Brandon’s B-Movie Breakdown: Star Quest (1995)

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If you’re a fan of B-movies, especially those having to do with outer space, you know that B-movies didn’t stop in the 1950s and ’60s.  Thus far here on Space Porn, I’ve kept to the real oldies.  However, 1995’s B-movie, Star Quest, was too good to pass up.  When I read the plot of this masterpiece, I knew I had a winner for today’s B-Movie Breakdown.  At one point, the producers called the film Terminal Voyage, which, it turns out is a more appropriate title.  You can stream it now under the Star Quest title, though.  

Title Wars!

comparison between title screen shots of Star Quest and Star Wars

Star Quest: Just like Star Wars, except not as good.

Now, let’s not get bogged down in a bunch of speculating over why there are two titles to this terrible movie.  It’s not good enough to even argue over what the name should be.  What I will say, though, is that it was released on TV in 1996 under the name Star Quest.  I bet that was because nearly every bit of the opening sequence is ripped straight from Star Wars.  It seems pretty likely to me that the production company or whoever bought the rights to the film back then wanted to capitalize on the resurgence of Lucas’ masterpiece.

The film opens with symphonic music – though not as in-your-face as John William’s classic score – over a black screen.  The obligatory white dots stars lazily fly by as the main title “STAR QUEST” flashes onto the screen in ridiculously bold letters.  At least they didn’t do a scrolling three-paragraph exposition lead-in.  However, this silly B-movie, Star Quest, followed the trope and ended the credits with a long shot of a spaceship.  The cameral slowly followed the ship from front to back.  The circular glowing engines on the back that looked suspiciously similar to those of an Imperial Star Destroyer.  The next scene shows doors that look like they could have been ripped off of the set of The Empire Strikes Back.  

The Star Wars similarities end there, though.  

B-Movie Space Tech in the 1990s

As the story is set in 2035 (sixteen years from now for those of you who can count), you’d expect the writers might think a little beyond already outdated when they made the movie.

Screen shot of green Hercules computer screen from the Leisure Suit Larry game.

This is a Hercules display and a great game!

Saban Entertainment released Star Quest after Windows was a part of almost every PC in America. Sure, Rob Kirchner and Mark Evan Schwartz wrote the thing before Windows 95 came out, but the concept of Windows was already ubiquitous.  Why, oh why, then, does the first image of a computer we see in this movie contain GREEN HERCULES-STYLE GRAPHICS?   

After that, the next most hilarious tech flub in the movie is the virtual reality system that uses CD-ROM to operate.  Because you can totally store enough information for a full VR experience on 700MB.  

The only tech in the movie that hasn’t been invented yet (or by the time they were producing the movie) was the spaceship itself, a holographic display of the world the crew were traveling to (also straight out of Star Wars), and cryo-sleep.  

Now that we know what to expect from this thing, let’s jump into the plot, shall we?

On a Journey to Another World

Shot of the remaining crew of the star quest ship seated around a table discussing their options.

The Captain is Dead…

The whole movie takes place aboard a ship sent out by the “Earth Federation.”  The federation is, of course, the obligatory global government that must have sprung up by now according to all sci-fi thinking ever.  The crew is a consortium of federation officers and scientists from all over the world.  They have been away from Earth for a hundred years on a mission to find a new habitable planet.  

They make some stupid attempts to explain the time differential at the speeds they are traveling, but they fail miserably.  The reason for the trip, of course, is climate change – then called global warming. Even in the ’90s, we realized that we were screwing up the planet and would have to bug out soon enough.  

The crew awake from their cryo-sleep on schedule but find their captain is dead.  An investigation reveals that his death was down to a very unlucky technical glitch.  Shortly after an interim captain is named, he turns up with a case of death in his quarters.  Apparently a suicide by hanging, the rest of the crew start to suspect each other.

During her investigation, Zinovich – the Russian scientist played by Brenda Bakke – discovers that equipment has been tampered with.  She looks to restricted files for answers and discovers a terrible secret that she must share with the crew.  

No Spoilers

Those of you who really do enjoy crappy sci-fi movies that fail miserably at all of the tropes should watch the B-movie, Star Quest.  It’s currently streaming free on Amazon Prime under that title.  The rest of the plot contains more terribly-executed twists than an elephant trying to figure skate.  As I said, I don’t want to give too much away, but if you’re a fan of androids, racing against self-destruct sequences, “it was all a dream,” and other ridiculous plot devices, this one has them all.  

The Final Breakdown

Okay, let’s look at the big picture when it comes to Star Quest, or Terminal Voyage or whatever the hell you want to call it.  First, it’s only an hour and twenty minutes of your life that you’ll never get back.  Second, the production is low budget and it shows.  Third, the writers tried to throw every sci-fi cliche in the book into this movie.  Fourth – and I haven’t even mentioned this yet – the acting is deliciously terrible.  Finally, if you’re looking to waste an hour and a half with a hilariously campy sci-fi flick that fails by every metric of the day, then Star Quest is awesome and you should totally watch it.  It will have you laughing out loud.  I did.  

Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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