Battlestar Galactica

Year: 1979

Production: Universal

Director: Richard A. Colla

Starring: Lorne Greene, Richard L. Hatch, Dirk Benedict, Jane Seymour, Ray Milland, Lew Ayres, Maren Jenson

Screenwriter: Glen A. Larson

125 minutes; Color


Originally titled Star Worlds, as if it wasn't clear enough how derivative of Star Wars (1977) it was, Battlestar Galactica was the pilot for the teleseries of the same name, which, like the same producer's Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979), was released theatrically in Europe. Greene is the patriarchal commander of the Battlestar Galactica, leading a wagontrain of some 200 spaceships containing the survivors of the human race and searching the voids forthe haven of Earth. The film is accordingly a strange mix of the flight of the Israelites from Egypt, the Wagon Train teleseries and the views of Von Daeniken whose "God was an Astronaut" slogan the film literalizes.

Hatch and Benedict are the Luke Skywalker lookalikes, Jenson the Princess Leia clone and Muffit the bland version of the chirpy R2-D2. Larson's screenplay follows the destruction of the 12 colonies of mankind by the Cylon robots of Dick Durock's imperious leader and the first attempts by the travel-weary wagontrain to pitch camp on the planet Carilla, home of the seemingly peaceful Ovions who, in fact, are in league with the Cylons.

A surprise success, both on its theatrical release and on tv, in retrospect its juvenile orientation and the restrictions imposed on the project by its being on tv, the superior special effects (masterminded by producer John Dysktra of Star Wars fame) notwithstanding, make for a charmless clone of George Lucas' paean to the innocent delights of gee-whiz heroics.

The Overlook Film Encyclopedia - Science Fiction

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