Let’s continue our Italian Star Odyssey (1979)
After a little meeting, where it’s established that Dirk and Irene used to be a couple, Dirk goes over to a military base, hypnotizes Hollywood (naturally), steals a ship, and heads to a moon base to rescue Shawn (Chris Avram) and the pretty Bridget (Malisa Longo) who are prisoners there, but they also happen to be chemists, or something. In the meantime, Irene heads to a boxing match where the fit, flexible, and energetic Norman (Roberto Dell’Acqua) is fighting against the robot Hercules IV, who has killed over a dozen opponents in the ring. Norman finally wins the match, but it’s the referee who seems to get hit the most. Norman is recruited by Irene but first he takes her to a junkyard where he rescues two robots from being crushed into metal – the male robot Tilk and his robot girlfriend Tilly. Take C3PO, paint him silver, make him shorter and fatter, give him a duck face, and put a giant CB radio antenna on his head and you have Tilk and Tilly (well, Tilly has eyelashes). As if that wasn’t enough, the creator of these robots decided to make them neurotic. The first thing Tilk does upon reactivation is chastise Norman for not allowing him to commit suicide properly. What’s also weird is that I got the impression that the robots were supposed to be like an old Jewish couple (their antennas have stars at the top that look curiously like the Star of David, but maybe that’s reaching). The robots are also a little bit racist, as evidenced in the scene when they encounter Mauri’s bartender R2 unit:
Tilk: Great integrated circuits! What’s that thing? Look Tilly! A prehistoric cave robot!
Tilly: I’ve never seen anything so ugly.
Tilk: They say creatures like this shouldn’t be allowed to run around loose. They ought to be kept in zoos.
Tilly: Now Tilk, that’s just prejudice. He has as much right to activate as we have, even if his tin is a different color.
Racial commentary shows up in other spots, like the scene where bad guy Kess has his army of Prince-Valiant looking androids kidnap Africans and turn them into slaves. Damn! It’s the future and blacks are still being used as slaves! If Brescia is trying to say something, I have no idea what it is. There’s a sequence depicting an auction in outer space where the Lords of the Universe (or something similar) bid on different planets. Earth fetches a hundred million credits (because of all the humans that can be used as slaves). It is in this scene where Kess is revealed to have great mind powers. What can we learn from this scene? A few things:
- Nobody seems to have taken a look at the merchandise. They might have figured out that humans don’t take kindly to being treated as slaves.
- The dividing up of planets at auctions could be Brescia’s jab at European imperialism, or maybe the breakup of countries following WW2. This could be related to the stock WW2 footage used in the alien attack, but I doubt it
- Kess is the third person in this movie to have glowing eye powers. (Irene is revealed later to have latent psychic abilities as well). Folks, when half your cast has super-powers, they’re not super anymore.
- A quick look at the aliens and their rushed, ineffective makeup and costumes means that Rick Baker (makeup guy for Star Wars Episode IV) had nothing to worry about from his European friends
It turns out that Kess’ ship is made of entherium (or “enderium” – maybe my ears are going), which is the hardest substance in the universe. It’s up to Shawn and Bridget to figure out the metal’s weakness, so a weapon can be invented to destroy it. The team goes into the professor’s lab in the forest, and Malisa Longo is dressed in a revealing catsuit so she can properly indulge in her skills as a chemist. In the meantime, Kess has created a psychic link to Professor Mauri and the two have mental battles that go on for awhile. Kess sends his blonde-haired, golden-faced stormtrooper androids on the attack, complete with really bad approximations of light sabers. This results in Irene and the Professor being trapped inside the local alien saucer; another goofy light saber battle ensures their rescue (remember when you were a kid, using those toy sabers from Toys ‘r’ Us? It’s kinda like that).