See Depravity in Zero Gravity: The Ice Pirates (1984)

Digging through other peoples junk is a bit of a fetish of mine. If you are living in or around Southern Oregon, check out the row of Junk/Thrift Stores clinging to the fray of the country Highway 99. That is where I chanced upon the abandoned VHS for this review : The Ice Pirates (1984)187476_3

The Ice Pirates is going to capture you one of these days. Despite its misleading relegation to the junk bin of sci-fi fun, I highly recommend you take a rainy day this fall to indulge in  (or re-visit!) the unpretentious brilliance of this riotous space romp.

The plot is simple enough. In the not-so-distant future where wars have taken their toll on the environment, the galaxy’s water supply has all but dried up. Interplanetary riches have all converged in life’s only currency- Water.

The only source of water remaining is kept in blocks of ice and controlled by the Evil Templars on some dark planet.

There is a priceless scene where a small Alf-ish gnome is shining the shoes of a Templar general. “There will be no more spit with the shine, sir…” He mumbles. “Can’t afford it.” After the work is done, instead of tossing a coin, the Templar pulls a wet sponge out of his hip bag and carelessly squeezes it over the thirsty creature, who’s desperate attempt to collect drops of moisture from the fingertips of the general is a unsuspectingly gut wrenching image that stayed with me through the night.

Luckily, there are marauding groups of ice piratesicecol01.JPG with space age Robin Hood values. The only things that can stop Jason, our fearless pirate leader, from stealing ice from the rich Templars and giving to the poor aliens are the breasts of the rather irritating Princess Karina. In her defense however, she does manage to take control of the entire crew of ice pirates and bend them to her will, whatever wet sexual romp or suicidal time warp mission she has in mind.

There are many moments in this movie that might have you questioning my A+ rating of this film, but I dare you to give the film your full attention, and realize that their attention to detail is priceless. The cast is notably, casually integrated, the costumes are bemusingly retro (Napoleon and a Roman Gladiator?), and the themes of sustainability, poverty, and consolidation of power are tongue in cheekily relevant for this current day and age when we fail to “treasure” our own natural resources.

The awkward robots only know karate, there is plenty of 18th century pirate swordplay, despite the availability of laser guns, and the space herpes ( “It’s really not that dangerous!”) are truly terrifying.

IcePirates1-58-22-87Scenes recaptured from so many other early sci fi flicks make this film a much more successful ” Scary Movie” type spoof in many ways. Yet, despite its homage to everything we love about bad movies, I think the entire film is refreshing, engaging, (dare I say?) intelligent, and most of all, lazy day FUN.

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~ by Vy on October 4, 2009.

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