Starchaser – The Legend Of Orin
Sound: C+ Extras: D 2-D version of film: C 3-D N/A
Though it was anxious to capitalize on the opening left by
the conclusion of the original Star Wars Trilogy, Steven Hahn’s animated
feature Starchaser – The Legend Of Orin (1985) did not quite hit the
mark, but the fledgling Atlantic Releasing had high hopes for the film. It was produced in the StereoScope 3-D
process, the last of six major releases after Comin’ At Ya!, Friday
The 13th – Part Three, Metalstorm, Space Hunter
and indie-produced Treasure Of The Four Crowns to feature the
format. Unfortunately, this new MGM DVD
does not have the 3-D version, something the company also skipped when they
released Amityville 3-D despite a real foreign 3-D version on DVD
(reviewed elsewhere on this site) being issued in a set with both versions.
As the film stands, the tale of the title character
escaping a slave-mining world called Mine-World does everything a space opera
usually does with heroes and villains.
Though it is technically an animated work, there is more rotoscoping
here than Ralph Bakshi could ever hope to pull off. Maybe this worked better in 3-D at least on a visual level, but
there is no telling from this flatter version.
As for the voice-overs, they show their age and along with the
colorful-but-limited art, remind on of either Titan A.E. or a TV
production. To its credit, it plays
better than later productions that throw in digital animation like so many bad
Animé series we have looked at of late.
For genre fans and animation fans, not to mention that growing 3-D crowd
thanks to a new wave of anaglyphic production, it is still worth a look despite
its many limits.
The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 x 1 image is colorful,
but the tradedown from 3-D to 2-D has caused some blurriness and definition
limits that would not be there otherwise.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has very limited surrounds and is a
disappointment in Pro Logic, showing that the sound is a generation down. Besides 3-D, the film was a Dolby A-type
analog theatrical sound release. There
is also the possibility a 70mm blow-up was done by Atlantic, but no one can
confirm this. If it is true, a 6-track
magnetic Dolby Stereo 4.1 mix exists and if a 3-D version is issued, hopefully
this better sound could be uncovered, if it existed to begin with. There are no extras, not even a trailer,
likely due to the fact it would indicate this was a 3-D release and MGM did not
want to remind audiences of this.
That’s a shame, but Starchaser – The Legend Of Orin is a
fascinating relic of the mid-1980s just before the new animation boom
arrived. If nothing else, see it for
some unintended laughs.
- Nicholas Sheffo