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The Ice Pirates 1984


There are some movies that can only live in the time which they were made. This is one of them.

In the mid-2000s I started a journey to watch every single movie I had seen as a kid, especially for the ones I only had fuzzy memories of.

Examples of this are Logan's Run and The Gumball Rally.

I thought, incorrectly, that I had finally finished the journey when I saw The Black Cauldron. I was certain that yes, this was it. This was the last one.

No. There are two more. The Ice Pirates and Spacehunter: Adventures In The Forbidden Zone.

I just re-watched The Ice Pirates, and that's what I'm going to talk about now. I've not re-watched Spacehunter yet, but will very soon.

What is The Ice Pirates and why did it even happen?

This is a goofy sci-fi adventure movie from 1984, meaning it's 37 years old at the time I write this in 2021. I saw it originally when it was new.

The movie is exactly what it says on the tin, so to speak. Pirates in space on a swashbuckling adventure.

I'm pretty sure the last time I saw this was literally in the 1980s. My fuzzy memories of that time tell me that not only did I see it in a movie theater, but I also watched it at home either as a VHS videocassette rental or from seeing it on television during the summer. I'm convinced I saw this a few times long ago due to how many scenes I actually remembered while re-watching it. When you see a movie once, then don't see it again for decades, you barely remember anything about it. But I was recognizing and remembering a good chunk of this movie, so I had to have seen it a handful of times.

It's a fun movie and I liked it. But seeing it now all these years later reminds of why this movie happened in the first place.

The sole reason this movie happened because of Star Wars. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a ton of sci-fi movies and television shows happened because space adventure and space fantasy storylines were hot-hot-hot. Everybody was trying to cash in.

Yes, sci-fi adventure/fantasy movies had been around a long time (see The Forbidden Planet,) but when Star Wars had its original three movie run from 1977 to 1983, the influence it had was far and wide. And that's how movies like The Ice Pirates happened.

Is this movie a spoof of Star Wars? No. A lot of people think it is, but it's not. The movie does tell a story that is its own thing. As such, it's not a parody, meaning not a spoof. This isn't Spaceballs.

Worth watching?

This movie is certainly more than old enough to qualify as vintage era, given it's almost 40 years old.

With that said, if you like the original Star Wars and want to see a "byproduct movie" specifically from that era, then yes, you'll like The Ice Pirates.

Published 2021 Jun 24

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