There are all sorts of guilty pleasures in the world. Most guilty pleasures are things that we feel just a little bad about, but not enough to stop enjoying them. For example, my waistline really doesn't need Ben and Jerry's ice cream, but daggone if it isn't wonderful stuff. Lensman is another one of those guilty pleasures. It steals from Star Wars liberally, though some claim that it is George Lucas who stole from the original Lensman stories written by E. E. "Doc" Smith many years ago. It also includes computer animation that was at one time revolutionary, but now seems dated. Not all of the movie even really works. But it's a good, fun ride, and that goes a long way.
We're told at the beginning that the Lensman are a group of beings who protect the Galactic Alliance, and they are facing their biggest threat from the Beskone, a mixmatch of evil alien races led by a supreme dictator. At the start, a young man named Kim is planning to leave for his first trip to Earth, leaving behind his father who's encouraging him to go. He meets up with Buskirk, a good-hearted ruffian whose ship appears to be ready to fall apart at any moment. As they prepare to leave, the spaceship Brittania appears and Kim takes his small flier over to investigate. When he arrives, he meets a dying Lensman. The Lensman tells him that the information contained within his lens--an attachment that appears to fuse to the left hand of the wearer--must be delivered to an admiral of the Alliance before their cataclysmic battle with the Beskone. The lens mysteriously picks Kim to become its new host, and Kim becomes an official Lensman. From there, Kim is involved in a series of battles, rescues, and near-misses as he attempts to get the data back to the Galactic Alliance.
Now this sounds like Star Wars, and there is no doubt there is carryover; thankfully, it's also entertaining without being completely derivative. There's also a share of weak plot elements--for example, it's a wonder that the Beskone are so powerful, considering how incompetant most of them are. The story goes from one rescue to another, and the final sequence is not nearly as epic as it should be. That being said, let me state how much I enjoyed watching this movie. It's pure popcorn, a movie to enjoy without having to think too much. I tend to prefer movies with more character development and plot over action, but this movie keeps the action rolling without ever overdoing it. The characters also grow a little through the movie, and I just plain enjoyed it. Now those who grimace at old animation will have a chortle at the computer animation, but some of it works despite its age. Purists will dislike the mixture, but it didn't bother me. Overall, it's a Saturday matinee science fiction movie, nothing more and nothing less. You can choose from there.
(Please be aware that the version I watched was subtitled. I've heard no good reports about the dubbed version, which as far as I know is the only mass-distributed version in the U.S.)
Lensman -- action violence -- B+