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DVD Shopping Bag: Battle Beyond the Stars 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray

Thank the Corman!

By Robert T. Trate     July 12, 2011


Battle Beyond the Stars 30th Anniversary Edition now on Blu-ray
© Shout Factory/Bob Trate

 

After Star Wars, in 1977, my little kid brain couldn’t get enough of science of fiction movies. I would be constantly flipping through the channels looking for something that took me to another galaxy that was far, far away. In 1980, Battle Beyond the Stars landed. This was not a movie I saw in the theaters. No, I saw Roger Corman’s sci-fi Magnificent Seven on cable. This film was not the all encompassing epic that Star Wars was. Yet, for those brief few hours I was sucked away on another adventure. I had no idea who George Peppard was. Nor did I know that Robert Vaughn was playing the exact same character from the Magnificent Seven. Let alone know that the future King of the World, James Cameron, worked on this movie. It was just great sci-fi fun. Today Shout! Factory is releasing Battle Beyond the Stars the 30th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray and DVD. I took the gamble and risked my fun childhood memories on this release, knowing full well you can’t go home again.
 
The things I do remember about Battle Beyond the Stars is how menacing the bad guy, Sador (John Saxon) was and that John-Boy from The Waltons, Richard Thomas, played the hero Shad. There were lots of crazy aliens and tons of space battles. All of this held true except for John Saxon’s villain. I remember a presence, a menace, a bad guy. Instead, it barely felt as if Saxon was there at all. Thankfully, there were tons of other treats that this, now, film aficionado could appreciate.
 
The film takes little to no time establishing the peril and mission that Shad is up against. A mere nine minutes into the film and Shad boards his people’s only starship, NELL (voiced Lynn Carlin), and he is off in search of help. The film is the Magnificent Seven and Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, though not quite as long as either. Shad runs into all sorts of crazy characters; each wanting or needing something that Shad can exchange for their help. One longs for a great adventure, the other seeks revenge, and one just needs a place to hide. Shad’s collection of heroes is unique and a great “what if” Luke Skywalker picked 5 other guys to come along for the adventure.
 
There are still plenty of other great moments in this almost forgotten Roger Corman classic. Dr. Hephaestus is played by Gunga Din himself Sam Jaffe, who you may also remember as Professor Barnhardt in The Day the Earth Stood Still. The score of this film is by none other than James Horner. If you are even the slightest fan of his work you’ll hear pieces of music that ended up in both Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan and Krull. Sybil Danning brings fourth plenty of sci-fi eye candy as the warrior like Saint-Exmin. Though if you really need that final one two punch, all the special effects in this film are done with miniatures. Yes, that real world out of this world science fiction magic is ever present in Battle Beyond the Stars. It does look a tad cheesy from time to time but compared to Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones it makes Battle Beyond the Stars look like a New Hope.
 
There are two documentaries on this Blu-ray worth catching if you are both an old fan or a soon to be one. “The Man Who Would be Shad” is a personal interview with Richard Thomas and his experiences making the film. He doesn’t hold anything back and laughs at his own misconceptions of what the film would be, in terms of production quality. The documentary “Space Opera on a Shoestring” is 33 minutes of production and James Cameron stories from the crew. There are also two different producers and writer commentary tracks for even more Battle Beyond the Stars fun.
 
Shout! Factory is has brought many of Roger Corman’s films to Blu-ray and DVD in the past few years. This one, for this film aficionado and little kid at heart, was the long awaited crown jewel. Thankfully, it not only holds up over time but shines even brighter than most sci-fi films of today. 
 
ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS
 
The Lincoln Lawyer Starring Marisa Tomei and Matthew McConaughey
 
 
The Lincoln Lawyer (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) Starring Marisa Tomei and Matthew McConaughey
 
Midnight Chronicles Starring Charles Hubbell, Matt Amendt and Steve Sweere
 
Minty: The Assassin Starring Elina Madison, Anthony Ray Parker, Tabitha Taylor
 
Owned Starring Jose Montesinos, Dennis Ruel, Sari Sabella
 
ANIME
 
 
Vexille - Special Edition (Viridian Collection) Starring Toshiyuki Morikawa, Romi Park, Shosuke Tanihara
 
 
CARTOONS
 
Thundercats: Season 1 Part 1 Starring Larry Kenney, Bob McFadden, Earl Hammond and Lynne Lipton
 
Rango (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) Starring Johnny Depp and Timothy Olyphan
CLASSICS
 
Rango Starring Johnny Depp and Timothy Olyphant
 
Robot Chicken: Star Wars III Starring Seth Green, Candace Bailey, Abraham Benrubi and Bob Bergen
 
 
HORROR
 
Curse of the Puppet Master Starring Jason-Shane Scott, George Peck, Emily Harrison
 
Dinocroc vs. Supergator Starring Corey Landis and David Carradine
 
Dinocroc vs. Supergator [Blu-ray] Starring Corey Landis and David Carradine
 
George A. Romero Presents: Deadtime Stories Vol. 1 Starring George A. Romero, Ian Harding, Patrick Jordan
 
Granja De Los Zombies Starring Khotan, Adriana Catano, Roberto Monesinos and Monika Munoz
 
Insidious [Blu-ray] Starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne
 
Insidious Starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne
 
Maneater Starring Dean Cain, Lacy Phillips, Stephen Lunsford
 
Secret Life Of Jeffrey Dahmer (The) Starring Carl Crew, Cassidy Phillips and Donna Steward Bowen
 
Puppet Master IV: When Bad Puppets Turn Good Starring Gordon Currie and Chandra West
 
Puppet Master V Starring Gordon Currie, Nicholas Guest and Chandra West
 
[Rec] 2 Starring Jonathan Mellor and Manuela Velasco
 
Things Starring Barry J. Gillis, Amber Lynn and Bruce Roach
 
MODERN CLASSICS on BLU-RAY
 
 
 
SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY
 
Battle Beyond The Stars [Roger Corman's Cult Classics] Starring Richard Thomas, Robert Vaughn, John Saxon
 
Battle Beyond the Stars 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray
 
 
Brazil [Blu-ray] Starring Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Ian Holm and Bob Hoskins
 
Damnation Alley [Blu-Ray] Starring Jan-Michael Vincent, George Peppard
 
Damnation Alley Starring Jan-Michael Vincent, George Peppard
 
 
Doctor Who: The Awakening - Episode 132 Starring Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Mark Strickson
 
Doctor Who: The Gunfighters - Episode 25 Starring William Hartnell, Jackie Lane, Peter Purves
 
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives [Blu-ray] Starring Thanapat Saisaymar, Janjira Pongpas, Sakda Kaewbuadee
 
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives Starring Thanapat Saisaymar, Janjira Pongpas, Sakda Kaewbuadee
 
TV LAND
 
Agatha Christie's Poirot Movie Collection Set 6 Starring David Suchet, Martin Shaw, Anna Massey and Zoë Wanamaker
 
Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season Starring Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon
 
Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season [Blu-ray] Starring Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon
 
Damages: The Complete Third Season Starring Glenn Close and Rose Byrne
 
ER: Season 15 (The Final Season) Starring Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Julianna Margulies
 
Last of the Summer Wine: Vintage 1990 Starring Michael Aldridge, Bill Owen, Peter Sallis and Thora Hird
 
Mi-5: Volume 9 Starring Peter Firth, Richard Armitage and Nicola Walker
 
Poirot Movie Collection Set 6 [Blu-ray] Starring David Suchet, Hugh Frasier and Philip Jackson
 
Battle Beyond the Stars TRAILER
 
 
 
Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Robert also participates in a pod cast that reviews movies, comics and celebrates all things geek. Check it out at You’ve Got Geek on You.com. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings and criticisms.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 17
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RedHood2010 7/12/2011 6:18:33 AM

I remember watching this movie.  It wasn't half bad.

wessmith1966 7/12/2011 6:32:03 AM

I've had this DVD in my collection for years because it's a great memory from when I was a kid. The movie's great fun, but typical Corman; looks like a B movie and even the great actors ham it up in front of the camera.

EagleManiac 7/12/2011 6:48:08 AM

 I actually saw this in the theaters with my dad back when it came out. Not a terrible movie, but not great either. You can definitely see the influence of Star Wars on it, though!

Hobbs 7/12/2011 6:49:28 AM

I've heard of this movie but never saw it and after watching the preview I don't want to.  This movie is for you people older than me as it was already out of circulation by the time I was old enough to want to see it.

boxker 7/12/2011 6:52:52 AM

What was the matter with the effects in attack of the clones?

parallaxview 7/12/2011 7:17:11 AM

You put Robot Chicken: Star Wars III under Classics?  Awesome.

decepticons2 7/12/2011 10:57:41 AM

Hmm I thought this was the one with the giant hand space ship. Most 80s sci fi movies have to be viewed from a different perspective. Look at how cheesy Tron was.  I swear the outfits were made out of cheap styrofoam.

momitchell7 7/12/2011 11:24:58 AM

Man, I loved this movie as a kid! There were so many cool sci-fi movies (albeit cheesy) from this era, I just wish I could remember all of the names - Metalstorm is one that comes to mind.

EagleManiac 7/12/2011 4:38:30 PM

The 80's had some great and cheesy Sci-Fi!!! TRON's costumes are a prime example. The movie is a classic, but it does show it's origins, especially the computer terminals! I actually WORKED ona few of them shown in the movie!!!

Momitchell7, Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn was cheesy, but again, from that time period, it almost seems fitting! We had a lot of sci-fi come out during the 80's and some of it had really cool stories!

One of the better, if not best low-budget 80's sci-fi was The Last Starfighter! Still one of those movies that if it's on one of the movie channels, I'll watch it......and I even throw in the DVD from time-to-time. Just a really cool, and fun, sci-fi adventure!

 

fenngibbon 7/12/2011 8:19:32 PM

 I swear one of the Nestors in Battle Beyond the Stars (the one captured by the bad guy) was played by Brent Spiner.  

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