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Early work by John Carpenter, who went on to direct such greats as Halloween, the Fog, the Thing and Escape from New York. Hard to find student film, done with Dan O'Bannon.
The Dark Star's crew is on a 20-year mission to destroy unstable planets and make way for future colonization. The smart bombs they use to effect this zoom off cheerfully to do their duty. But unlike Star Trek, in which order prevails, the nerves of this crew are becoming increasingly frayed to the point of psychosis. Their captain has been killed by a radiation leak that also destroyed their toilet paper. "Don't give me any of that 'Intelligent Life' stuff," says Commander Doolittle when presented with the possibility of alien life. "Find me something I can blow up." When an asteroid storm causes a malfunction, Bomb Number 20 (the most cheerful character in the film) has to be repeatedly talked out of exploding prematurely, each time becoming more and more peevish, until they have to teach him phenomenology to make him doubt his existence. And the film's apocalyptic ending, lifted almost wholly from Ray Bradbury's story "Kaleidoscope," has the remaining crew drifting away from each other in space, each to a suitably absurd end. Absurd, surreal, and very funny. John Carpenter once described Dark Star as "Waiting for Godot in space." Made at a cost of practically nothing, the film's effects are nevertheless impressive and, along with the number of ideas crammed into its 83 minutes, ought to shame makers of science fiction films costing hundreds of times more. The DVD contains both the original 68-minute release and the director's full version. --Jim Gay
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Top Customer Reviews
Here's the premise. It's the future, and the crew members of the Dark Star have been sent out on an extraordinarily long mission to blow an array of unstable planets throughout the galaxy to smithereens. I'm not sure these guys were perfectly sane to begin with, but twenty years in space, trapped inside a cramped spaceship, have definitely taken a toll on each of them.Read more ›
Brian Narelle, Dre Pahich, Ycal Kuniholme, Dan O'Bannon, Joe Saunders.
Directed by: John Carpenter.
Synopsis: A group of astronauts who destroy unstable planets must try to survive when a bomb gets lodged in the launch bay.
Special Features: Contains Extended and Theatrical Cut of the Film, Trailer, Biographies.
Review: A loopy cult sci-fi comedy. This was made as a student film, but somebody decided to release it. It has a lot going for it, but you know it just didn't have the budget. Several great scenes are in there though like attack of the killer beach ball, and philosophy discussions with a bomb. So the plot is what you ask? Several astronauts are on a ship that destroys unstable planets, but a bomb gets lodged in the bomb bay, and they must scramble to save their lives. The actors all do a respectable job with what they have to work with. Carpenter comes through in directing, and he gives us a hint of the greatness to come. As for the DVD? While the special features and two versions of the film are fascinating this is really only a pick up for Carpenter fans, or perhaps fans of cult sci-fi films.
Much like Monty Python, the humour works on many levels. In addition to slapstick, you get rather intelligent and philosophical humour. Not all of it works, but there are enough hits to make up for all the misses.
Given the original budget of the film, don't expect a visual spectacular. Comparing Dark Star to the creators' later works is like comparing Lord of the Rings to Peter Jackson's first film, Bad Taste. This first film has a sort of roughness and lack of polish to it which really emphasizes its moments of brilliance. Too bad the film isn't longer.
Most recent customer reviews
One of my old time favourite science fiction movies. Early classic from John Carpenter.
Good effects, story everything a movie must have. Read more
Very good extras including the true story behind the cult classic Dark star. I'd say a must have for every fan.Published on July 7 2013 by Wes Sargent
I Thought it would be good with some of the people that were in it but it was terrible. Not funny, not well written and after watching it, I through it in the garbage.Published on Dec 26 2012 by Joanne
Made with their own money! John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon made this quite bizarre tale of boredom in space. Read morePublished on July 7 2004 by Andrew
What's also amazing is the sensitivity to characters and personalities in this movie. Each crew member is different, and has his own unique coping mechanisms (or none at all) for... Read morePublished on March 16 2004
If you're a John Carpenter fan (Starman, Alien, etc.), you might be interested in seeing his early work, but if not, skip this DOG of a film. Read morePublished on Feb. 27 2004
DARK STAR is the most un-romantic, stark, hysterical vision of space exploration ever filmed. Carpenter and O'bannon capture the suffocating boredom perfectly! Read morePublished on Nov. 17 2003 by Bindy Sue Frønkünschtein