Hello and welcome back to My Journey into Science-Fiction Part: 23. Starchaser: The Legend of Orin is a film that I have watched before, in another life. Not literally, but something felt familiar as I watched the trailer for the film. The film was directed and produced by Steven Hahn and written by Jeffrey Scott.. The film was released on November 22nd 1985 and was one of the first animated movies to mix traditional and computer animation. In Part: 22, I visited War of the Worlds, 1953 and if you would like to read about that or where my journey began, please click on the link below.
When I sat down to watch this film, I was expecting little more than a trip down memory lane. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I guess I will explain the plot of the film first. It’s the hero’s journey and gives us the story of Orin, a slave on the planet Trinia. For hundreds of years, humans have been used to mine crystals by a god named Zygon.
One day as Orin works in the mine, he finds a sword hidden in the rubble. Hopps, the grandfather of Orin’s girlfriend, Elan recognises the sword and gives up his life for Orin to keep it. Orin later takes the sword into his hands, and a man projects himself in front of him and speaks of another world and freedom. After that, the blade disappears and leaves the hilt on the ground. Orin and his girlfriend set out to find this new world. Well, he has to leave his blind brother behind but promises to return for him one day!
After a battle with Zygon’s robots, Orin and Elan find themselves in a processing plant and something far more modern than the caves they live in. Before the couple has their first taste of freedom, Zygon arrives and informs the pair of slaves that one only person has managed to escape the caves before. Zygon then strangles Elan to death before turning his attention to Orin, who pulls out the hilt and distracts him. Meanwhile, Zygon’s robots fire on a crystal deposit by accident and cause an explosion that kills Orin, and the story ends. Only joking, Orin survives and reaches the surface of this new world, promising to return and free the slaves and avenge his girlfriend Elan.
The story of Orin and his destiny to free the slaves and his brother is perfectly fine. But I will say, I wasn’t really enthralled by it. It’s probably one of the reasons why I couldn’t remember it in the first place. There are, however, some wonderful elements to this tale. I did like Zygon and found it pretty interesting that he believed the next step for evolution was the rise of artificial intelligence and the end of mankind.
Upon its release, the film was criticised for its apparent similarity to Star Wars, but it also had elements of Pink Floyd The Wall, The Lord of the Rings 1978 animated film and The Brave Little Toaster. Donald W. Ernest edited the last two films I mentioned, and I was glad to find that connection. By the way, The Brave Little Toaster is one of the finest films ever made, in my humble opinion. Speaking of connections that pleased me. I’m a fan of Adam Savage’s YouTube Channel, and every once in a while, he says “Hello Ladies and Germs” Orin and a Han Solo type mercenary named Dagg, are visiting a city called Toga-Toga and a slave auctioneer says those exact words! I’m claiming that one.
I did enjoy some of the animation and some of the background paintings are like fine works of art, the soundtrack is pretty enjoyable, and some of the designs and aesthetics used look amazing. The Starchaser for one looks pretty spectacular, but also functional.
There is a simple robot design that I think is my favourite now, sorry Gonk! Aviana, the daughter of Bordogon’s Governor has her own personal droid and he is perfect. After all, if we were going to have a robot in this day and age, surely it would look something like him.
I just needed something to get lost in something for a couple of hours and this worked perfectly. My only real gripe is, that there is something really good in this film and it somehow gets lost along the way. You have some mythology that is similar to Lord of the Rings, some real eye rolling adult humour that is a real product of its time and this wonderful story of Zygon and his plans to end humanity. It feels like the creators were used to quick pace storytelling on Saturday morning cartoons, while ticking all the boxes on what was unique in popular culture at that moment. For me, they didn’t need those similarities to other works, they could have created a universe that was truly unique for themselves.
I can understand that some people would have loved watching this at home on VHS or be one of the lucky ones to watch it in 3D at the cinema and still cherish it all these years later. For a newcomer, I’m not sure how they would feel? If you decide to watch this film for the first time, I would love to hear your thoughts about it! I will definitely visit this film again one day. It was a little hard to find a platform to watch it on google, but I did find something on YouTube that helped me find out.
One final thing I did notice, it’s pretty irrelevant but also funny. The credits used in the opening shots are just like the ones used in Star Trek Deep Space Nine, it’s always nice to see those kinds of similarity.
I guess that leaves me looking for a place to visit next on my Journey into Science-Fiction? Atlantic Entertainment Group, which distributed Starchaser, had a couple of sci-fi classics on their filmography. One was Night of the Comet and the second and most famous one, 1984. It was a tough decision, but I will be visiting the British dystopian science fiction film 1984. I want to do this film justice, and along with reading the book, I will try and learn as much as I possibly can about it. It may be sometime before I’m back, but I’m ready for the challenge.