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“Lensman” is a 107 minute movie from 1984, which was followed by a TV-series in 1987. It was directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri (director of “Demon City Shinjuku”, “Wicked City”, and “Vampire Hinter D: Bloodlust”) and Kazuyuki Hirakata (an episode director on “Baldios”). The story, adapted from one of E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman series’ novels: “Galactic Patrol”, was written by Soji Yoshikawa (writer and director of “Lupin III: Mystery of Mamo”).

In the distant future, the evil Boskone Empire is taking over all of Space. The only force that stands against them is the Galactic Patrol, and the cream of this intergalactic police force are the Lensmen. Lensmen have a small circular lens fused onto the back of their left hand. With this Lens they are connected to a higher consciousness (the Arisian Conscious), and are able to telepathically communicate with each other over short distances, store their memories, and call upon other great unknown powers.

While escaping from the Empire with vital secrets, the newly built Galactic Patrol ship Brittania crash-lands on small, rural, agricultural planet Mqueie. Through a fateful meeting with its already dead pilot (who is kept animated by the power of the Lens), young, earnest, farm boy Kimball (Kim) Kinnison becomes involuntarily inducted into the Galactic Patrol by receiving this Lensman’s Lens, which contains the critical information about the evil alien empire. Though physical transference of the Lens was long thought to be impossible, fate has chosen Kim to bear the responsibility of destroying the Boskone, and their tyrannical leader, Lord Helmut.

I admit, I have not read the Lensman novels, though I had heard that Lucas’ Jedi are almost a direct copy of E. E. “Doc” Smith’s Galactic Patrol. The plot and situations in “Lensman” do bear a striking similarity to “Star Wars”, but they are also a lot like almost every other serialized Science Fiction, as well as typical Sword And Sorcery. Like “Star Wars”, for an adaptation of a serialized Sci-Fi storyline chock full of clichés, the movie was put together very nicely. The naïve Lensman, Kim, worked well juxtaposed against the more knowledgeable Lensman, Worsel; there’s a loving family dynamic between Kim and Buskirk; and there’s some fun, cute little romantic scenes between Kim and Chris.

The look (1940s Serial Sci-Fi meets Rococo painting) and the animation are fantastic! Despite some obviously dated CG model animation (though the CG depiction of the Lens breaking up and forming the title typography still looks very cool), its detailed alien worlds, classic SF spaceships, huge ornate snail creatures (Overlords of Delgon, if you prefer), and the character design of Worsel, are vastly superior to, not just most more modern anime, but many science fiction live-action movie designs.

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Curator: guyvariii
Gallery Created: 1/21/2004

Presentation 8.65/10   Collection 9.12/10   Overall 8.70/10   Votes 65 votes
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