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.
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.
In this episode of animated series, Star Blazers (1979), The Argo’s energy transmission unit fails upon the vessel’s departure from Jupite...
As a child, I generally didn’t collect military toys, preferring instead sci-fi, horror, and fantasy merchandise. But I made a happ...