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The Magnificent Seven... in Space

Author: Daryl_G_Morrissey from United Kingdom
2 June 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The story concerns a young farmer, Shad (Richard Thomas), from the peaceful planet Akir (named for Akira Kurosawa), that is under threat from the warlord Sador (John Saxon), of the Malmori. Being a peace- loving people they have no way to defend themselves, so Shad takes an old spacecraft and goes looking for some mercenaries to help defend his planet. These include, Nanelia (Darlanne Fluegel); Space Cowboy (George Peppard); Nestor (Five Alien clones, who share a group consciousness); Gelt (Robert Vaughn); Saint-Exmin (Sybil Danning); Cayman (Morgan Woodward) and The Kelvin (Larry Meyers & Lara Cody).

When Sador returns he is met by Shad, leading seven ships in a bid to safe his planet from destruction.

The film is a remake of The Magnificent Seven (1960), which was a remake of Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai (1954), so there is no time wasted on in-depth character development or storytelling, as the story should be familiar. Everything we need to know about each character we learn in our first meeting with them. Space Cowboy is a space trucker, from Earth, looking for adventure. Saint-Exmin is from a female warrior race, who has a very fast ship, and wishes to have a glorious death. Gelt is the best assassin in the galaxy, but is alone and paranoid, only joining Shad for the reward of a safe and peaceful place to live.

The effects aren't the best, but are by no means poor. This could be down to a number of reasons;

While Star Wars (1977) had an estimated budget of $11 million, Battle Beyond the Stars had an estimated budget of just $2 million.

The man who was in charge of the miniature design and construction, special photographic effects and was also the additional director of photography was none other than James Cameron. (It was while working on Battle Beyond the Stars that James Cameron met Gale Ann Hurd, the films assistant production manager, who he would team up with to make his 1984 classic, The Terminator.)

Battle Beyond the Stars was filmed in just five weeks.

The score was composed by James Horner and is very upbeat and full of brass instruments, fanfare and goes very well with the pace of the film. James Horner also scored the soundtracks to Star Trek II (1982) and Star Trek III (1984), the latter of which has pieces of score that sound as if they were simply 'lifted' from the Battle Beyond the Stars score.

Each of the characters appears to have been given the same amount of screen time, which works in the movie's favour. John Saxon plays Sador with a particular ruthlessness, while George Peppard is almost playful as the Space Truckin' Cowboy. Meanwhile, Robert Vaughn's, Gelt, is so closely based on the character of Lee, from The Magnificent Seven (1960), that some of Gelt's dialogue is almost identical, to that of Lee's.

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Pretty good!

Author: bbickley13-921-58664
4 January 2015

Yeah it's a pretty good movie. A nice early temp from filmmaking Juggernaut, James Cameron whose talents got him promoted to head of visual effects. His crowning achievement being a really cool looking ship that looks like it has a set of boobs. Thanks Jim! Not the only set of boobs in the flick, it also features B-Queen icon, Sybill Danning in strange battle armor made out of foam. I recognized George Papard and Robert Vaughn, who were big stars to my childhood thanks to their run on the A-Team. I'm sure it brought people into the box-Office,despite their performance being so-so. Also great about the movie is the film composing of James Horner that somehow made the cheap effects look a little better. But it is worth seeing just to check out what Mr. Avatar was able to do with so little.

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Not Bad, If Unoriginal.

Author: AaronCapenBanner from North America
31 August 2013

Young farmer Richard Thomas is sent on an intergalactic mission by his people after their world is threatened by an evil dictator in a vast spaceship. He must recruit as many mercenaries and soldiers as he can find, if they have any hope of defeating the invasion...

Though clearly inspired by both "Star Wars" & "The Magnificent Seven" this modest film is still quite entertaining, with a good cast(Robert Vaughn(["Magnificent Seven"], George Peppard, Sybil Danning, and Morgan Woodward, among others. Story is so sincerely told, and engaging that it won me over, despite being highly unoriginal. Works best for kids, but adults may get the same nostalgic affection for it.

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Corman's Greatest Space Film

Author: gavin6942 from United States
22 February 2013

A young farmer (Richard Thomas) sets out to recruit mercenaries to defend his peaceful planet, which is under threat of invasion by an evil tyrant (John Saxon) and his armada.

What happens if you take Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" and put it in space? Well, it might be something like this, because that was the direct inspiration behind this film. Is this as great a film as Kurosawa's? Of course not. Is it as good as the western remake, "Magnificent Seven"? No. But this is still a worthy film, and it has a very tongue-in-cheek temperament that strongly suggests they knew what they were doing was out of love but not necessarily top notch.

Although I enjoyed the appearance of John Saxon as a space villain (in his pre-"Elm Street" days), the real praise must go to James Horner, whose score was quite good for a Corman production. Should we be surprised that we went on to great things? Allegedly, this is also the film that sparked the partnership between Gale Anne Hurd and James Cameron, too... so it can be indirectly responsible for such great films as "Aliens".

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Entertaining low budget sci-fi

Author: Tweekums from United Kingdom
17 November 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When the evil tyrant Sador arrives at the planet Akir he announces that that if the people don't surrender when he returns in seven days he will use his 'stellar converter' to destroy the planet. Being a peaceful populace they have no chance of defeating him but one elderly man, Zed; who was their last warrior, says he has a fighting ship; he is too old to use it himself but another man, named Shad, offers to leave Akir in the ship and go and recruit mercenaries to fight the battle for them. He then sets about securing the services of a varied group that includes a wealthy assassin; the Nestor, a group of five clones that share a consciousness; a voluptuous Valkyrie warrior; Cowboy, a space-trucker from Earth; Nanelia, the daughter of an old friend of Zed. By the time they return to Akir they have seven ships ready to fight Sador; they are severely outgunned and many of them won't make it but they will fight him anyway!

This film's low budget shows; the special effects look distinctly ropey when compared to big budget films of the time; for the most part they aren't terrible though and it is interesting to know that James Cameron; master of mega-budget special effects learnt his craft on a film like this. The story is solid enough; which one would expect given that is basically the plot of 'Magnificent Seven'... which itself is based on 'The Seven Samurai'. When the action starts it pretty good and there are plenty of comic moments that should raise a smile. The cast to a decent enough with Richard 'John-boy Walton' Thomas playing protagonist Shad and John Saxon hamming it up as the evil Sador, also present are two better known actors; Robert Vaughn and George Peppard... it isn't their best work by a long way but they do add to the proceedings. This is hardly a must see film but if you like moderately camp low budget sci-fi it is worth watching on television.

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Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)

Author: SnakesOnAnAfricanPlain from United Kingdom
29 December 2011

Seven Samurai is my favorite film of all time. It's perfection. The Magnificent Seven is also a fantastic movie. In 1980, Roger Corman brought us this slice of budget sci-fi. Taking the classic story and reworking it to slide nicely into the Star Wars excitement, Battle Beyond the Stars is a mishmash tapestry of cheapness, but some genuinely great bits. The recruitment scenes go on far too long, with Thomas having to travel through space, rather than just one city. The warriors themselves are boiled down to pretty darn simple emotions/motives. Obviously, Seven Samurai had the benefit of a 220 Minute running time, but they could have tried a bit harder. Thomas is a great hero, the simple, gentle man thrown into a world of war. His progression is well charted and works a treat. Some of the practical effects are nice, and some are even too cheap for my taste. A space setting is a great way to update the classic tale, but unfortunately this film wrote checks that it was unable to cash.

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Akir v Sador

Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
28 August 2011

Co-produced by Roger Corman and Ed Carlin, Battle Beyond the Stars is directed by Jimmy T. Murakami and written by Anne Dyer and John Sayles. It stars Richard Thomas, Robert Vaughn, George Peppard, John Saxton and Darlanne Fluegel. Music is by James Horner and cinematography by Daniel Lacambre. Plot is Seven Samurai/The Magnificent Seven as Star Wars.

We know it's a rip-off, but it's a lovingly crafted cheesy rip-off, the kind of cheap space adventure we thrilled to when our age was in single figures. Budget has been spent on securing "names" Vaughn (reprising his role from Mag 7) and Peppard, leaving one James Cameron to produce a set design out of McDonalds cartons and hypermarket boxes, with that knowledge in mind, it comes out as a glorious achievement. From Russ Meyer influenced spaceships, to the trippy costumes, the look and feel of the film is a triumph over adversity. Story moves briskly and the recycled action gladdens the heart, and there's no little imagination used to form the narrative, telegraphic beings feeling as one, woo-hoo! While the cast can not be faulted for effort, attacking the material with gusto and a glint in the eye.

Endearing and fun for those prepared to let the inner child out during the viewing. 6/10

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Don't take it seriously and you gonna have fun.

Author: badoli from Vienna, Austria
29 August 2010

In the wake of Star Wars a lot of movies were produced trying to score on the popularity of sci-fi at the time. Eager studios surprised by the success of the George Lucas movies were all too glad to pour money into these productions for the hope of some fast bucks.

"Battle Beyond the Stars" even goes so far to mimic the title of it's role model, along with several spaceship designs. To mix up the stars'n'lasers-theme they throw in a "seven samurai"-plot, several known actors and a playmate sex bomb as the cherry on top. Alas, the special effects pale in comparison, the design is visibly inferior and the story barely scrapes the surface.

Yet to say that the movie is a plain ripoff wouldn't do it right. There are some funny ideas, interesting characters and some humorous scenes, that can surely be enjoyed. So if you refrain from comparing it with the Star Wars series, you surely can have a fun time here.

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True, it's not that bad

Author: Raymond from Finland
8 August 2010

I just caught this for the first time and was wondering why I never saw this in the theaters or VHS as I grew up with the original Star Wars trilogy. This must've had an age limit of 16 (altho there seem to have been a cut version also) in Finland. And rightly so, as cheeky and childish as it may seem, there are scenes where you have blood spraying from ones ear. Back in the day this was enough to restrict a movie from anyone below 16, today we have a different world..

It's pretty entertaining for a Star Wars geek with all the similarities in music, wipe cuts and so on, it really did strike a few goose bumps here and there, even having never seen it before. There are some amazing optical effects and matte paintings, altho it often falls into Star Trek world where some of the supposed outdoor scenes are painfully studiolike. Now that I think about it, this is where Lucas could've gone wrong, but luckily he shot his on location.

The script and dialog are good, but the actors just don't cut it. There's nothing heroic or cool with the leading couple. I'm not sure how they've stacked up in the 80's, but now they are just geeky and nerdy, and not in a good way. Michael York in Logan's Run comes to mind. But then again the whole movie is very geeky, it's difficult to say if there was anything cool ever.

Must be seen for any movie geek just for it's amazing crew (Corman, Sayles, Cameron, Horner..).

The spaceship with titties has been discussed already, but there are other "references" too. Look for a rock wall that looks exactly like a pu.. well, you'll see it when you see it.

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I see these ships everywhere

Author: joelhedge from United States
9 June 2008

Who can forget that spaceship flown by "Shad" (Richard Walton). It looked like a uterus and ovaries! They must have invested in having many ship designs for this movie. I have seen the same ships in so many other low-budget movies. I think the footage of the spaceship exteriors is getting licensed. I just saw them in "Last Exit to Earth" (1996). It is funny to see the same footage represent good guys in one movie and then bad guys in another movie. All of them are sub par but must be loved for the earnest messes they are. Right when Science Fiction films were becoming big budget blockbusters "Battle Beyond the Stars" was the answer no one asked for. This movie has a shock value derived from it's schlock value. This movie would have been forgotten if it weren't so amateurish that it was available cheap for endless showings on cheap cable channels. I ought to watch it again.

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