Canada’s Star Wars: H. G. Wells The Shape of Things to Come (1979)

If you were a kid in the seventies during the Star Wars-era and loved to spend your Saturday mornings with your bowl of Cocoa Pebbles as you watched Ark II, Jason of Star Command, and Space Academy, then this Canux space opera is for you.

If you cozied up to the TV later that afternoon with your Mac ‘n’ Cheese with cut-up hotdogs as you watched the re-runs of Sylvia and Gerry Anderson’s U.F.O and Space: 1999, or the Canadian-imported The Starlost, then this Canux space opera is for you.

As long as you don’t go into this Canadian response to Star Wars expecting it to be based on the literary work of H.G Wells and you understand that the movie only uses a few character names and the title from the 1933 speculative novel, and that the plot has no relationship to the book’s events, you’ll have a great time with this space romp.

What we do get is George McGowan, of the nature-runs-amok classic, Frogs (1972), directing Jack Palance (!) as Omus the Space Master, clad in some out-of-date Space:1999 garb battling three kids and their robot dog in a script that could have been rejected as an episode-arc of NBC-TV’s Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

With a fraction of the budget of that Glen Larson production, and its ABC-TV sister series, Battlestar Galactica, The Shape of Things to Come tells the story of a high-tech future replete with spaceships and robots that’s fled a devastated Earth to live in domed cities on the Moon. The colony is run by its Chief Science Advisor, played by Barry Morse from the first season of Space: 1999, alongside the colony’s senator, played by B-Movie exploitation stalwart, John Ireland (!).

The “Han Solo” recruit in these Canux Wars is non-other than Nicholas Campbell (serial killer Frank Dodd in The Dead Zone, Baker County, USA), while the Princess Leia-clone is Carol Lynley from The Poseidon Adventure. Also tagging along for the ride is Anne-Marie Martin, aka Eddie Benton, (of the ABC-TV series Sledge Hammer!, the Canux-horrors Prom Night and The Boogens) as the resident annoying kid replicating the Boxey character from Battlestar Galactica.

Yeah, The Shape of Things to Come isn’t as awful as Space Mutiny (nothing is as bad as Space Mutiny; okay, maybe the Battle Beyond the Stars ripoff/sequel, Space Raiders, is), but wow. If H.G only knew his tale of “future history” would be bastardized as a space opera about a madman being thwarted by a kid and a robot dog. . . .

***

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker will be released theatrically on December 20 in the United States.

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook. He also writes for B&S Movies.

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