International Weirdness : “Star Knight”

Posted: September 5, 2011 in movies
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Original Spanish "Star Knight" Movie Poster

Hooooo-boy. It’s honestly hard to know where to begin when discussing/opining about Spanish co-writer/director’s 1985 bizarre sci-fi opus Star Knight (original Spanish title El Caballero Del Dragon) simply because the end result of Colomo’s efforts here is so comically bizarre as to defy description. But I’ll give it a go because that’s what I do.

First off, I don’t think Colomo had any overt desire to make a comedy here, although many aspects of the film are designed for good old-fashioned comic relief (the laughably Green Knight character being foremost among them). You don’t enlist the likes of Harvey Keitel (not that he’s listing this at the top of his resume or anything) and Klaus Kinski (who should always be referred to, I think, with an obligatory “fucking” inserted into the middle of his name — as in “that’s Klaus fucking Kinski, man”), I think what he was going for, it’s fair to say, is a good, old-fashioned “trippy” quasi-mystical flick that will really, ya know, absolutely blow your mind!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the problem is, the whole thing is so incompetently put together that it never had a chance, and the end result is one of those movies that, yeah, you really do have to see to believe, but not for the reasons Colomo intended.

First off, we might as well get the plot basics out of the way — in some unspecified medieval time, a knight named Klever (Keitel) is tasked with rescuing the beautiful princess he’s secretly in love with (Maria Lamor) by her father (Fernando Rey). The princess was apparently taken by a dragon who lives in a nearby lake, and oh yeah, Kinski’s on hand as Boetius, the obligatory mystic-seer- guy of the kingdom (who’s actually the root cause of all this trouble, as we come to find out). He’s also the only actor on hand who doesn’t appear to be totally mailing it in, and engages,a s you would expect, in his usual absolutely epic scenery-chewing. More power to him for at least giving a fuck.

Once Klever arrives at the lake, though, he quickly discovers things aren’t as he thought they were at all — for one thing, the “dragon” is actually a spaceship, and for another, the princess has gone and fallen in love with her humanoid-looking alien captor. Ah, the drama of it all —

"Yeah, okay, it's me, Harvey Keitel, but let's just keep the fact that I was in this between you and me, okay?"

So, you rightly ask, given such a world-class premise (*cough*) what could possibly go wrong? Well, for one thing there are the effects. For a movie made in 1985, most of the laser lights and glowing orbs and what have you on display here would look out place in terms of cheapness even 20 years earlier. Then there’s the incredibly ham-fisted dialogue — granted, given this was a Spanish film, maybe it looked better on paper and just got butchered by some inept translator. Even then, though, there’s no excuse for the truly atrocious dubbing. I swear, I thought Pieces (another Spanish effort) had the worst dubbing I’d ever seen, but this thing has it beat by a damn sight. Then there’s the way the plot quickly goes off the rails and never gets back on. Then there’s the laughably absurd poor-man’s mysticism that thinks it’s just so damn profound. And the aforementioned absolutely wooden acting by everybody knot named Kinski (sorry, by everybody not named fucking Kinski). And the less-than-convincing (to put it kindly) medieval costumes. And the languidly droll pacing. And — you get the idea.

The Green Knight, a show-stealer every time he pops up.

Don’t get me wrong, though — these aren’t reasons you shouldn’t see Star Knight, not by any means — they’re reasons you should. It’s a rare film indeed that sees its realizations fall so far below its intentions, and that’s always a glorious sight to behold. Star Knight wants to be Dune or 2001in terms of its epic scope and high-brow concepts, but it’s got the budget of an Italian postapocalyptic flick and is pursued with Ed Wood-level competence. The result is a dizzying spectacle of so-bad-it’s-goodness that makes, in the end, absolutely no sense whatsoever(nor should it, as that would ruin everything). And then there’s The Green Knight. Trust me when I say seeing this flick is well worth it for him alone.

One of several "Star Knight" DVD releases, this one from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment

Unless I’m very much mistaken, Star Knight has lapsed into the public domain, the end result being that there are a good half-dozen or so (at least) versions of it out there on DVD. The one I watched is from some outfit called Echo Bridge Home Entertainment, and while the full-frame transfer is clearly un-remastered and looks like crap, and the mono soundtrack sounds just as bad, from what I understand no one that’s put this out in the hopes of turning over a quick buck (good luck with that) has put any care into it whatsoever and so there’s no “better” version of it to be found amongst any of them. Needless to say, extras are non-existent in any and all incarnations, as well.

For the average movie watcher, Star Knight is a hokey, convoluted, unintelligible, hopelessly embarrassing mess for all involved. For conoisseurs of the truly wretched, however, it’s a gift from — well — the stars, I guess.

Comments
  1. Aaron Babcock says:

    Hmmm, yeah I really want to watch this now.

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