Wednesday, May 14, 2014

At Anorak: The Five Greatest Star Wars Knock-offs of the 1970s and 1980s

My newest article is posted at Anorak, and it looks at five "space war"  films -- or Star Wars (1977) knock-offs of the late 1970s and early 1980s. 

As I note in the piece, George Lucas's blockbuster inspired tons of imitators, but the best ones are those that are able to incorporate mythology, film history or simply political/contemporary trends into their Star Wars-inspired story-lines.

Here's a snippet:

WHEN George Lucas’s space fantasy Star Wars premiered in the summer of 1977 – and promptly became the highest grossing film in history – it was only a matter of time before intrepid filmmakers sought to imitate and thus re-capture the movie’s magic in a slew of lookalike films.

Importantly, the Star Wars film craze not only brought a barrage of new science fiction-themed films to the international box office, it also changed the very way that movie-makers approached the difficult-to-visualize genre.

Before Star Wars, the 1970s SF cinema obsessed, largely, on matters of environmental disaster and future dystopias  like Soylent Green (1973) and Logan’s Run (1976).

After Star Wars, however, science fiction films usually featured more action, colorful laser blasts, cute robotic sidekicks, and a concentration on fantasy aspects.

Some of titles from the 1970s-1980s Star Wars craze include Message from Space (1977),Starship Invasions (1977), Star Crash (1978), The Humanoid (1979), The Shape of Things to Come (1979), Galaxina (1980), and Space Raiders (1983).

Below is a list of five of the best examples of the trend.

You will note that the films that make this list are, generally, ones that develop their narratives from literature, myth or film beyond the obvious Star Wars riffs; inspiration such as Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954), Arthurian legend, or even Chariots of the Gods.

1 comment:

  1. John entertaining analysis. Good or bad, things would not have been the same if George Lucas had never made STAR WARS IN 1977. Battlestar Galactica 1978 was my favorite.



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