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Dark Star1974

  • 3.5
In the mid twenty-first century, mankind has reached a point in its technological advances to enable colonization of the far reaches of the universe. DARK STAR is a futuristic scout ship traveling far in advance of colony ships. Armed with Exponential Thermosteller Bombs, it prowls the darkest reaches of space on a mission to seek out and destroy unstable planets ahead of the colonist. But there is one obstacle that its crew members did not count on. One of the ship's thinking and talking bombs is lodged in the bay, threatening to destroy the entire ship and crew!

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7 members like this review

Return with us now to a strange, futuristic world known as...1974! Dark Star, the ultimate student film, a shoestring, duct tape, muffin tray, and beach ball, space comedy, flies again!

"Dark Star" is irreverence combined with inventiveness, a stellar example of why USC film school was the place to be in the late 60's and early 70's, and why it was a launch pad for a new generation of film makers: rebels, misfits, hippies--game changers.

Yet this film is also a reflection on the era in which it was made. It's "2001" meets "Catch-22", Vietnam in Deep Space. Whacked-out Hippy Astronauts on a never-ending mission of futility and apocalyptic violence, abandoned by bureaucracy, besieged by technology gone mad. The romantic vision of space as the "New Frontier," as seen in George Pal-era movies from a decade before, have given way to cynical future shock, comedy of cosmic errors.

Some of the rebels who cut their teeth on "Dark Star" joined a revolution in space a few years later, in a Galaxy far, far away. But that's another story...

Trivia time. The voice of the stargazing Talby was actually that of the film's director, John Carpenter, who dubbed all the actor's lines.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (19)

81629.small
top reviewer

Return with us now to a strange, futuristic world known as...1974! Dark Star, the ultimate student film, a shoestring, duct tape, muffin tray, and beach ball, space comedy, flies again!

"Dark Star" is irreverence combined with inventiveness, a stellar example of why USC film school was the place to be in the late 60's and early 70's, and why it was a launch pad for a new generation of film makers: rebels, misfits, hippies--game changers.

Yet this film is also a reflection on the era in which it was made. It's "2001" meets "Catch-22", Vietnam in Deep Space. Whacked-out Hippy Astronauts on a never-ending mission of futility and apocalyptic violence, abandoned by bureaucracy, besieged by technology gone mad. The romantic vision of space as the "New Frontier," as seen in George Pal-era movies from a decade before, have given way to cynical future shock, comedy of cosmic errors.

Some of the rebels who cut their teeth on "Dark Star" joined a revolution in space a few years later, in a Galaxy far, far away. But that's another story...

Trivia time. The voice of the stargazing Talby was actually that of the film's director, John Carpenter, who dubbed all the actor's lines.

7 members like this review
107752.small
top reviewer

John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon team up to create an hilarious low-budget sci-fi gem "Dark Star" in 1974. From the distinctly dysfunctional personalities of each crew member to the mischievous on board alien, the script is brilliant. The video diary of the O'Bannon character sgt. Pinback is wonderfully edited and the elevator sequence had me laughing so hard I cried, O'Bannon's varied facial expressions transcend the poor lighting which is the film's only flaw. Possibly the only film made to ever have a scene in whch a character engages a robotic bomb in socratic dialog. A must see for sci-fi fans and a great example of where an inspired college film project can lead. Recommended !

3 members like this review
33856.small
top reviewer

In his first feature, John Carpenter is still figuring things out, but the rough 16mm craft here is perfect for the world's best movie about hippies in outer space. The weird pacing, deadpan humor and "who cares?" grasp on science work in harmony to depict the fractured mental states of a space crew who've been out in the cosmos way too long on an exploratory mission. Their space suits are made of baking tins and foam ice trays and their minds are held together by even more fragile material. It's been either twenty years or three years since they've seen Earth, depending on how you interpret the time-dilation stuff. Bottom line: these guys are hairy, living in their own filth, sick of each other, blowing up stuff for fun and seeing things go sour one "day" due to a combination of equipment failure and an alien that looks like a beach ball. It's science fiction drained of all wonder and romance and reduced to a few stinky guys on a ship, out of their minds and out of toilet paper.

1 member likes this review

A kernel of greatness encased in a block of cheese. Remade with good acting, good sound, and a little modernizing this would be a great flick. Definitely worth watching. I get as many ideas from movies like this as from great movies.

1 member likes this review

Great for hard core Carpenter fans- also a glimpse into the influence of Howard Hawks. I can't help but think this was influential in the Alien series-- the working class, blue collar culture of the crew and even the switch blade/hand game, the female voice of the ship's computer, and the overall bleak tone.

1 member likes this review

Slackers In Space. Loved it.

1 member likes this review

Made for a reported $60,000, directed, produced and scored by John Carpenter, from a script by Carpenter and the late Dan O'Bannon (who also stars). O'Bannon would go on to write Alien (pay attention and you'll find elements in Dark Star that were later used in Alien). Props employed by Carpenter include furnace filters, foam packing, muffin tins, and a beach ball with rubber feet (as the ship's pet alien). The bombs are hilarious and not to be missed. Recommended.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

Entertaining. Wacko is right. Everything is it's own parody. Inventive,yes. what fun to make

a film like this.

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top reviewer

3 ½ Imaginative, funny space comedy of bored slackers on a 20-year routine mission nuking planets from their broken-down starship. A malfunctioning chair just killed their android captain, and a fire destroyed the remaining toilet paper supply. Visually impressive for a shoestring effort, and the visible seams, such as spacesuits with inverted cupcake pans and beach ball aliens, only add to the charm. Quite a few fun pokes at 2001.

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top reviewer

A fascinating movie, standing between the scrappy and socially aware New Hollywood and the science fiction blockbusters of the late 1970s that overturned mass-market film. Reference-chasers will enjoy the material that later appeared in "Alien" and, I think, "Star Wars" and the nod backward to "Dr. Strangelove". If only "Dark Star"'s rebellious intelligence had persisted along with its inventive (if inexpensive) special effects.

This is the theatrical release of the film, which means that the alien and elevator scenes are tediously long, but I enjoyed the addition of Doolittle's bottle instrument.

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top reviewer

An interesting period piece.

I am not an expert, so I just report how I received it. One star rating might have been too harsh, but two stars are very generous, imo. The acting was weak, the effects were c-movie (which was fine), but what turned me off was the over-the-top irrational behavior; maybe the three stooges could have made a more professional team of deep space astronauts. Humor, action, originality, character development, excitement - all fails. There were a few intriguing moments, like having a discussion with IA but for the most part flat and boring.

kinda wish the sound were better; dan o'bannon's monologue is a barely audible smear

Loved it from its first release, and until now had trouble finding it .thank you for resurrecting a classic

Great Movie

zzz

not funny dumb,just dumb

quirky, fun, bizarre, low budget , characters, 'spaced out, did I say quirky; I enjoyed it. Concepts, music etc has evolved into the modern day sifi classics

The granddaddy of all sci-fi comedies