The movie, I knew, had been made in Japan not that long after Star Wars, although a certain number of comments I saw that acknowledged its similarities to productions like "Battlestar Galactica" and The Black Hole added there was a scene near the end declared to anticipate Return of the Jedi, as if to keep it from being too quickly dismissed. In any case, things started with the people of an invaded world (all of who have leaves around their head), trying to resist their silver-faced invaders, cast eight glowing space walnuts in the void to seek out heroes (every time someone finds one of the space walnuts, the score sounds exactly like "Princess Leia's Theme" for the first few notes), and their own princess and her loyal retainer head out in a full-rigged space galleon (this looked rather distinctive compared to all the other model spaceships in the movie) to follow up.
One amusing resemblance among all the others did make more of an impact on me, perhaps. It seemed that like the Star Wars movies themselves, Message From Space had an unapologetic element of whimsy and absurdity. A robot with a good amount of "comedy relief" to it was one thing, but the heroes could have their own strange sides too. This might have tied in with occasional thoughts (if more during certain special effects sequences) that I could imagine this movie fitting in with the Sandy Frank productions of the gentler third season of Mystery Science Theater 3000... although I was careful to avoid trying to think of "riffs" for it, narrowing the experience down. Too, I supposed the movie was just too long to fit into a ninety-minute TV show (after the commercials are taken out).
Just as people had said, some of the heroes concluded the movie by flying into the access tunnels of the enemy stronghold to blow up its reactor; it wasn't quite an exact model for the flight into the Death Star in Return of the Jedi to my resistant eyes, though. Perhaps there I was remembering how the heroes had earlier flown into an asteroid belt and there got out of their spaceships adding only oxygen masks to their usual outfits (one of which, I later realised, included rainbow suspenders) to try and catch "space fireflies"; unlike with The Empire Strikes Back, you couldn't make comments about them at least being "inside" something larger. In any case, the DVD included a genuine booklet in its case, something you don't seem to see any more these days.
This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/197841.ht