14 June 2006

Disappearing Ink XVII - Starchaser: The Legend of Orin

What if you were to ripoff (er um I mean be inspired by) two of the coolest franchises of the 80's. Well, you might make Starchaser: The Legend of Orin. You would have stone hunting slaves in a fire cave, with a desperate need to be liberated (Temple of Doom), message bearing holograms (help me Obi-Wan, you're our only hope), lasers, whips, laserwhips, cylons (also a star wars "inspiration"), androids, smugglers, and of course a princess. For a hint of originality, you might add some body part hunting mandroids along with a synthesizer based score to spice things up. Lastly, throw in a "She"-3PO for the women's libers, and call it a day. The surprise is, that in spite of its heavy Star Wars influence, Orin actually delivers. After all, Star Wars (at least the Original Trilogy) gained its following for a reason. It was fun. Starchaser: The Legend of Orin is able to reproduce that space opera feel in an all new star warsish adventure. What more could you ask for? And at least Orin doesn't pretend to not be copying Star Wars (notice the tagline "the search for the force is over...").

The story begins with Orin finding a mystical sword hilt in the fire mines run by the evil Zygon. He begins a quest to find the blade, but oddly, the bladeless hilt still proves fatal in Orin's hand. This weapon seems to conjure up an invisible blade helping Orin slice his way out of danger. Soon enough, Luke, I mean Orin teams up with Han, er I mean Dagg. Eventually Orin meets his princess, who luckily is not his sister, and they fall in love. And the rest of the movie continues about like you would expect with space battles, swordfights and such, but it is fun to watch nonetheless. Oddly enough, the Starchaser spaceship with swivel mounted engines seems to have inspired the Serenity of the short but sweet Firefly series. Overall, the animation is decent, and I would love to have seen this film in 3D as it was originally screened, but I had to settle for the good old flat on the TV screen version.

Like most sci-fi animation, Orin did not bring in big results at the box office. I doubt the just over $3 million take was enough to justify the budget of the first 3D animated film. Maybe if the film had done better we would have learned that Zygon was really Orin's father. Of course if you have actually seen this movie, you would realize that last statement was a joke. Ha ha. Still, while the film is entertaining, its familiarity must be considered in assigning a score. Orin should definitely be checked out by all fans of stellar wars, though you might be sad to know that of all the elements carried over from Star Wars, there are no wookies. As such, Orin earns a B-.

Check out my past reviews:
A Grand Day Out With Wallace and Gromit
The Last Unicorn
Fire & Ice
Strings
The Sword in the Stone
Wizards
Metropolis
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
Anastasia
Princess Mononoke
The Black Cauldron
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Grave of the Fireflies
The Iron Giant
Kaena: The Prophecy

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