Until Warner Archive made a post on their Facebook page this was getting the blu-ray treatment, I had all but forgotten The Ice Pirates. When that announcement of its blu came I mistakenly thought it was a ’87 flick, but it’s not, it’s a 1984 movie. Christ, that means I was fifteen when it hit theaters and sixteen when I saw it on cable. Was I ever that young? I guess I was since the memories are still with me.
It’s safe to say I didn’t remember a whole about the movie and was consequently floored by the name actors I saw in the opening credits last night like Angelica Huston, Ron Perlman, the late John Carradine, Mary Crosby and the late John Matuszak. Robert Urich (who’s also dead now too), is the lead . . . him I remembered, so I wasn’t shocked to see his name. But Huston? I think this was a before-they-were-famous flick for her. I seem to think she hit it big time a year later with Jack Nicholson in Prizzi’s Honor (1985). And Mary Crosby, who I didn’t know until recently is Bing Crosby’s daughter, I never knew her name when I saw this movie, but her face was familiar. Looking her up on IMDB I see before The Ice Pirates she did a lot of TV. She was even in an episode of Freddy’s Nightmares (’89-’90).
Seeing The Ice Pirates at forty-seven is an odd experience, because I now see it as an odd movie. Really fuckin’ odd. Almost something the SyFy channel would make. It’s a action/comedy pirate movie in space that proposes there is no longer any water in the far, far future and that the galaxy has run dry, except for this one planet, Mithra, and the ruling faction called Templars rule it with an iron fist. Pirates have sprung up who love to steal the water and sell it on the black market, but there’s a myth of a “7th planet” that has water naturally; it’s revealed in the final act this “mythical 7th planet” is Earth. And people have been searching for this mythical planet for eons.
Robert Urich plays Jason, leader of a gang of pirates. His right hand man is Roscoe (Michael D. Roberts), who I will always remember from that 80s series Manimal. Ron Perlman plays Zeno, another pirate and Angelica Huston plays pirate Maida. Both Perlman and Huston look so young. More so with Huston, she looks like she’s in her twenties and was exceedingly hot too. While raiding a Mithra cruiser for water, Jason and his gang stumble upon Princess Karina in a stasis pod. He’s smitten and feels the need to kidnap her, but the Templar cruiser comes back around and puts Jason’s ship and crew out of commission. What do Templars do with prisoners? They take them to Mithra and turn them into castrated slaves. They put the captured on conveyor belts where workers strip and shave them down and a mechanical mouth that looked like something from Stephen Norrington’s Death Machine (1994) extends down and chomps off their junk, but Katrina has plans for Jason and Roscoe (the rest of Jason’s crew was able to escape), so they get to keep their junk.
On this planet they meet up with another prisoner named, Killjoy (Matuszak), who tags along and eventually becomes one of Jason’s pirates.
Katrina wants to find her father who disappeared searching for the “7th planet,” the main reason why she spared both of their “lives” on the assembly line. Now they hop from planet to planet following leads, fighting bounty hunters, and trying to find this “space herpes” that hatched from this egg on Jason’s new ship. You might say The Ice Pirates is one-percent creature feature. I remember the hatching and that worm-like thing well. Once they find where her father is (on the 7th planet) they have to go through a time warp to get there and the final act is a weird, comic battle between pirates and Templars where time has sped up and everyone and everything ages rapidly.
I seem to remember liking this movie more at sixteen. Though I did get a kick out of the 80s vibe. I’ve always loved the 80s! Even in the future spandex is still king! Does it hold up? For me? Not really. It was fun, however, seeing all the familiar faces.
Warner Brothers initially released The Ice Pirates on DVD back in 2005, back on January 19th they finally upgraded it to blu-ray through their Warner Archive sub-label, an MOD program when it comes to their basic DVDs, but their blues are not MOD (Made On Demand). It’s the same type of blu you would get if you bought their Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) on blu.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.85:1 high definitions widescreen—2.0 English DTS-HD Master Audio—English subs only.
The Ice Pirates comes in a 2K remaster and even though I may not have loved the movie so much now, the transfer looked spectacular!
Extras included . . .
- Theatrical Trailer
I forgot to mention John Carradine plays the Emperor of Mithra and he only has one scene in the movie. If you’re Gen-X and remember The Ice Pirates fondly then you’ll want this upgraded remaster for sure.