Posted by: jgurner | September 25, 2014

Why The Ice Pirates is the Greatest Sci-fi Movie Ever!

ice_pirates_poster_01The Ice Pirates; USA, 1984; Starring – Robert Urich, Mary Crosby, Michael D. Roberts, Angelica Houston, Ron Perlman, John Carridine, John Matuszak and Bruce Vilanch.

Yeah, yeah. I hear what you’re saying. The Ice Pirates is a gimme for the Greatest Sci-fi Movie Ever…  The Ice Pirates. Yes. It’s a real movie. Ice Pirates… No. It’s ICE, not Ass…

Anyway, how could this not be the greatest sic-fi movie ever? It’s pirates. In space. Fighting with swords and robots. What more do you need? Well, I’ll tell you.

Dan Tanna.

Yep. That’s right. Mr. Vega$ and Spencer for Hire himself – Robert Urich. (Remember that episode where Charlie’s Angels went to Las Vegas and teamed up with Dan Tanna? Classic!)

So. Here’s what you need to know about the plot to The Ice Pirates. Urich is Jason, roguish leader of a band of merry space pirates who sail the galactic seas of space looking for booty… (No! Not that kind of booty. Like I said, it’s ICE not Ass!) In this particular galaxy (I won’t mention which one because, you know SPOILER), the treasure is ice. You see, much like in the part of the Gamma Quadrant controlled by the Kazon in Star Trek: Voyager, water is extremely scarce and a very precious commodity… I know. Just go with it… While attacking a Templar ship (The Templars control the galaxy’s water), Jason discovers Princess Karina (Crosby) in a stasis pod and decides to kidnap her. Turns out, she’s the daughter of an explorer who discovered the Seventh World (Well, maybe Sixth World now). a planet of water that could be the salvation of the galaxy. Our heroes face the evil Templars, led by the Supreme Commander (Carridine) as Jason, Karina and the crew search for her missing father. Along the way they have to deal with battle robots, frog women, space herpes, deadly groundhogs and, for some reason, a heard of goats, in order to save themselves and the galaxy!

Okay, now I know you’re thinking this is some pretty heady, serious stuff – a bleak, oppressive galaxy ruled by despotic leaders who control vital resources in order to maintain control. Too grim. But fear not! It’s actually a comedy! Filled with all those great comedy tropes we’ve come to know and love – castration, outdated and uncomfortable racist humor, sexually transmitted diseases, and, for some reason, a heard of goats.

Dan Tanna and Charlie's Angels

Dan Tanna and Charlie’s Angels

Okay, I see you’re still not convinced. I’ve already mentioned Dan Tanna, but if that’s not enough, let’s talk about some of the other cast.

1. How about three Oscar nominations and one win? Would that convince you? Yes? Well, they weren’t for this movie but for Angelica Houston, who would go on to win an Oscar for Prizzi’s Honor a year later. I mean someone who both won an Oscar AND was in an episode of Laverne & Shirley? C’mon…!

2. Or, you’ve got that classic actor John Carridine. Stage Coach, The Grapes of Wrath, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – all right up there with The Ice Pirates.

3. And Ron Perlman. You can never go wrong with Ron Perlman.

4. Bruce Vilanch. ‘Nuff said.

5. Mary Crosby – Daughter of Bing and aunt to Tasha Yar and by extension Sela from Star Trek: The Next Generation. She also played Quark’s love interest Natima Lang on an episode of DS9.

6. John Matuszak – In addition to playing college and pro football (Real, American football. Not that other Commie football they play in the rest of the world), he also played Sloth in The Goonies, which I did not know before this.

7. A heard of goats – Not sure why…

And back to the movie. let me just say again: Pirates. In space. Fighting with swords and robots.

Oh, and there the ubiquitous scene from every 80s sci-fi movie with the pieced together, junky-yet-futuristic vehicles chasing each other across a desert wasteland.

If you’re not convinced by now, then fine, don’t fish the DVD out of the cheap bin and spend the $5 ($3 at Big Lots) to get the Greatest Sci-Fi Movie EVER! Your loss.

Psst! Dan Tanna. Pirates. In Space. Fighting with swords and robots…

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