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Message from Space Message from Space, a bargain-rack Japanese Star Wars clone, stars Vic Morrow as the token American. Responding to a plea for help from a faraway planet, A young, idealistic four-person crew hurtles to the rescue. Along for the ride are two funny robots. As could expected from the Toei Studios, Message from Space is a clearing house of good, bad, and "aw come on!" special effects. Vic Morrow followed this film triumph with the equally unforgettable The Evictors (79) and Humanoids from the Deep (80). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Japanese camp classic finally hits DVD!
Posted by: MonsterZeroNJ from: New Jersey on
Message From Space is Japan’s answer to Star Wars, though there are actually few similarities as this colorful and deliriously fun space adventure is actually based on a Japanese legend, The Legend of the 8 Samurai. Message tells the tragic story of the planet Jillucia, which is ravaged and conquered by the Gavanas led by tyrannical leader Rockseia XXII (Mikio Narita) and his henpecking mother (actor Hideyo Amamoto in drag). The Jillucians send out a distress in the form of 8 glowing seeds which legend says will lead 8 warriors picked by the gods to come to their defense. And Jillcucian Princess, Emeralida (Etsuko Shihom) leaves to follow them and gather the warriors to return with her. Soon a ragtag group of both would be and reluctant defenders including retired drunk, General Garuda (Vic Morrow), exiled Gavana, Prince Hans (Sonny Chiba) and a bunch of space racing slackers, are off to Jillucia to take on the invaders who have now set their sights on Earth. Directed by the versatile Kinji (Battle Royale) Fukasaku, Message From Space is a fast moving and delightfully silly and fun space opera with an abundance of entertainingly cheezy SPFX and numerous battles and action sequences as this unlikely group of heroes go up against an almost invincible empire. You can have a real blast if you go into it with the right mindset and the right beverages. Vic Morrow’s drunken space general and his faithful robot sidekick are worth watching it for alone. There is also some really imaginative art direction and spaceship designs including a ship that resembles an old sea galleon. Message looks more like a live action Manga then a Star Wars clone with it’s art deco sets and space samurai costumes. A really fun Saturday night film fest flick that would make a great double feature with Roger Corman’s Battle Beyond The Stars. Also starring Philip Casnoff, Hiroyuki Sanada, Peggy Lee Brennan and Masazumi Okabe as Aaron, Shiro, Meia and Jack respectively, the young space slackers who become heroes. Message has just become available for the first time on a beautifully remastered DVD from the awesome people at Shout Factory!
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Japanese Star Wars
Posted by: 234899835498345978 from: Michigan on
As the summary says, this movie was heavily influenced by the release of the original Star Wars shortly after its release. While it does have an original story, you can certainly see the inspiration taken from Star Wars.
Message From Space was the largest budget, Japanese movie in its time and it shows. Anyone familiar with any Japanese sci-fi or action movie will easily recognize the use of many detailed models for ships and buildings.
Though Star Wars gave us never before seen special effects and ships built in scales that no one had ever attempted before, Message From Space shows that Japanese miniature film-making is still some of the best.
If you are starting a collection of Star Wars "rip off" movies as I have, this is one that certainly needs to be in your collection. If you're expecting Star Wars, you will be disappointed, but if you go into it knowing it is a Japanese movie and don't mind, you will enjoy this one.
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