Top 10 Movies That Tried To Copy Star Wars But Failed
Every year, we see franchises hit it big and the imitators come out of the woodwork. Since the release of the original STAR WARS in 1977, countless copycats have tried to make their own space operas but have found middling success. Here is our ranking of the ten "best" imitators that failed to capture the magic of STAR WARS. Some actually came pretty close!
Why technically a television series, Battlestar Galactica was so much a copy of STAR WARS that it wasn't even funny. Running only for one season starting in 1978, Galactica was rebooted in 2004 as a popular military scifi series. While critically acclaimed, that series veered far from the STAR WARS-esque origins of the original show. A new reboot is in the works as a feature film which tells me studios are ready to imitate THE FORCE AWAKENS.
One of the earliest animated films to blend traditional and CGI animation, STARCHASER was also a 3D rip-off of George Lucas' film. From lightsabers to the Force, it is such a blatant copy of STAR WARS that it amazes me they weren't sued. Maybe it is because the quality is so bad that legal action was never taken, but someone has bought the rights to remake this as a live action film and may have to deal with their own lawsuits.
This Italian film claims to have been conceived and written before the 1977 release of STAR WARS. Somehow I doubt that is the truth seeing as this film hit screens in 1978, but with a cast that includes a young David Hasselhoff and Christopher Plummer as the coincidentally named villain The Emperor, STARCRASH comes across more like a softcore B-movie version of STAR WARS rather than a true imitator. Still, boobies make this one worth watching.
A Roger Corman production, SPACE RAIDERS is not just a rip-off of STAR WARS but actually re-uses footage and sets from another Corman copy of George Lucas' film, BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS. SPACE RAIDERS feels more like a Han Solo movie rather than a true STAR WARS film, but it is still nowhere near as good as the real films. Still, fans of Corman's brand of cheese should enjoy this flick quite a bit.
It still baffles me why this movie turned out the way it did. He-Man was one of the hottest toys and animated series of the 1980s and should have been a home run as a feature film. For whatever reason, the decision was made to change the film from a fantasy epic to a STAR WARS clone and the results were disastrous. I have a soft spot for this movie from my childhood, but reflecting as an adult, the STAR WARS influences are embarrassingly obvious.
A massive bomb when it was released in 1980, SATURN 3 had the A-list cast made up of Kirk Douglas, Harvey Keitel, and Farrah Fawcett and yet was unable to overcome the weak special effects that paled in comparison to the STAR WARS films. Actually aimed to imitate Ridley Scott's ALIEN, SATURN 3 shares more in common with STAR WARS despite being a violent and dark R-rated thriller.
Disney tried to cash in on STAR WARS four decades before they got to buy the real deal. This is another cult classic that has a growing fan-base. THE BLACK HOLE may be the darkest and most disturbing Disney movie ever released with an ending that will be very difficult to explain to younger children. Somehow, despite having cute robots that emulate R2-D2 and C-3PO, this film still failed in every way to capture what made STAR WARS so good.
A cross between DUNE and STAR WARS, KRULL is another one of those films that 80s kids love despite not being very good. What KRULL managed to do to stay relevant was create a cool weapon as memorable as the lightsaber.The Glaive is pretty damn cool for being a starfish with knives sticking out of it and may be the one thing most people remember about this movie. I recommend revisiting this movie simply for nostalgia reasons.
One of the best reviewed films on this list, Roger Corman's BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS is actually a pretty fun flick. If George Lucas used Akira Kurosawa's HIDDEN FORTRESS as inspiration for STAR WARS, this film is the SEVEN SAMURAI inspired film. BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS features a script from John Sayles, music by James Horner, and special effects from a very young James Cameron.
Possibly the best movie on this list, THE LAST STARFIGHTER is very similar to STAR WARS: a young boy dreaming of being a pilot is whisked away to an interstellar war that only he can help win. He has a mentor who is a mysterious alien and a love interest he must rescue. Sound familiar? Now throw in video games, clones, and some very early CGI and you have a great time at the movies.