The year is 1978. Someone in Japan saw Star Wars and wanted to recreate that level of sci-fi magic without doing any of the things that actually made Star Wars magical. That being said, Message from Space really is rather entertaining as a space opera in the tradition of the old Flash Gordan serials. Naive, fun entertainment.
But it is not without its retro absurdities, so it is satisfying on many levels. It's extremely plot heavy; Wikipedia's synopsis is almost 2,700 words. I won't bore you with all that. I'll just say that the story doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it is very satisfying as a feel-good adventure movie. The costumes and airships alone are reason enough to watch Message from Space.
|Imagine Star Wars with these characters.|
Eight magic walnuts fly through the galaxy searching out heroes to save the world. Have fun figuring out why these eight in particular are chosen. A Princess Leia and her body guard (unhairy Chewbacca?) go in search of the heroes the walnuts have chosen. Vic Morrow plays a cross between Obi-wan Kenobi and Jack Flack from Cloak and Dagger. He finds his walnut in a glass of Scotch. A deposed prince played by Sonny Chiba is forced to fight against his own people to save the universe. Yeah, it's epic.
Then someone decides that the only way to save the world is to blow up the world.
|Parts also seem like a pagan Christmas pageant.|
There are plenty of awkward scenes: R2D2/Twiki on guard duty holding what appears to be a long flintlock musket. The heroes floating through space without space suits, collecting space fireflies in a meteor belt. Epic battles in which everyone has a laser pistol in one hand and a sword in the other. And Gredo wants to marry Princess Leia.
"Earth is on the verge of annihilation. That must not happen."
"Forget about your medals, [R2D2/Twiki]. There are more beautiful dreams in space."