Alternate title(s): The Adventures of Stella Star/Stella Crashes Beyond the Third Dimension
Release: 1978, theatrical
Starring: Marjoe Gortner, Caroline Munro, Christopher Plummer, David Hasselhoff
Directed by: Luigi Cozzi
IMDB page: Link opens in a new window
Description: When the smuggler Stella Star finds the wreckage of an imperial ship, she and her companions are recruited to take down the evil count Sarth Arn.
I have to admit, I only watched this movie because the ridiculous idea of David Hasselhoff in an Italian Star Wars rip-off was just too absolutely glorious to pass off. As it stands though, color me surprised.
This movie is actually a lot of fun to watch. While Star Crash since then has received the tag-line "Italian Star Wars", this movie is actually very much its own thing. The storyline in Star Crash is MASSIVE. During the movie, our heroine Stella Star fights space-amazons, giant robots, a metal colossus reminiscent of Jason & The Argonauts, and even cavemen.
|I won't try to justify this costume|
This movie also has some very memorable characters. There's Stella herself, played by the lovely Caroline Munro. She fills a sort of Han Solo-esque spot in this movie, as well as being the main character. Of course she is also very much a product of the 70's, spending most of the movie running around in a leather bikini. Then there's her sidekicks, the C3PO-esque robot Elle with a Texan accent and Akton. Some kind of Jedi person. That's really the best description I can give of the character Akton, he displays some jedi-like abilities and runs around with a light saber during the movie but we are never told what he is, where he came from and why he has these powers. He just kinda has them.
Okay so it's not all good. This is a B-movie after all. This movie has some very cheesy acting, especially from main villain Sarth Arn, played by Joe Spinell. He really drags out his words and waves his cape around quite a lot. It's like a 4th grade teachers impression of Count Dracula in a school stage-play. While his acting very cheesy, he is very fun to watch. He really reminds me of the villain from Flash Gordon, Ming The Merciless. Actually I think some later Star Wars movie might have even borrowed back some elements from this movie. Which is just weird considering this was a rip-off in the first place.
|I could not resist making this joke|
As for the dubbing, it isn't very good. First off the voice actors struggle to hit the places where the original actors actually move their lips, making some lines have painfully obvious deliveries with pauses where there just shouldn't be any. It is also very obvious whenever an English speaking actor is on scene, seeing as the voice actually matches in those particular cases.
All in all Star Crash turns out to be a very mixed bag of an experience. On one hand you have the absolute fun that comes with a B-movie space opera. The imagination presented by the writer of this movie is just amazing and it really has a lot of stuff happening. Some of these minor plot-lines could have made their own movie onto themselves. Especially the amazon planet sequence. The special effects also have some very cool moments, while they are definitely not Ray Harryhausen or anything remotely like any of the movies they borrow elements from, you can feel the sheer love for the genre that blasts through the screen and it is very hard not to get caught up in it. This is a labor of love.
On the other hand, you have some very dubious plotholes. As I said before, a character runs around having all these special abilities and we never get any explanation for it. We also have a way too serious appearance from Christopher Plummer who at times make a face that just screams "Why in the WORLD did I sign up for this movie?!". Though he still manages to deliver an okay performance. There's also the matter of some of the concepts almost being so over the top that they almost serve to pull you out of the experience, such as Hasselhoff declaring his strange headgear an "energy shield helmet".
However, if you're the kind of person that can sit down and have fun watching a very cheesy movie without trying to take it seriously. This is for you, there is a lot of fun to be had watching this Italian love-letter to the space opera genre that was so prominent in the 70's and 80's.