"2500 AD. The peace of the Galactic Alliance is shattered by the threats of the Boskonian Empire, an evil race ruled by the tyranical Helmuth. Our hero Kimball Kinnison, son of an ex-galactic patrolman, is mysteriously entrusted with a LENS carrying crucial enemy data. The LENS bestows awesome powers on Kim but also quickly propels him towards incredible danger from the Boskonian forces. In their fight to save the galaxy, Kim and him faithful ally Van Buskirk are joined by fellow lensman Worsel, from the alien planet Velantia and wild'n'crazy DJ Bill, a spy operating out of an enemy disco amongst the drug mines of planet Radelix."
Directors: Yoshiaki Kawajiri & Katayuki Hirokawa Screenplay: Soji Yoshikawa Copyright: E.E.'Doc' Smith/Kodansha Language Format: English Language Running time: 107 mins Certificate: PG Label: Manga Video Catalogue no: MANV 1012 Price: £12.99 Release date: 1993
This movie is based on 'Galactic Patrol' the third novel in EE 'Doc' Smith's space adventure series. Note that it isn't the same as the Japanese movies 'Power of the Lens' and 'Secret of the Lens'
As the story opens, young Kimball Kinnison is preparing to leave for Earth on an old space cruiser with his friend Buskirk. An out of control spaceship appears and Kim boards it and lands it. The craft contains a dying Lensman, and a mysterious device, the Lens, which contains vital data on the location of the Boskone bases. The Lensman tells Kim to get the Lens to Admiral Haynes of the Galactic Alliance at all costs, and the Lens attaches itself to Kim's hand. The Boskone turn up and start wrecking the planet. Kim's father sacrifices himself and Buskirk's clunker to distract the Boskone while Kim and Buskirk escape in the Alliance ship, Brittania. The Galactic patrol contact them and Kim meets his love interest, Chris McDougall, for the first time. (Actually she seems a bit old for our impetuous boy). Various fast-paced escapades ensue, as our hero and his companions are pursued by the evil Boskone. They encounter an assortment of oddlooking alien creatures and a crazy old DJ who specialises in inciting riot.
It's all rather adolescent stuff but moves along briskly, it's often funny, and the designs of the alien creatures are rather good. My favourite baddie was Gigeek, a little scarlet bell-shaped alien that flits and floats around spying on things. Not so much SF but, with its Good vs Evil and super gadget scenario, more of a space fantasy with SF trappings.
The book is reputed to have been a major influence on STAR WARS, and on watching LENSMAN it's easy to see some Star wars influences. The much vaunted Cray computer animation sequences are a bit of a let down; though quite pretty they look like... computer animation and don't advance the plot much. I was more impressed by the hand drawn creatures. The music soundtrack also seems uninspired and rather inappropiate for an action movie.
The movie might appeal more to younger viewers; fortunately it has a PG certificate. [Geoff Cowie]