When a spacecraft crashes on the farm of young Kimball Kinnison and his father, they discover its pilot is a Lensman (because of a giant lens embedded in his hand), and a member of the Galactic Patrol. The Galactic Patrol happens to be at war with the evil Boskone Empire, and poor Kim ends up having to deliver the lens to the leaders of the Galactic Patrol. However, the Boskone Empire wishes otherwise, and does all they can to stop Kim from completing his mission.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...
Ok, just kidding. But after watching Lensman for about fifteen minutes, I couldn't help but think, "Hey, this is exactly like Star Wars!". And it's true; there are some remarkable similarities, but not surprising since George Lucus was reportedly inspired by the original Lensman novels by "Doc" E. Smith.
The central focus is on Kimball (who happens to look a bit like Luke Skywalker) the farmer-turned-hero on a mission to rid the universe of all things evil, save the galaxy, and wind up with the girl in the end. A slight exaggeration, to be sure, but not entirely off the mark. He is supported by an eccentric cast, including the nutty Buskirk, a woman named Chris (Leia anyone?), a neat-looking flying alien, and a crazy DJ.
The plot revolves around the characters as they travel to various exotic locations and meet lots of strange aliens. There are some rather good action sequences, and some humor is liberally tossed in. Their visit to the alien dance club is very reminiscent of the Mos Eisly bar from Star Wars. Some of the aliens looked rather silly, but there were also some neat alien designs.
The main problem I had with this movie is that it isn't "epic" enough. Considering that the antagonist is this huge empire, it would have been nice to have one epic space battle (maybe I'm comparing it too much to Star Wars). I thought things focused a little too much on the characters, which kept things too small in scope.
Lensman is an older anime and it shows visually. The art isn't very detailed and everything had a bit of a grainy look to it. There's also some computer animation used, most of it at the end. However, it was pretty laughable, especially with respect to modern technology.
If you want some cheesy, yet fun retro science fiction then give Lensman consideration.
The Verdict: * * * (average)
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