Battle Beyond the Stars ★★★½

I kept getting a strange feeling of borderline nostalgia watching this. Had I seen this as a kid and simply forgotten it? Perhaps the memory of it was fizzing away, buried deep within my mind. Battle Beyond the Stars is one of the most enjoyable Star Wars cash-ins I've seen. We get the great John Saxon hamming it up as the film's villain. George Peppard rolling his eyes in the background of shots. And Robert Vaughn picking up a pay cheque. Though the film is clearly made on a low budget, the effect work and art direction (by the legendary James Cameron) is really impressive. The design of the ships are excellent and the space scenes look really great. The make-up effects on the other hand are pretty shoddy. While the villain's pig-like henchmen look cool, Saxon himself looks like a Bowie impersonator. James Horner's music keeps things moving along and makes the film seem classier than it is. I'm surprised to read a lot of reviews saying how boring this film is. I was decently entertained from start to finish. The John Sayles script has enough ham to keep things enjoyable and even throws in a few interesting concepts and characters. This is solid Corman trash that kickstarted a career or two.