Movies that Time Forgot: Starchaser: The Legend of Orin

There's nothing quite like a Star Wars movie.

Next to that, there's nothing quite like a Star Wars ripoff.

But the first time I experienced the story of Orin, the hard-on-his-luck kid who's been raised his entire life under the guise of a lie, and who happens to be the one last human who can wield the hilt of a sword that emits a laser-like beam that can cut through robots — I didn't really put it together.

In fact, it wasn't until I was somewhere in my 30s, when someone else pointed it out, that I realized it really was indeed a Star Wars knockoff, complete with a gruff pilot of a down-on-its luck yet unbeatable ship — complete with some witty droids on board.

I never did get the chance to see it in its 3D glory, but even as a young kid, I was captivated by the just-almost-too-weird animation and the storyline of someone who had lived their entire life underground, with no knowledge of the big, wide world above.

This was another one of those movies I probably shouldn't have been allowed to watch, considering there were such fun moments as meeting the Man-Droids, half-human/half-robot beings who are decaying and want to literally tear Orin apart limb by limb to harvest his body parts.

And while there are certainly elements of Star Wars here — the New York Times apparently speculated why lawyers hadn't been called in at the time — for me, the movie stands on its own. Perhaps it was only possible because of Star Wars, but I don't recall seeing anything about humans being enslaved for millennia mining crystals for a false god in our beloved space soap opera.

The moral of the story is that you should watch it. The whole thing is currently on YouTube, and pretty easy to get your hands on otherwise. And if you still have a VCR, I'll even lend you the used VHS I got on eBay about 12 years ago.

So here's to chasing stars ... and warring in them ... and all that crap.