| | STARCRASH Blu-ray Review
Starcrash Blu-ray Review
Distributor: Shout Factory, US
What is the most cheesy flick you remember from your childhood?
If you were a fan of Italian sci-fi rip off movies during the late 70's or early 80's then the answer to the above question could well be Starcrash. Once Star Wars hit theatres in the late 1970's, it was such box office gold worldwide, that in Italy science fiction movies were perceived as the next big thing. Starcrash was their answer to the George Lucas smash hit, and like its predecessor, over the years the film has since gained a wide cult following and probably not without good reason. Admittedly the acting in Starcrash will never be considered as Oscar worthy and a couple of the effects now look as though they were put together by Blue Peter presenters using sticky-backed plastic, however beneath the cheese factor, there is actually a worthwhile story here. The movie packs into its running time, many different aspects including: space adventure, Amazon tribes (on horseback), a giant warrior Titan, frozen planets, stone age tribes, light sabre battles, a pair of mean looking sword wielding Gollums, a wise cracking robot and a wannabe Jedi as loyal companions, outer space battles and even David Hasslehoff sporting extreme eye liner, that it is at the very least, entertaining for some, and an outright classic for many.
Starcrash is released on Blu-ray as part of Shout Factories Roger Corman's cult classics series with the disc labelled as region A but thankfully not being locked. The film has a troubled history with print quality on previous releases, but the new 1080p anamorphic wide-screen transfer on this Blu-ray, is easily the best that the film has ever looked. The transfer however is not without some small issues. Some minor print damage is evident during a small number of scenes and although colours and black levels are generally good, there are some instances where the picture looks a little faded at times. That being said, this is probably due to the original low budget filming elements rather than any mastering issues and there are no real problems of any major concern with this transfer. Comparing this Blu-ray release to the horrible previous DVD transfers is like comparing night and day. Starcrash really never has looked this good before. It is worth noting however, that this release contains the shorter American edit of the film. Certain scene extensions which were present in the original UK and European releases have been trimmed from the US cut, as the film was considered to run smoother this way for American audiences. These trims are nothing of any notable concern and they are all present in the deleted scenes section on disc 2 along with other extra features.
Audio quality on this release is again a vast improvement on the DVD releases, and the now classic music score thunders through the speakers in DTS HD audio, sounding more powerful than ever before. Dialogue and effects are clear, although nothing spectacular, but again bearing in mind the films original low budget roots, it would be wrong to expect knock out sound quality to rival the new movie releases.
Extras are plentiful on this release. On the first disc, there is a very informative extended interview with the films director Luigi Cozzi, which should really be considered as more of a mini making of documentary. Two audio commentaries can also be found here which feature Starcrash expert Stephen Romano and between them cover just about any aspect of the film that you would care to research. Other extras on this disc include a detailed analysis of the films music score, behind the scenes gallery, promotional art and fan art galleries, TV and radio spots and original trailers which also have commentary options with Eli Roth and Joe Dante. On the second disc there is an extended interview with Caroline Munroe who discusses her time as Stella Star and her subsequent career, 17 deleted scenes, original screenplay, a behind the scenes reel complete with commentary track and a feature which looks at the special effects of the film. As if all that wasn't enough, there is even a 10 page booklet containing Stephen Romano's general thoughts on the film and a reversible cover.
Starcrash has certainly been given the royal treatment on Blu-ray. Not only does the picture and sound quality alone justify the purchase, but the extras here really are something special for fans of the film. If you have a fondness for campy science fiction movies, or even for seeing Caroline Munroe in a variety of skimpy outfits, then re-visit this classic trashy piece of Italian cinema, like you have never seen or heard it before.
EPIC ADVENTURE IN OUTER SPACE WHERE THE GOOD GUYS SET OUT TO TRACK THE EVIL COUNTS SECRET WEAPON.
Last edited by sam tyler; 11-19-2010 at 08:27 PM.