Monday, 22 August 2011



A film probably forgotten these days, and if remembered at all it's for its star Dorothy Stratten's untimely murder before it was released; this is a space fantasy spoof that absolutely fails to work with countless dud jokes, tedious characters, shoddy effects (even for 1980) and a tone that switches from serious SF portentiousness to knockabout TV sketch show stupidity. Coming after Dark Star and Starcrash, and with Alien and The Empire Strikes Back heavy in the air, the idea to make a cheap sci-fi comedy spoof with a beautiful lead actress must have been tempting. But why didn't they go that extra half parsec and make it any good?

It's 3008 and the Infinity is a police cruiser manned by a goofy collection of crazy but supposedly loveable idiots (blowhard captain, hunky sergeant, winged Vulcan wiseass mechanic and an elderly Chinese stoner) and the mute but astoundingly glamorous robot Galaxina: gorgeous but pointlessly so, since she's programmed to give electric shocks to anyone who touches her. But during the crew's 27-year cryosleep en route to retrieve a revolutionary energy source known as the Blue Star, Galaxina confronts her awakening feelings for Sergeant Thor and reprograms herself to respond.

None of the gags are funny and one in particular - a running joke about a fanfare - is bloody annoying after the ninth or tenth appearance and the lineup of whacked-out space crazies are all surprisingly difficult to like. Some bits feel like TV sketches: the "human restaurant" in which the menu consists of human body parts eaten by aliens, or the Alien "gag" in which the cretinous Captain eats an egg and then vomits up an alien monster (which later ends up as Angelo Rossitto in a papier mache lizard suit). Other bits you look at and just wonder what the hell they thought they were doing. And in the middle is the silent, glacial Dorothy Stratten, and you get the sense that a film about Galaxina, rather than the assorted gibbering idiots she's programmed to serve, would have been far more interesting (and couldn't really have been less funny).

Scroll through the credits at the end and you'll see some decent names in the technical section - Chris Walas (makeup effects on what is clearly a hopelessly inadequate budget), Alan Howarth, John Buechler - people who went on to better, proper films. Even the music score gives the impression of a serious A-list Science Fiction film as it's predominantly made up of classical pieces, although very obvious ones: the William Tell overture for a chase, Tchaikovsky's Romeo And Juliet for the love scenes, and Liszt's Preludes for the main body of the score - very familiar music if you've seen the old Flash Gordon serials of the 1930s, which used it constantly - and even Also Sprach Zarathustra shows up. But 2001 it ain't. Hell, it isn't even first season Red Dwarf (my least favourite series, even less fun than the legendary dropoff of Series 7). There is apparently a British DVD of this, bundled with something called Hunk, but the DVD I watched was a Region 1 import with poor picture quality.


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