Aliens from the constellation Hydra crash-land on the island of Sardinia. A prominent scientist, his daughter, several young technicians, and a pair of Oriental spies are taken hostage by the beings so they can use them to repair their spaceship's broken engine. With that done, they take off towards their home planet, taking the earthlings with them. However, the humans attempt to mutiny against their captors, inadvertently sending their tiny spaceship hurtling into the infinite beyond...
Directed by: Pietro Francisci
. Starring: Leonora Ruffo
, Mario Novelli
, Roland Lesaffre
, Kirk Morris
, Alfio Caltabiano
, Leontine May
, Nando Angelini
, Giovanni De Angelis
, Mirella Pamphili
, John Sun
, Antonio Ho
, John Chen
, Gordon Mitchell
. Music by: Nico Fidenco
While one of the most generically titled movies I've seen, STAR PILOT is also one of the most delightfully stupid. The plot is nonsensical, the effects are wonderfully low budget, and most of the characters are indistinguishable from each other. I was excited to revisit the world of '60s era Italian space adventure, and it was an added bonus when the opening credits listed Gordon Mitchell (the hilariously over-theatrical star of THE GIANT OF METROPOLIS) as a cast member. Unfortunately, Mitchell's role in the film turned out to be nothing more than a short cameo but at least the space adventure was a wicked fun time. It starts with an alien spacecraft landing in Sardinia (an island in the Mediterranean off the eastern coast of Italy) and the world immediately forgetting about it. Three months later, Professor Solmi (Roland Lesaffre) is informed of a plot of land in Sardinia that shows signs of radioactivity and he, along with his daughter Luisa (Leontine May) and associate Paolo (Mario Novelli), fly out to investigate. Upon arrival, they're plagued with strange occurrences, including an earthquake that opens a cavern into the ground. The group descend into the cavern and discover the alien spacecraft but, before they can report their findings, they're attacked by a trio of Asian men who insist the professor show them the underground rocket, believing it to be a secretly developed weapon. Violence erupts and soon they're all taken captive by the aliens within the vessel who demand the humans repair their engines and assist in piloting the craft into space. Under the command of Kaena (Leonora Ruffo), the aliens promise to leave the humans on Earth once the craft is functional
but can they be trusted?
I could spend an hour chatting someone's ear off about everything I found hilarious about this movie. I did my best to give a succinct understanding of the basic premise but I know I haven't done it justice. The plot is both way more and way less complicated than that. It wants to come across as epic in scope with an environmental message behind it; the aliens explain at one point that the whole reason they were on Earth in the first place was to observe and determine whether all the nuclear experimentation our race was performing would have any dangerous effects on the rest of the galaxy. That's right, an advanced race of space-faring aliens are concerned that the nuclear effects on a single small world will put the entire rest of the galaxy at risk. Science! These advanced aliens are also in such a bind that they need the relatively primitive humans to repair their engines for them. And fly the ship. All without any sort of preexisting knowledge and instruction. And they do it! The humans are so much smarter than the aliens that they master use of the alien spacecraft and stage a mutiny to gain control of the craft. So the aliens from the constellation Hydra aren't all they're cracked up to be; how do the humans fare?
Worse. Aside from the professor and maybe Paolo, the human characters are either faceless (the Asian men as well as two of the professor's own crew) or annoying and unnecessary (Luisa). Let's start with the Asian men who are, to be honest, completely pointless to the plot. They're some sort of agents for yet another vague operation and, whatever you do, don't mistake them for Chinese agents.
"Make no mistake. We are Oriental, not Chinese. We do not represent the People's Republic."
One of them throws out that little disclaimer first and foremost when confronting the professor and his people. It felt more like a message from the filmmakers than the characters, wanting to ensure they didn't upset an entire viewing demographic. Regardless, they have no use here. I guess they add a slight element of intrigue, with the whole (laughable) spy operation element in the beginning of the film. Once we're with the aliens, the Asian men serve no purpose other than to provide a little tension before unceremoniously hauled off and presumably eaten by killer space gorillas. I'm so happy to say that's not an exaggeration. Killer. Space. Gorillas.
But hold on, let's shift over to Luisa. Why is Luisa here? She's a young woman who still acts like a teenager and tags along with her father on his work outing to Sardinia. She's disruptive, ignorant, and I'm pretty sure at one point she was tripping on acid (during the initial cavern investigation). She has no sense of self-preservation and seems to have no concerns when taken as a hostage by aliens. In fact, her first response to captivity is to lust over one of the alien men. From the perspective of the filmmakers, I'm assuming Luisa's role in the movie was to move through a progressively skimpier wardrobe. But the funniest part of Luisa's character is how the men treat her. I know that sounds horrible, but let me explain. Every man in this movie is incredibly dismissive of Luisa, but not for the reasons I've already mentioned. They don't tease her because she's an idiot. They tease her because she's a woman. Come on, guys. If you want to hate on Luisa, don't do it because she's a woman. Do it because she thought it'd be fun to wrestle the helicopter pilot on the flight to the worksite, nearly killing you all.
STAR PILOT is a must for fans of crazy old school space adventures. Zero-G is simulated with trampolines. No one uses space helmets (not even the humans). The alien's robots look like giant yellow Oompa Loompas in ribbed condom jumpsuits.
Review by brando647 from the Internet Movie Database.