Battle Beyond the Stars

First, for context, is an excerpt from Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen and Candy Stripe Nurses: Roger Corman, King of the B-Movie:

James Cameron: “Roger came through one day, and he kind of threw down a challenge to everyone in the model shop. Actually, he was kind of pissed off. We’re so many weeks away from shooting and no one had even designed the main character ship for Battle Beyond the Stars. The main space ship had a female computer. It was kind of a Hal 9000, but female. He said, ‘I want a design in the next two days.’ So it became sort of a design contest, and I thought, OK, it’s Roger Corman. He does girls-in-bamboo-cages movies. What is he selling? He sells tits! So I designed a kind of Amazon warrior spaceship – basically a spaceship with tits. It was a cool design. Roger came through and he looked at all the designs, and he stopped at mine and he went: ‘this is it, this is exactly what I want.’ He said, ‘What is this?’ And I said, ‘This is a space ship with tits.’ And he says, ‘Yes, that’s exactly what it is. You build it.’ So suddenly, I was the guy in the model shop that everyone hated.”

So, yes, I did watch this movie because I was curious about the “spaceship with tits”, but I have to say: that part is kind of disappointing. (Disappointing enough that I didn’t make a photo of the ship the screengrab for this post.) For one, because of the coloring of the ship and the fact that the tits hang down on the bottom of the ship they look more like a nutsack than breasts, which is funny in a way, but also somehow a letdown. Also, the ship has these weird arms on the side of it’s head that make the whole thing look like some sort of slug, which is not the ideal thing to have tits.

That said, other parts of the movie were pretty entertaining. I laughed out loud when I saw the (space) Cowboy’s ship for the first time because it has a giant Confederate Flag on the side of it. I have to say: if there’s two things that should be mixed more often it’s the stars and bars and interstellar travel, because they go together like tuberculosis and supernovas.

Another thing that often amuses me in movies like this is what I call “space money”, based on a movie I once saw on Mystery Science Theater where an astronaut demanded to get paid in “space money” because I guess that’s the currency of the stars. I always like it when movies like this try to impress on us with their futurism by throwing out ‘fancy’ jargon that’s obviously babble. Here, the aliens aren’t aliens, they are “forms”, which I’m assuming is short for lifeforms, but it may be short for “This is a word that’s really close to ‘the force’ and we are definitely ripping off Star Wars as much as we can get away with.”

I wasn't going in expecting this to be essential viewing and it ended up being less essential than I expected it to be. The fact that it's a remake of a remake plotwise makes it less interesting than it could have been. Still, the ragtag group of fighters that gets recruited to fight the villain and his “stellar converter” includes the aforementioned cowboy, a Valkyrie in a crazy bustier, and two bald dwarves in bedsheets named Kelvin who communicate by temperature. If there's one thing I've always said: "It's pretty hard to hold a grudge against a movie that has chesty battle-angels, little people, talking lizards and racist truckers." So, despite my initial letdown, I can't hold a grudge against this.

Winner: Me

Battle Beyond the Stars on IMDB