18 September 2016 | brando647
Alien from Advanced Civilization Tries to Score with Primitive Human
STAR KNIGHT (or THE KNIGHT OF THE DRAGON) is an adventure/comedy from Spain that was released in 1985/86. It blends science fiction with medieval fantasy elements into a plodding chore of a film where the only magic on display is how it manages to make 90 minutes last an eternity. I had never heard of the film before sitting down to watch it but my hopes were raised a little higher when I saw Harvey Keitel was involved. Keitel did elevate the film to a more enjoyable level but probably not for the reason he might hope. In the film, Keitel is Klever, a soldier who aspires for knighthood and the good graces of his king and, especially, the king's daughter Alba (Maria Lamor). Alba longs for marriage but her father has rejected all of her potential suitors as unworthy. When one of Alba's resulting temper tantrums brings her to the lake for a swim, she encounters a stranger beneath the waves. That stranger is an alien named IX (Miguel Bosé) and he arrived, conveniently enough, at the same time the king's medical adviser Boetius (Klaus Kinski) was performing a ritual to summon an angel (or a demon
it wasn't too clear). While Boetius believes IX to be the supernatural agent summoned to his aid, the rest of the kingdom goes in a panic when IX's spaceship is mistaken for a dragon. Princess Alba falls in love with this strange knight and finds support with Boetius (who might have his own machinations), but Klever teams with the king's religious adviser (Fernando Rey) to kill the new arrival and slay his dragon, earning his knighthood and the hand of Princess Alba in marriage.
Having seen this movie a couple of times now, the only things that seems to stick with me is how poor Harvey Keitel sticks out like a sore thumb. He's delivering the dialogue of a period piece with an accent straight out of Brooklyn. He's pledging allegiance and vowing to slay the mighty dragon, and it's just not working at all. It's the funniest part of the whole movie, which is sad because there are actual attempts at humor all over. They just fall flat every single time. The herald's series of unsuccessful visits to the townsfolk, Klever's assault on IX's ship, and the final tag with Klever and Rey and their fate; all of it lands it a dull thud. The same could be said of the film's "romantic adventure". IX arrives on Earth to catalogue fauna for his home civilization. So I guess he's on some sort of science mission. Keep in mind, IX doesn't speak so all of this is interpreted through what he shows Alba. Alba believes he is collecting animal souls for his home world, because she's primitive and ignorant. Despite the fact that Alba comes from a primitive, superstitious society and is a completely different species, IX falls in love with her. He jeopardizes his entire mission to interfere with Alba and her kind, so we know he's not much of a scientist. I have to assume this all resulted from years of lonely interstellar travel leaving IX vulnerable to the temptations of a backwards, medieval era human.
I wouldn't have spent so much time nitpicking the romance plot if there were something to keep me entertained. Maybe some conflict? There's no real conflict to drive the plot forward. Sure, Alba is in love with IX but even that doesn't seem all that important when, in a scene late in the movie, IX appears to be disinterested in protecting her honor through battle with Klever. When it looks as if IX is just going to lift off and go on with his life (as he should), she just shrugs her shoulders and prepares to accept Klever as her new suitor without much hassle. She's not that interested. She's just a rebellious young girl. Klever just wants to be taken seriously by his king but he's too much of a doofus to pull it off. He poses zero threat to IX and only gains the upper hand later in the movie because IX's species has nothing similar to the "Star Trek" prime directive to tell him it's a bad idea to give a primitive witch doctor access to a mind-controlled information orb. The only person I ever actually thought might've had evil, selfish intentions was Boetius with his weird summoning rituals and resting evil face, and I guess he was a good guy in the end. I don't know. This movie blows. Nothing about this movie makes much sense when you really think about it and, as bored as I was, I had plenty of time to think.