If Stratten Hadn't Headlined, This One Would Be Lost to the Ages
Apr 1, 2014
BARBARELLA. FLESH GORDON. CHERRY 2000. HELL COMES TO FROGTOWN. The more pulpy sci-fi films never shy away from taking advantage of female attributes. Heck, George Lucas threw in Princess Leia in a metal bikini as a way of paying homage to sci-fi singular fascination with the female form. Even Walt Disney’s JOHN CARTER didn’t shy away from parading the Barsoom princess – Dejia Thoris – as the sculpted beauty she is. So I’m confident when I suggest that GALAXINA’s writer/director William Sachs knew exactly what he wanted when he cast a budding Playmate in the lead role as a robot searching for love.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last two paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
Cornelius Butt (played by veteran funnyman Avery Schreiber) captained the police starship Infinity, but he spends more time belittling his officers, Thor (Stephen Macht) and Buzz (J.D. Hinton). Still, the hours spent away from Earth are hard on all of the men, but no one struggles more than Thor. His problems are tied to the fact that he’s head-over-heels in love with the ship’s resident android, Galaxina (a lovely Dorothy Stratten). However, when he spends 27 years in cryosleep on a deep space mission to find a new power source, the female automaton will reprogram herself so that not only can the two of them touch without restraint but also they might be able to find love … so long as it’s in the catalogue!
GALAXINA actually comes from a fairly long and relatively respectable list of reasonably well-made B-movies that titillate mildly while really dishing up no real skin. (As the film introduced the Playboy Playmate Stratten to celluloid, methinks many have sought out a copy hoping to survey her assets.) However, Stratten kept it all on here, though she does appear in a few provocative outfits. I’m guessing those who show up only for a flash of her bosoms or hindquarters are apt to leave disappointed; those of us who don’t mind a little ‘cheese’ with our movies know there’s just enough of the right stuff to make this worth a single viewing.
For those who are unfamiliar with Stratten’s story, I’d recommend a Google search. Her time in the limelight was tragically cut short when she was murdered by an obsessively possessive boyfriend she was trying to part ways with at the time; as a consequence of being stricken down before her time, a bit of a legend grew in the days following her demise. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the film STAR 80 tells her sad story, though I’ve read that it took some liberties when recounting the more positive memories of those who knew her best. My only complaint with the film is that it kinda/sorta tries to blend a traditional drama with a faux documentary (actors play both fictional and documentary roles), so the narrative feels a bit too ‘theatrical’ for my tastes.
As a film, there’s nothing all that much wrong with GALAXINA. It’s meant to parody the popular sci-fi films of the day – even a casual moviegoer will spot obvious jabs at STAR WARS (notice the opening scroll) and STAR TREK (Capt. Butt keeps a relatively humorous “captain’s log”) – and, on that front, I suppose it works well enough. It isn’t big, bold, or brash comedy; instead it’s bawdy and predictable. The men spend an awful lot of time aping for the camera, spoiling even small moments with their endless exaggerations (FYI: Schreiber built an entire career around such shtick). The laughs largely appeal to pre-pubescent males, who unfortunately couldn’t get in due to the film’s R rating. But as often happens, there’s also very little done ‘right’ in there, leaving the film mired in less-than-mediocre storytelling with jokes that feel rejected from one of the lesser Mel Brooks’ features.
Macht has a few nice moments in there, and Stratten is certainly easy on the eyes. You might find yourself rooting for them to get together, and, when they do, you’re probably left wondering, “Seriously, is that all there is?” A forgettable flick that probably would’ve disappeared to history if it hadn’t been for the Playmate’s brief flirtation with fame.
GALAXINA (1980) is produced by Marimark Productions. DVD distribution for this release (the Blu-ray double feature includes THE CRATER LAKE MONSTER) is being handled through Mill Creek Entertainment. As for the technical specifications, the film holds up surprisingly well here; while the sights are sounds are quality, there’s certainly a fair amount of grain in many images. Lastly, if it’s special features you want, then you’re about to be severely disappointed as there’s not a single one.
(MILDLY) RECOMMENDED. Odds are if you’ve heard of GALAXINA, then you’re destined to watch GALAXINA. While I’ll agree that there’s no better reason than to witness the stunningly beautiful Dorothy Stratten in her prime, there’s also a mild attempt at humor here, all served up in a B-movie package; sadly, it’s so ill-conceived and goofily performed that GALAXINA as a legitimate feature never really had a chance to be anything more than a curiosity. Don’t expect big things – rest assured, fellahs, that the lovely Ms. Stratten keeps her clothes on despite the R rating – and you might have a little fun with it.