplay (Illustrated With Original Storyboard and Concept Art)” is accessible by insert this second disc into your your PC or Mac.
- —”With Writer and ‘Starcrash‘ expert Stephen Romero“
- —”History of ‘Starcrash‘: Making of the Film and Its Importance in 1970′s Fantastic Cinema“
- —’Scene By Scene: Production Trivia, Anecdotes, and Critical Analysis“
- —”Interview With Luigi Cozzi” (41:24, 1080i) is well worth a watch if you are a fan of this cult classic, as the Director gives some enlightening details about how the movie came to be.
- —”The Music of John Barry: Commentary of the Score by Composer Mars of Deadhouse Music” (12:55, HD)
- —”Behind the Scenes“
- —”Promotional Artwork“
- —”Fan Artwork“
Disc 2 (DVD):
Overall, the bonus materials offer a pretty concise amount of supplemental information; definitely a well-rounded good job for this Shout! Factory release.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.