May the 4th Needs a Fifth, I Think

Yeah, yeah. I kind of don’t like the over-celebrating thing when it comes to some stuff I appreciate, but that’s the way things are these days. Still, a little tribute is in order to a film that deserves it (well, in its original format), so here’s mine.

Perspective from an old fart who knows stuff: There was not a hint of internet nor the sort of over-speculation we suffer though today way back in 1976 when I was sitting in a movie theater and saw this teaser for the first time:

(Thanks, thecoolman!)

I vaguely recall being really curious about this upcoming film because it looked completely different than anything I could recall seeing (hey, I was only 12 at the time), yet it seemed really familiar in a few ways to stuff I’d seen on the local PBS station. At that point, I had zero idea of what a homage was or a way to grasp that George Lucas was borrowing from the past to create his own futuristic adventure (what was curiously, set in the distant past). Anyway, I noted the non-date and filed the film away in the memory banks as something to look forward to seeing. Those school friends I knew were either not interested at all or worse, had a low opinion of sci-fi films that extended to books and comics of the period. So only a rare few of the kids I knew even cared about this film before and to some extent, after it was released.

The most amusing modern thing in regards to this teaser is the Official Star Wars YT channel has an (intentionally?) embarrassing low quality teaser while other non-official sites have not only better quality ones, but one that’s been redone to include footage found in the actual release print. Granted, while MUCH prettier, I find that clip problematic because it’s redone history that erases the fact that the teaser was supposed to be cruder thanks to the film still being nowhere near completion a about a year out from its eventual release date. Sure, film fans didn’t know this and other that tiny bits (VERY tiny) of information dropped in a few sci-fi mags of the era. But that all changed as 1977 rolled around and more info as well as the successful Star Wars comic book appeared. I avoided the comic for a while, but eventually collected most of its run over time, enjoying a good deal of what I was reading (including stuff now FAR outside the current canon)

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Two More Reasons To Grab Message From Space On DVD…

Sure, it’s not the best sci-fi flick out there, but there’s a certain crazy exuberance in these clips that makes Message From Space pretty hilarious in its own right. Yeah, I like bad films as well as great ones, so sue me. or at least watch this one and some of the others I recommend from time to time. You’ll get an education on cinema and not have to pay too much to some silly film school where all you’ll learn is you’ve gone into debt and no one will hire you to work on a feature film because you spent too much time in class listening to some old guy telling you there’s nothing better than Citizen Kane. Which is true in some respects, but there are a LOT of great (and not so great) movies in other genres worth seeing…

Random Film of the Week: Message From Space FINALLY Gets A DVD Release!


 

Message From SpaceWay back in 1978, if you somehow STILL didn’t see Star Wars even when the film got its big re-release (or was still running in some theaters), this was another one of those “replacement” flicks you may have gotten taken to instead (or had to settle for if it was running at a theater nearby the one where Star Wars was playing). Famed Japanese director Kinji Fukusaku (Battle Royale) whipped up a first-rate “B” movie that yes, takes a lot of inspiration from George Lucas’ space opera, but also adds bits from anime and Japanese samurai flicks plus a few other things and the result is an instant cult classic (well, in my book). The effects team did some pretty amazing things in the model shots that give many of them a more kinetic look than what ILM did earlier, but the tradeoff is the acting in the latter film sticks to everyone mugging it up for the camera in their own ways… Continue reading