directed by William Sachs
(Bci, 1980)

Galaxina may well be the dumbest, most boring science fiction film ever made. I was revving up to launch a full-scale assault of a review before the infinitely long opening credits ended -- but now two things are holding me back. First of all -- and heaven only knows why -- this thing started to grow on me toward the end. This is the kind of film you can look back on and laugh about, even though virtually all of the movie's spoofs and jokes fall flat as a fritter while you're watching it. Second of all -- and more importantly -- the tragic death of Dorothy Stratten looms large over Galaxina. This beautiful young woman, who really wasn't all that bad an actress, never lived to see its release -- or her 20th birthday. Hers is not the only tragic story among Playboy centerfolds (Stafford was Miss August 1979 and 1980's Playmate of the Year), but it is the most tragic. She was brutally murdered by her estranged husband, who then cowardly committed suicide.

It's obvious that 1980's Galaxina was designed as a spoof of Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien, 2001: A Space Odyssey and other contemporary science fiction films (and westerns, as well). As such, it really doesn't work. The jokes come hard and fast and often, but only a couple of them brought even the trace of a laugh to my lips. The first half of the film is also exceedingly boring. Most of the extremely eclectic crew members of the intergalactic police cruiser Infinity are just annoying -- and Galaxina (Dorothy Stratten) herself is just eye candy. As a robot -- an exceedingly human-like robot -- she silently controls the ship and spends most of her time just sitting in a chair fiddling with some of the gizmos inside her wrist (and, I must mention, completely clothed -- albeit in a form-fitting spacesuit. I'm actually glad that this film features no nudity; it would have been all too easy to stick the Playmate of the Year into a film and put her naked body on display, but it's always a really tawdry thing to do -- and it's not something I would want hanging over the memory of her tragic death at such a young age). Fortunately, Captain Cornelius Butt (Avery Schreiber) livens things up a little, and the rock-eating alien prisoner down in the brig makes good use of his limited screen time to steal the show more than once.

The guys have already spent seven years on their current mission and are anxious to return home. Unfortunately, Headquarters offers them an offer they can't refuse -- it's up to them to travel to a distant planet and retrieve the Blue Star (DOO WAH -- yes, they stupidly play music and make every one look around, like the Clampetts hearing the doorbell, every time those two words are said). That's a 27-year trip there and back. Sgt. Thor (Stephen Macht) had already developed romantic feelings for Galaxina (even though she's a robot and he can't even touch her without getting a serious electrical shock), but that whole unfeeling, silent robot thing seemed to be a pretty big impediment. While Thor and the guys are sleeping away the next 27 years, though, Galaxina has a lot of time to think -- and to reprogram herself.

Somebody spent a lot of time designing all manner of silly-looking aliens, but special kudos go to whoever came up with the idea of including a band of outlaw descendants worshipping their god Harley David Son. Sadly, though, nothing in this film is as funny as it was supposed to be. Still, I find myself liking this film more and more as I think about it (but I couldn't possibly tell you why).

review by
Daniel Jolley

14 August 2010

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