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Feature
It’s That Story You Like…But In Space!
Sci-fi remakes of old, old stories

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It’s That Story You Like…But In Space! | Battle Beyond The Stars (1980)
Battle Beyond The Stars (1980)

Just like: Seven Samurai (1954); The Magnificent Seven (1960)

If you’ve got a good story, just keep using it! What worked in feudal Japan and the Old West can also work on the Final Frontier in this space adventure. There’s a clear plot relationship here: this time it’s an agricultural planet under threat rather than a village, but an emissary is still sent out to find warriors to help defend it against the threat of certain death (here, by means of a weapon that will turn the entire planet into a sun rather than, y’know, the more traditional swords and guns). Once again, a ragtag band are assembled and take arms against vastly superior forces. It would take a particularly committed sci-fi fan to argue that this is better than Akira Kurosawa’s classic or even John Sturges’ Western hit, but it’s an amusing twist on the idea.
 

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Your Comments

1 Avatar
I was going to say Avatar is Fern Gully, but clearly this is obvious and people already got there first. More

Posted by emmylacey on Thursday April 26, 2012, 14:05

2 The opposite direction
Challenge for Empire: Can you make a list of films that went the other way i.e. films used a sci-fi concept/film and based them in more contemporary times? More

Posted by syedazfarshah on Tuesday April 24, 2012, 16:07

3 Avatar
come on if your guna say avatar is like anything, its got to be Fern Gully (a far superior film). They even have a almost identical scene, where a machine is lumbering through a forest destroying everything in its past, but the hero comes and stands in front of it hoping to stop it. More

Posted by brittanym on Monday April 23, 2012, 10:40

4 Excellent list
A thoroughly enjoyable read! Also, I dont blame you for the Quaid/Russell mistake, when I was a little younger, I too used to think they were one of the same! But seeing as you're 'The Best Film Magazine In The World' - I would say that is wholly unacceptable! few things; Costner's western is a beautiful, elegaic love letter to the old west and of its people. And I dont think it 'stole' Goodfellas best film Oscar. I love Goodfellas - one of Scorsese's best films and I have to agree that I too felt it a travesty that it lost out to Costner's film - his directorial debut at the time and a novice in comparison to Scorsese. But having watched Wolves quite a number of times over the years I have to admit that I had changed my tune. Dances with Wolves merits a Best Picture Oscar on the grounds that it was one of the first (widely recognised) Western's to potray the Indian's in a human light and not savages. It is beautiful to behold, both the magnificent music by John Barry, and the imagerMore

Posted by Nexus Wookie on Monday April 23, 2012, 10:24

5 RE: the 10 commandments
Since this whole piece is inspired by a John Carpenter remake: "Ghosts of Mars" is basically "Assault on precinct 13" in space (which is "Rio Bravo" in 1970s L.A.). More

Posted by grucl on Monday April 23, 2012, 10:02

6 the 10 commandments
Battlestar Galactica is inspired by the story of the Hebrews fleeing Egypt seeking the promised land. More

Posted by Dr Science on Monday April 23, 2012, 04:36

7 Avatar
I say Avatar is just like the Disney cartoon Pochohontas just with giant blue Aliens instead of Native Americans More

Posted by CambiMan on Sunday April 22, 2012, 18:59

8 Treasure Planet
Its nice to see that other people feel the same was as I do about it- seriously underrated. Not as good as other Disney works but still a damn good film :-) More

Posted by Radical_Duck on Saturday April 21, 2012, 22:56

9
Although I wish I'd read all the comments before posting. WTG Chan_Solo!!! More

Posted by EchoOscar on Saturday April 21, 2012, 20:33

10 Avatar
"Avatar" reminded me of the 1992 cartoon "Ferngully". Big forrest and everything... More

Posted by EchoOscar on Saturday April 21, 2012, 20:31

11 Forbidden Planet
How could you forget Forbidden Planet (Shakespeare's The Tempest in space)? It's only the most classic example of an old story being given a sci-fi makeover. More

Posted by sjessep on Saturday April 21, 2012, 16:10

12 RE: Treasure Planet
I grew up with that! I'm really surprised that hardly anyone actually likes that! Loved the transition of the story from the 1800s to space and it all looks so great. Humour is priceless too! More

Posted by Mr. Fincher on Saturday April 21, 2012, 14:07

13 Treasure Planet
Am I the only one that LOVED that film? As a child it inspired me! Actually, maybe that's why I like it, just from nostalgia. But after a recent re-watch, heck I still love it. The design and art direction of it all, great film. More

Posted by ZachBobBob on Saturday April 21, 2012, 13:24

14
I've not actually seen Avatar, but based on what I've read and heard, it is essentially Pocahontas- right down to the "invaders" mining for a precious metal. Personally, I hold Treasure Planet as one of my favourite films. And one could argue that Alien shares some DNA with Dracula- specifically the bit on the Demeter. More

Posted by HornetPrime on Saturday April 21, 2012, 10:04

15 Avatar
Sorry but Avatar is Ferngully with Smurfs.. More

Posted by Chan_Solo on Saturday April 21, 2012, 09:36

16 Avatar
I would have thought The Last Samurai would have been a better comparison for Avatar, although Algren was sent to train the army, he was taken against his will by the so-called savages, before learning their ways and becomming one of them and fighting for them. More

Posted by bradthunder on Saturday April 21, 2012, 09:11

17 Avatar
'Avatar's' story is also reminiscent of 'Pocahontas'. More

Posted by rosiecotton on Saturday April 21, 2012, 04:31

18 Star Wars
You forgot to mention the all time classic. - Star Wars; its like The Hidden Fortress...but in space. More

Posted by alsybroth on Friday April 20, 2012, 19:47

19 That Planet One
"Perhaps a hip, skater-dude Jim Hawkins was a step too far..." Perhaps it was, but the amount of time he spends "skate-boarding" e fact that he's more surly/betrayed teenager than "hip" makes this description more of a surface take on what Jim looks like he Jim in the actual movie. I vastly prefer Gordon-Levitt's Jim to any of the wide-eyed, live action kids t of whom get buried and forgotten when up next to their respective Silvers. I mean, I vividly recall Kermit, Miss Piggy, Sam Eagle on a rowboat, and Tim Curry bellowing about a black spot... but have no idea what Jim even looked like over at the Muppet version. More

Posted by HighwayJoe on Friday April 20, 2012, 19:42

20
What about Galaxy Quest is just like i3 Amigos!? Both films being awesome of course. More

Posted by Biggus on Friday April 20, 2012, 17:44

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