You know how a kid would play space ships? They’d have the ship going at it in these fierce, but short battles fitzzzz, pleeeow, splooottt. The ships would do these daring crazy maneuvers trying to destroy each other and quickly it would be over. The writers of this movie must have been playing with toy spaceships too and they created these runs at each other and imagined lots of kapows. Then they decided they also liked two boats so let’s spaceships that look like toy boats (actually this was common in Japanese films). They put the two together and having all this fun imagining explosions and lasers and damage and oh wait, this it a feature length film. Oh, man we have to add some plot and some pesky dialog. They might even have to hire actors to say this dialog stuff, what a drag. They wrote this thing called a script and waited for the actor types to say their line “blah, blah, blah” and “yackety, yackety, yack, yack, yack”. At least they threw in some laser gun fights, but they didn’t want to spend too much time on that because they have to get to the ships! There’s a mean space warlord type, Darth Nasty or something or other. There’s also an axe wielding guy who looks like the offspring of a wookie and a bull. Wait, too much about characters. Finally after talking so much they get to the space battles and the writers of this thing probably wet themselves when that moment finally go there. They were probably leaping in the air and clapping when these parts were on. Hooray for spaceships! Then they tossed in some more of that dialog, smialog and then the film was over. Roll the credits and play with those ships some more!
The negatives-The plot is a bit uh what was that word oh, yeah forgettable. The pace varies from fine to frequently uneven and some of the editing in the earlier space ship attacks adds to the odd feel. The laser battles are quick and some of the actors acted like they had no idea how to hold a gun. A lot of the earth destruction scenes are borrowed from older movies. One of the ships was a re-worked version of the Atragon. The plot borrows a lot from Battle in Outer space.
The positives- The miniature ships are cool of course. The planet and space sets are not perfect, but strong enough. I generally like the costumes and sets a lot too.
This film was made by Toho who were for their Godzilla films, but by the late 70’s those films were out of fashion and the company wasn’t doing so well. The film often gets passed off as a Star Wars ripoff, but actually Star Wars didn’t come out in Japan until around the time this film was released. It has much more in common with 60’s Japanese space movies. I think it’s decent enough, but not I watch all that often.