Somewhere between Star Wars and Spaceballs lies The Ice Pirates; an homage on the tip of the tongue of parody nestled firmly in the cheek of a screenwriter who was clearly snuffling up the best nose candy the 80s had to offer. The plot manages to shoehorn in a dashing rebel captain, his not so furry first mate, a handful of robots who’ve been inexplicably programmed with all the feels and a princess on the run. The unicorns, space herpes, casual racist slurs and a plot full of more holes than a box of Cheerios are just an added, shitty, bonus.
THE ICE PIRATES (1984)
Genre: Comedy/ Sci-Fi/ Action
Director: Stewart Raffill
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So let’s wade through this first truckload of twaddle as quickly as possible – it’s the future and in the wake of the Planetary Wars there is no water in the galaxy. Did someone drink it all and piss it away into the cosmos? You know what; you’re never going to find out. The entire galaxy is bereft of moisture with the exception of a single planet called Mithra that is controlled by a group called the Templars, so quite clearly, they’re going to be a bunch of pricks. Everyone’s kitted out with laser guns (because it’s the future), chainmail (because Templars) and/ or swords because shooting a troublemaker in the face at point blank range would cut the running time to all of 10 minutes.
Mithra is miraculously able to sustain an entire galaxy’s demand for water, which is somehow both a form of currency and a sought after commodity, but a faction of rebels, dubbed Ice Pirates, think the 0.001% can go fuck themselves and regularly intercept the shipments of ice for themselves by busting through paper thin hulls in the vacuum of space without cumbersome necessities like space suits or forward planning.
So it’s no surprise when they accidentally hi-jack a cargo ship that is also carrying a princess and the most evil man in the galaxy – Zorn. Captain Jason manages to stave off the urge to whip out his custard cannon and commence fire long enough to take brief control of the ship before being outwitted by a lobotomised eunuch and making a break for it with a few cubes of ice and the kidnapped princess in tow.
It soon becomes apparent that flying off in a straight line through space isn’t quite adequate to elude capture so Captain Jason’s magical star ship proceeds to split into three sections to throw off the pursuers, which does diddly squat to improve the situation and merely results in him being separated from two thirds of his crew and ship for nothing. But all is not lost – first mate Roscoe steps in to save their bacon by firing up the Space Invaders cabinet
Amazingly, this does absolutely nothing and Jason and Roscoe are captured and shipped off to Mithra to await a fate worse than death – being turned into eunuch Flash Gordon clones. This hi-tech, futuristic process involves being strapped to a conveyor belt, stripped, lathered up and shaved before a gaping metal maw bites your tonker off. Humane and hygienic.
But as luck would have it, the princess who spent all but 2 minutes in their company during their initial escape attempt rescues them in exchange for passage aboard their ship, but not before they have to parade around a party affecting high pitched voices and stuffing their wobbly bits up their jacksy .
The princess’s plans are soon thwarted when the evil Zorn senses something is afoot and summons the guards to seize them. Cut to a slapstick car chase with the princess and Jason abandoning Roscoe and the newly acquired Killjoy who happen upon a blackface robot pimp that solves their transportation problems and gets them to Jason’s ship in one piece.
The princess reveals her plan of tracking down her father who went missing when searching for a fabled second water planet that was sent spinning out of its orbit in another unexplained chain of events that no one seems overly concerned with. Jason and Roscoe, despite being told that the Templars killed the King on said expedition, feign utter ignorance and risk their lives helping her in this endeavour. I guess the sight of disembodied metal dentures about to bite your junk off has that effect on some people. That, or the trauma of discovering some John Hammond reject in the form of space herpes that is now loose on the ship.
Jason and co rendezvous at the Pirate Moon with the rest of his crew (Cher and Hellboy) and after a run in with a fellow pirate and his talking ballsack, cleverly disguised as parrot, they continue on their journey to find the lost planet and king.
The path ahead is fraught with perils, like Unicorns, robots, Amazonian warriors and horny frog women but Jason makes time to have some of the costliest sex imaginable. Forget the projector on the wall displaying sexy landscapes –the entire room is being showered with water in some kind of faux thunderstorm. Gallons of water – the thing that exists on only a single planet in the entire galaxy? Remember that stuff? Apparently he doesn’t.
It’s not long before their pursuers catch up with them yet again and as they enter the time field that envelops the centre of the galaxy , a climactic battle between the two sides ensues as they simultaneously begin to age as the ship accelerates.
Will Jason and his crew maintain their faculties long enough to beat down the bad guys or will they be drooling and pissing their pants long before they make it to the other side? Find out in The Ice Pirates.
We dare you to buy The Ice Pirates on DVD!
Author Gamer Girl is a podcast co-host on FrontTowardsGamer Radio. It is highly recommended you follow her on Twitter.
Previously in Poison Popcorn: 7 Reasons Why Roger Moore is the Best James Bond. See previous Poison Popcorns right fucking here!
6 thoughts on “Poison Popcorn – The Ice Pirates”
Man, that’s just cold.
Icy what you did there…
I actually love this movie.
You had me at Ice Pirates.
” a blackface robot pimp”
Oh man! in the inevitable re-boot of this classic, they should cast Reno “The Black Motherfucking Baron!” Wilson as the voice for this very sensible, classy character! 😀
I remember when I was little and saw this being advertised on TV. Near the end of the 80’s it made it’s way to TV and even as a little kid I thought it sucked! Great article!