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Restored 1987 Romanian Animated Sci-fi 'The Son of The Stars' Coming to Blu-Ray

Deaf Crocodile has released a trailer for the 4K restoration of Romanian animators Călin Cazan and Mircea Toia’s wild, ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ ‘Alien,’ and ‘Tarzan’ mashup.

Deaf Crocodile Films has announced the release of its 1987 Romanian animated sci-fi feature The Son of The Stars (Fiul Stelelor / Ultima Misiune), directed by Romanian animators Călin Cazan and Mircea Toia (Delta Space Mission). The film, described as “a wild mid-80s mashup of The Empire Strikes Back, Alien, and Tarzan,” is now available on Blu-ray for preorder

Overseen by Deaf Crocodile Films co-founder and in-house restoration expert Craig Rogers, the 4K restoration is a collaboration of the Romanian National Film Archive and Cinematheque and the Romanian Film Centre, created from the original 35mm camera negative and sound elements.

Cazon’s inspiration for The Son of The Stars sprung from classics such as Edgar Rice Burrough’s “Tarzan” novels, the “Brothers Grimm,” Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick,” and Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book,” as well as more contemporary sci-fi movies, all playing an influential role in the film’s creation.

“We were able to see the movies from America one year later after they launched in the U.S.,” said Cazon about the movies he saw during the Cold War in Romania. “We saw Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, and maybe we were inspired by them. They remained important points in our moviemaking.”

Deaf Crocodile Co-Founder and Head of Acquisitions & Distribution Dennis Bartok described The Son of The Stars as a fusion of various styles and storytelling traditions, from Eastern European mythology to early 80s Japanese anime and classic lost-child narratives like Tarzan and The Jungle Book.

“Of course, comparisons to George Lucas and the Star Wars universe are very strong as well — but the incredible thing is how unique, psychedelic, and incredibly entertaining Călin Cazan and Mircea Toia’s synthesis of all these elements is in The Son of The Stars,” noted Bartok. “For fans of 1980s animation and sci-fi, it’s a major rediscovery.”

“I’m always excited when we get to work on a vintage animated film,” added Rogers. “I enjoy finding the balance in the restoration process of making the film look as good as possible but being sure always that it retains its hand-made analog feel. All that ‘imperfection’ is what sets it apart from the all-digital animation of today.”

The film is set in the year 6470, when a husband-and-wife team of explorers received a mysterious distress signal from a female astronaut who had disappeared decades earlier. They leave their son, Dan, on board their ship while they go searching for the missing woman — but fate intervenes, crash-landing the ship on a jungle-like planet populated by bulbous, telekinetic aliens and eerie stone gardens of frozen space creatures.

As Dan grows up ala Luke Skywalker, he encounters a giant disembodied eyeball, a world of massive decaying Cubist structures, floating purple tentacles, alien-headed cosmic flowers, and even a sword-wielding medieval Space Knight in armor. His visions of his lost parents and the missing cosmonaut are especially psychedelic, a phantasmagoric blend of Hanna-Barbera and Tarkovsky’s Solaris.

Watch the trailer:

The Son of The Stars Blu-ray features:

  • New 4K scan from the original 35mm negative and sound elements, with digital restoration
  • Video interview with co-director Cazan
  • Commentary track by film journalist Samm Deighan
  • Booklet essay by comics artist, editor, and publisher Stephen R. Bissette (Swamp Thing)
  • English subtitles

Blu-ray authoring by David Mackenzie at Fidelity In Motion.

Source: Deaf Crocodile Films

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.