James Helsby

LRE #17: Ice Pirates

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Little Red Envelope

In my mailbox this week:
Ice Pirates

Release Year: 1984
Staring: Robert Urich, Mary Crosby, Michael D. Roberts

Lets just accept it. The 80’s gave us both some of the most amazing, and the worst films to have ever been put on cellulose. A decade that produced classics like Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark, also gave use stinkers like Krull and Ice Pirates. Horrible? Yes. Awesome… Also Yes!

While the 80’s brought us a decade of awesomeness, specifically 1984 seemed to be the gem. Amadeus, Beverly Hills Cop, Breakin’, CHUD, Children of the Corn, Conan the Destroyer, The Dark Mirror, Dune, Footloose, Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Temple of Doom, Karate Kid, Last Star Fighter, Muppet’s take Manhattan, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Never Ending Story, Nightmare on Elm Street, Oh God, you Devil, Police Academy, Purple Rain, Red Dawn, Revenge of the Nerds, Romancing the Stone, Sixteen Candles, Splash, Search for Spock, Starman, Macross: Do you Remember Love (for Xopher), Supergirl, The Terminator, This is Spinal Tap, Top Secret, and Toxic Avenger.

Yes. That is Ron Perlman on the right.

Seriously, if you think of a classic 80’s movie, you will likely find that it came from 1984. Well, at least 1 in 10 of them came from 1984.

Ice Pirates was a relatively low budget attempt to capitalize on the Space Adventure. Paying homage to Indiana Jones AND Star Wars, but since Harrison Ford was busy working on Temple of Doom, and just having wrapped up Return of the Jedi, I am sure that Robert Urich was the next most logical choice.

The film revolves around a troop of pirates, lead by Jason (Urich). The team also includes Roscoe (Michael D Roberts), Maida (Anjelica Huston), Killjoy (John Matuszak), and Zeno (a young Ron Perlman). They travel the galaxy in search of Water. You see, in this long-ago-distant galaxy, water is the most precious commodity. It used as money, refreshment, and is killed for.

When the team falls upon a Princess in transit, they can’t help but abduct her, and take her along on their merry travels. When they find that the Princess’ father went missing looking for the 13th world, a world that is full of water and life, and that the Princess has the information necessary to find him, and the world, they, comma, start to pursuit. But ruthless leaders are after the very same thing, and will stop at nothing to get it.

bye bye balls

In 1984, I was only 5 years old. I was living in New Jersey with my parents, sister, and 1 cat. It was a great place, off in the country. We had nearly 3 acres of grass for me to play on. It was a different time, where I could disappear for a day and no-one would be concerned that I had been kidnapped. On a Sunday afternoon, my father decided that he wanted to take my sister and I out to go see a movie. I don’t remember if there was a different motivating factor on why we needed to get out of the house, but we found ourselves at the Clinton Cinema. It was a 2 screen theater, basically a mom and pops. But back in those days, that was all you really saw if you weren’t in a major city. This is the same place where I saw Indian Jones, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. It was great.

Is Anjelica the Chewy of this crew?

Well, I don’t think my dad really had any idea about they movie, other than the poster. Because I honestly can’t imagine the father I know today, having taken us to see Ice Pirates knowing how painful it would be. But then again, maybe in his youth he was a lover of bad cinema like myself.

So the movie is awful. Horribly bad plot, terrible acting, but you know what? I don’t care. I loved every minute of it. As my wife sat on the couch next to me, literally looking for things that she could throw at me, I reveled in memories and camp.

It’s not for everyone. There are some scenes of a sexual nature, where Jason and Princess Karina are totally getting it on in the middle of a synthetic hurricane of passion, but don’t let that detract you from enjoying it’s very nature. Campy pure 80’s.

How much alcohol did it take: Big glass of nostalgia.
Rating: 5/10. Really great for the memories of my youth, but I almost had to get a divorce for making my wife watch it with me now.

The Wife’s Retort: Space Herpes? Really?

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