Case Number 03202: Small Claims Court

STAR CRYSTAL

Anchor Bay // 1985 // 93 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // August 14th, 2003

The Charge

It is the year 2035.
Scientists have discovered a new form of life.
They're about to wish they hadn't.

The Case

During a routine expedition to Mars, astronauts find a curiously shaped rock underneath the soils of the red planet. But what is hidden inside the rock is not granite or quartz -- it's an unknown alien species that's out to wreak havoc on mankind! After the alien life form destroys an orbital space station (looking like six Lego blocks and a tinker toy), a band of survivors escapes in a small shuttlecraft. However, they crew is low on supplies, precious food and oxygen, making for a very uncomfortable trip. To make matters worse, the alien life form has also hitched a ride, and this stowaway has no plans to stay hidden. As one by one the crew falls victim to the slimy creature, two survivors must keep their wits about them if they're to make it back home and keep from dying at the hands...err, tentacles...of the creature from the Star Crystal!

There are bad movies, and then there are BAD movies. And then if you go beyond that, you get something like Star Crystal -- it's like a naughty puppy that just crapped on your rug. Here is a movie -- or better put, a flat out rip-off -- that is so ineptly acted and produced that it practically begs to have Ed Wood's name slapped into the opening credits sequence. An obvious Alien wannabe, Star Crystal meanders from cheeseball set to cheeseball set, stopping along the way only to let the characters fill in the running time with deadwood dialogue. The special effects appear to have been cobbled together from the life savings of a 15 year old -- in fact, if I didn't know better I'd swear that the whole thing looks as if it were filmed inside some giant office building on the east side of Los Angeles. As the story putters along, we're introduced to various characters who we could not possibly care less about. I'd name names, but why embarrass those who are most likely already in hiding due to embarrassment? Doug Katsabos' electronic music score sounds like a parody of sci-fi scores from the 1980s -- and yet, here it is in all its straight-faced yet ridiculous glory. As for the creature -- which is surely the draw for most unsuspecting viewers -- he's a cross between E.T., an adorable snail, and child prodigy Haley Joel Osment. In other words, who the hell thought this was a good idea?!?! As the movie progressed, I began shaking my head in disbelief. Everything about this movie screamed "Z-grade," and from my vantage point, it was a high-pitched, blood curdling cry. The final scene is one of the most laughable in all of Hollywood history. After the creature has killed all but two of the crewmembers, the survivors finally come face to face with the ship's drooling monstrosity. And then what? A climactic battle? A fight to the death? No. The creature and the humans have a touchy feely conversation, then decide to live together in peace. The final shots are of the humans spoon feeding the beast, fixing the ship and -- dear God, here it comes -- playing Chinese checkers together. I guarantee you won't laugh harder in all your years on this planet.

Star Crystal is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, and God bless Anchor Bay for doing a decent job with a title that deserves to be in the bottom of the bargain bin at Wal-Mart. This transfer is in only mediocre shape -- the colors and black levels are all a bit worn and fuzzy. It's very obvious from the grain and dirt that this was a low budget feature from the '80s -- I think that if we gave it an official term, I'd say it was filmed in glorious "crap-o-vision." While the transfer is only so-so, you have to give credit to Anchor Bay for always giving their best, even when it's for a film as bad as Star Crystal. The soundtrack is presented in a lackluster Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono mix in English. There isn't a whole lot to say about this track -- there's a small amount of distortion and hiss bleeding into the mix. Once again, this isn't Anchor Bay's fault but instead is due to Star Crystal's very low budget (total: $45.98). No alternate subtitles or soundtracks are included on this disc.

Thankfully, there isn't a single extra feature to be found on this disc. And if you're disappointed, you obviously need to be shot into outer space with only Star Crystal as your entertainment.

Review content copyright © 2003 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 46

Perp Profile
Studio: Anchor Bay
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 1985
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks
* None

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0092006/combined