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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Starcrash [Blu-ray]

 

(Luigi Cozzi, 1978)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: New World Pictures

Video: Shout! Factory

 

Disc:

Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:31:38.451

Disc Size: 23,833,396,548 bytes

Feature Size: 14,695,796,736 bytes

Video Bitrate: 15.35 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 14th, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2429 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2429 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1702 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1702 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Posters:

 

 

Extras:

• Two Audio Commentary By Writer and Starcrash Expert Stephen Romano

1st - Making of the Film - in 1970's fantastic cinema

2nd - Scene by Scene, Production Trivia, Anecdotes and Critical Analysis
New Interview With Writer/Director Luigi Cozzi (aka Lewis Coates) - 41:24 in HD!

Trailers - Theatrical (lone or optional Joe Dante OR Eli Roth commentary) French theatrical, and U.S. TV and radio spots.

Starcrash: The Music of John Barry - commentary by Mars of Deadhouse Music - 12:53 in HD!
Extensive Stills Galleries including Behind-The-Scenes Photos, Posters, Stills, Original Production Art And Storyboards

2nd disc dual-layered DVD:

•  17 Deleted Scenes (from the 5-minute longer 'director's cut' - shown in Europe) - 36:32 in SD

• New Interview With Actress Caroline Munro Discussing Her Time As Stella Star And A Look At Her Career (1:12:51 in SD)

• A Look At The Film’s Special Effects With Special Effects Director Armando Valcauda (23:57 in SD)

• Behind the Scenes Footage with commentary (19:46)

• Screenplay in PDF format

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Prepare yourself for a vintage science fiction adventure film you will never forget, as the sultry Stella Star (Caroline Munro) and her alien sidekick Akton (Marjoe Gortner) team up with robot lawman Elle (Judd Hamilton) on a high adventure to save the universe. It is a cosmic mash-up of daring escapes, wild special effects, beautiful women in sexy space bikinis and nonstop action on a dozen alien worlds. Roger Corman presents the ultimate European space opera, a colorful and dazzling chase through the galaxy that will blast you through the blackness of a hundred million nights!

Kicked into hyperspace by a maelstrom of ingenious low-budget special effects and the talents of Academy Award winning composer John Barry, the film was a smash hit in 1979 when the wild and humorous sci-fi adventure hit theatres. For over 30 years the film has gained a massive cult following, inspiring devoted legions of Crashers, fan clubs and more. Now, for the first time on Blu-ray, the film is presented in a deluxe two-disc special edition.

***

A pair of smugglers manage to pick up a castaway while running from the authorities, who turns out to be the only survivor from a secret mission to destroy a mysterious superweapon designed by the evil Count Zartham. The smugglers are soon recruited by the Emperor to complete the mission, as well as to rescue the Emperor's son, who has gone missing.

 

 

The Film:

A trash-addict sci-fi spectacular from AIP in which Stella Star (Munro) and sundry buddies leap millions of light years around the universe, with enviable nonchalance and a distinct lack of consideration for the laws of nature. Their mission: to save Imperialism from Something Far Worse, and along the way to provide for Stella's future by convincing Plummer's heir apparent that, despite her bizarre style of dress, she'd make a neat Empress one day. .

Excerpt from TimeOut London located HERE

Labelling Luigi Cozzi’s Starcrash simply a bad film does it a disservice. This film is a landmark in the history of bad science fiction, so gloriously ignorant of just how horrible it truly is on every level that it becomes transcendent. Put it this way: it is so fully in keeping with the general nature of the film that I am tempted to believe that the mis-spelling of David Hasselhoff’s name on the front cover of the recent French DVD release as David Asselhoff is entirely intentional. Or, to put it another way, simply keep in mind that Hasselhoff’s performance in a key supporting role is easily the film’s highest point.

Excerpt from Todd Brown at Twitch located HERE

 


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
 

Another release that fits in snuggly with the Corman Shout! Factory Blu-ray features (under the 'Cult Classic' label) that we've previously covered - Piranha, Humanoids From the Deep, Death Race 2000 and Galaxy of Terror - however, it is not especially grainy but must be true to source - as the poor effects become very transparent in the higher resolution. Technically it is not strong being about double the bitrate of a well rendered, dual-layered DVD but while this doesn't disturb the presentation, predictably, detail never really rises to the status of modern films rendered to the new medium. Close-ups though - can be surprisingly sharp. Many will appreciate the lack of digital manipulation. This is most likely a faithful representation of the original film as the screen captures below should indicate. It is in in 1.78 aspect ratio and nothing rises to an overly impressive level but that is right in-line with comments from folks who departing the original theatrical presentation. The Blu-ray appears to do its job as well as necessary for the hokey visuals - just keep your expectations modest.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Shout Factory offer two lossless tracks - a 5.1 DTS-Master at 2429 kbps and a stereo 2.0 channel at 1702 kbps. It won't rattle your floorboards - separations in the surround aren't aggressive. John Barry's score seems to benefit the most sounding quite good at times. Dialogue is occasionally drowned out by the loud effect noises. We have to remember though this was a Corman production - meaning low budget. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

 

Extras :

Personally, I wasn't that keen on either of the 2 audio commentaries by writer and Starcrash Expert Stephen Romano (he's seen the film 500 times!) It's nice to hear enthusiasm once he finally gets going but I'm sure the 'A'-list of fans of Starcrash will get more out of these soliloquies than I did. The first covers more the making of the film quite generously in relation to 70's culture and the second has discusses scene by scene, production tidbits, second hand anecdotes etc. What might be more suitable is the new interview with Writer/Director Luigi Cozzi running almost 45-minutes in HD. It is in English and somewhat charming. Also on the Blu-ray we get a dozen minute featurette - Starcrash: The Music of John Barry - with commentary by Mars of Deadhouse and there are 5 trailers - theatrical (lone or optional Joe Dante OR Eli Roth commentary) French theatrical, and U.S. TV and radio spots. There are also some HD stills galleries including Behind-The-Scenes Photos, Posters, Stills, Original Production Art And Storyboards.

 

 

There is also a 2nd disc dual-layered DVD that has 17 deleted scenes (from the 5-minute longer 'director's cut' - shown in Europe) - last about 35-minutes in total plus a lengthy new interview with still cute, personable actress Caroline Munro discussing her time as 'Stella Star' as well as a look at her career. There is a look at the film’s special effects with special effects director Armando Valcauda for 23-minutes, 20-minutes of behind the scenes footage with Romano commentary and for those keen enough (who are you?) - the screenplay is available in PDF format.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Forget the multiple Star Wars riffs what about Flash Gordon - gee, that guy must be channeling Ming the Merciless and Stella Star (Caroline Munro) surely must shop at the same intergalactic mall as some of the incarnations of sexy Princess Aura, and how can we forget the gal robot in Metropolis that walks like Harryhausen's bronzed Talos from Jason and the Argonauts ? Okay, okay - past all the hokum - it is not that baaad (3 'a's) for a juvenile adventure but Starcrash's strongest suit is still in its kitsch appeal.  

 

Corman fans should indulge in this Blu-ray. If not for eye-popping visuals but for a clean, 'valid' a/v representation of another anti-classic with solid extras. It's hard not to recommend this package for under $20 - you can stick it in at any time and immediately be immersed in true exploitive, campy entertainment. It's funny how that works.  

Gary Tooze

September 6th, 2010

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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