Message from Space ★★★★

I've been sick of Star Wars ever since it came back, so it's been kinda refreshing to finally catch up on all of the ripoffs that were produced in the immediate wake of that original film. In a way, this feels less like a ripoff than it does an adaptation, taking plot beats and characters from Star Wars and localizing them for a Japanese audience.

This doesn't quite match the pure joy of Starcrash, but Fukasaku is a much better director than both Cozzi (who I still love) and Lucas, and this reminds me a lot of some of his other work-for-hire adaptation work like Black Lizard and Doberman Cop. It's less straight space opera and more pop-art fever dream, more inclusive and colorful than any of the Star Wars movies and loaded with gorgeous production design, tokusatsu-style miniatures and Fukasku's trademark frantic handheld camerawork. It's technically a ripoff, yeah, but this feels like one of the few that transcends that label. Beba-2 is my spirit robot.