The Ice Pirates (1984)
Directed by Stewart Raffill
Featuring Robert Urich, Mary Crosby, Michael D. Roberts
What it is: Comic space opera
In the future where water is the most valuable commodity, a group of space pirates are captured by the empire that controls ice, but rescued by a princess who wishes to secure their help to find her missing father.
Right off the bat you'll be able to tell that this was inspired by the Star Wars movies, and that it plans to take a comic approach to the story. It's got a likable cast of familiar faces (Robert Urich, Angelica Huston, John Matuszak and Ron Perlman), and it lopes along well enough for the first twenty minutes or so. But then the fact that the characters aren't particularly well-developed and that the story is somewhat muddled start to take their toll, and the humor starts to miss a lot more often than it hits. There's a disappointing cameo from John Carradine, lots of mildly amusing robots, a running joke inspired by ALIEN that falls flat, and I'm still wondering if that was Angelo Rossitto I saw for a moment (there's no credit for him on IMDB). Reportedly, Max von Sydow makes a cameo appearance, but when and where I can't say. The ending final battle in which characters keep warping through time and aging rapidly is clever in concept, confusing and strange in execution. By the time the movie ended, I was just glad it was all over; it was one of those movies that showed some promise before careening out of control.