In his comment on my last post izeColt referred to a movie with the cumbersome title of Starchaser: The Legend of Orin. It transpires this is an 80s feature-length sci-fi animation which had escaped my notice entirely. I watched it in the wee hours of last night and I was mildly impressed.
Starchaser (I can't shake the feeling that this might be the name of a beverage which follows a racy cocktail) gets a bad rap for being an out-and-out rip-off of Star Wars. This criticism is valid - it is indeed a blatant facsimile. The film suffers from a host of other issues, but the animation, plot structure and design of the movie are robust. The boy-becomes-hero yarn romps along at a fair pace and, although predictable with cookie-cutter characters, kept my (admittedly sleepy) interest throughout. There are also so odd sexual politics which make the movie slightly distasteful by today's standards. More importantly they make you wonder at what age group the film makers were pitching to (there are scenes in a brothel, for example).
The animation, however, is quite striking. It's talked about as being one of the first computer animated movies. I suspect CGI models might have been animated but then rotoscoped over for the final cells. Some of the design is run of the mill 80s fantasy and sci-fi, but other bits, notably the princess's robot and Man Droids, are quite good. There are some interesting computer GUIs in the background of the final scenes too.
Have a go if you dare but be warned it's not up the standard of Transformers: The Movie.