Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #76, November 1983: On Top of It All

This is the second of Starlog's annual movie review issues, a 100-page extra-special magazine featuring reviews of the previous summer's big science-fiction and fantasy movies. I continue to think this was a great idea, and the magazine collected some great reviews from its top staffers as well as some of the top names in the SF field (such as Norman Spinrad, Robert Bloch, Alan Dean Foster, David Gerrold, and more). Damn good issue.

Starlog #76
100 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.95

Note to Starlog editors and publishers: Stop apologizing and explaining your special issue. Both publisher Kerry O'Quinn and editor Howard Zimmerman expend all or part of their columns this issue explaining for the who-knows-how-many-'th time why a magazine that doesn't print movie reviews is devoting an issue to them. No one cares; we just want to enjoy the magazine. Don't apologize for reviews. Don't explain color photos. Don't try to get us to forgive you for entertaining and informing us.

Anyway, the rundown: Kerry O'Quinn's From the Bridge column tells us all we didn't want to know about why this magazine doesn't print movie reviews, so go enjoy the movie reviews this issue; you might not think an entire four-page letters section devoted to one topic would be interesting, but this issue will prove otherwise -- the Communications section is entirely devoted to readers' letters featuring their -- um -- reviews of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi; short news items in Log Entries include the winners of the Saturn awards, Peter Davison exits Doctor Who, Leonard Nimoy talks Star Trek III at the Spacetrek II convention, Star Trek comics, a brief report on Phil DeGuere's Whiz Kids, checking in with David Cronenberg, and more.

Novelist Norman Spinrad reviews Star Wars: Return of the Jedi; Jeff Rovin provides a final interview with Buster Crabbe before his recent death; David Gerrold reviews Superman III; novelist and comics historian Ron Goulart reviews Twilight Zone the Movie; four pages of comics from professionals and amateurs alike celebrate (or mock) Return of the Jedi; Howard Zimmerman looks at (and features the art of) artist Murray Tinkelman; Ed Naha goes behind the scenes of the making of Krull; the great writer Robert Bloch reviews the Matthew Broderick teen video game/nuclear holocaust film WarGames; it's part two of Paul Mandell's look at George Reeve's time as Superman on TV in the 1950s; Lenny Kaye's Space Age Games column looks at role-playing games; David Hutchison examines the special effects of Something Wicked This Way Comes; speaking of the Ray Bradbury-created Wicked, novelist Alan Dean Foster reviews the film adaptation of Bradbury's story Something Wicked This Way Comes; novelist Lawrence Watt-Evans reviews Krull; Ed Naha profiles actress Sybil Danning; David McDonnell provides a movie review omnibus for films not covered in the longer reviews (The Hunger, Octopussy, Psycho II, Jaws 3-D, Videodrome, Blue Thunder, The Man with Two Brains, Strange Invaders); David Hutchison reviews Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone; and editor Howard Zimmerman goes all wobbly about publishing movie reviews in his Lastword column.
"Not to leave you in suspense, let me say at the outset that, in this reviewer's opinion, Return of the Jedi is a bad film. It is bad on almost every possible level. As science fiction, it is massively illogical. As drama, it is anti-dramatic. As action-adventure, it manages to make about two hours of almost continuous fast action and spectacular effects boring. And as the capper to the Star Wars trilogy, it is a dreadful letdown which betrays most of what virtues the first two films in the trilogy had."
–Norman Spinrad, writer, "Special Review: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi"
To view previous Starlog issue descriptions, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below or visit the Starlog Project's permanent home.

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