Battle Beyond the Stars: Review

Battle Beyond the Stars:
Review

Airman Glock

3.5 Stars

Goodness gracious I am excited for Other Worlds Austin. My introduction to this great festival and its awesome team of people was the screening of Call Girl of Cthulhu, which my comrade Airman Xley reviewed back in May 2015. Last year’s festival proper was a rousing success, and it’s my honor to help review some of the films they’re showing in 2016.

Yesterday was the first movie of the festival, a classic from the 1980s called Battle Beyond the Stars. I was unfamiliar with this movie going into it, but founder Bears Fonte spoke very highly of it and awarded Sybil Danning, who played Saint-Exmin of the Valkyrie, with the Defender of the Universe award. New this year, the award will go to trailblazers from the realm of science fiction, and Sybil Danning was well-deserving of the honor. She played a fierce battle-ready “Valkyrie” that more than held her own amongst the grizzled and battle-hardened male characters. Ms. Danning accepted the award in person and gave some fascinating behind-the-scenes information from the making of the film.

Airman Glock

3.5 Stars

Goodness gracious I am excited for Other Worlds Austin. My introduction to this great festival and its awesome team of people was the screening of Call Girl of Cthulhu, which my comrade Airman Xley reviewed back in May 2015. Last year’s festival proper was a rousing success, and it’s my honor to help review some of the films they’re showing in 2016.

Yesterday was the first movie of the festival, a classic from the 1980s called Battle Beyond the Stars. I was unfamiliar with this movie going into it, but founder Bears Fonte spoke very highly of it and awarded Sybil Danning, who played Saint-Exmin of the Valkyrie, with the Defender of the Universe award. New this year, the award will go to trailblazers from the realm of science fiction, and Sybil Danning was well-deserving of the honor. She played a fierce battle-ready “Valkyrie” that more than held her own amongst the grizzled and battle-hardened male characters. Ms. Danning accepted the award in person and gave some fascinating behind-the-scenes information from the making of the film.

Airman Glock

3.5 Stars

Goodness gracious I am excited for Other Worlds Austin. My introduction to this great festival and its awesome team of people was the screening of Call Girl of Cthulhu, which my comrade Airman Xley reviewed back in May 2015. Last year’s festival proper was a rousing success, and it’s my honor to help review some of the films they’re showing in 2016.

Yesterday was the first movie of the festival, a classic from the 1980s called Battle Beyond the Stars. I was unfamiliar with this movie going into it, but founder Bears Fonte spoke very highly of it and awarded Sybil Danning, who played Saint-Exmin of the Valkyrie, with the Defender of the Universe award. New this year, the award will go to trailblazers from the realm of science fiction, and Sybil Danning was well-deserving of the honor. She played a fierce battle-ready “Valkyrie” that more than held her own amongst the grizzled and battle-hardened male characters. Ms. Danning accepted the award in person and gave some fascinating behind-the-scenes information from the making of the film.

Sybil Danning (left) as St. Exmin and Jeff Corey (right) as Zed

As for the film, I had a total blast. It’s a fun and funny movie that balances those aspects very well with some intense fighting and serious themes. It’s reasonable to call Battle Beyond the Stars a retelling of Magnificent Seven, just in space. Shad, played by Richard Thomas, is a member of the Akira, a race under threat from the seriously evil Sador, played by John Saxon. Shad travels from place to place, with only a few days to collect a band of mercenaries to help him defend his people. Sound familiar? Included in this rag-tag band of misfits is Gelt (Robert Vaughn (RIP)), George Peppard as the excellent Space Cowboy, the aforementioned Saint-Exmin, and a group of five aspects of Nestor, a hive mind that joins the fight merely to stave off boredom.

The film is basically split into two parts, when Shad assembles his team and when they all begin the battle against Sador. The characters are introduced fairly quickly but are all given time to establish their personalities and motivations. For me, the epic battle was occasionally hard to follow, but the effects more than made up for that. I loved the ship designs, especially the cockpit interiors, and really got into the battle effects once I became accustomed to the obviously 80s battle effects. The lasers were believable, but every ship turned into a sparkler upon being destroyed. Again, it was the 80s, and Roger Corman’s dedication to his vision and the money behind it puts it in a high class of its era.

Last night’s showing was intended to set the mood and get everyone hyped for the festival to come, and I think it more than achieved that goal. I’d also like to give my congratulations to Sybil Danning for the Defender of the Universe award. Everyone that works for Other Worlds Austin cares deeply about science fiction and representation in the genre, and that contributes to it being such a standout festival. Reviews from the rest of the festival will be posted in the days to come!