Updated: Mar 12, 2020
Review by Kelly
"In the far reaches of space, a small crew, 20 years into their solitary mission, find things beginning to go hilariously wrong.”
Written by both John Carpenter and Dan O’Bannon (Alien!), and directed by Carpenter, this 1974 weirdo sci-fi film started out as a film school project for both for O’Bannon and Carpenter. They were able to turn it into a full-length film, albeit low budget, with about $600,000. This initially seemed like an odd choice for Carpenter but now having essentially seen his entire filmography, I can see his vision and style in it.
Dark Star stars four male Astronauts who scout the universe for unstable planets and destroy them. Why? Not sure and it doesn't seem to be important to the plot. After a lull in planet bombing, things wind down and the men take to smoking, hanging out, and chatting. Oh, it seems one of them brought an alien species on board because it was cute and it so happens to look like a huge beach ball with monster hands. The ship has two computer systems; one for the main ship and one for the bomb/weaponry. They communicate with one another and to the humans on the ship. Eventually, the bomb system thinks it’s a god after an existential conversation with one of the men and takes matters into its own….hands?
Although this movie is low budget, it sometimes looks quite wonderful. Sometimes though you can tell that they are using a muffin tin as space suit gear. I think they did really well with the budget they had and the special effects are very much of its time which I find cute. This movie is definitely cute and I know it seems like an odd adjective to use but I am going with it. Some of the conversations and comedy were cute, along with the silly beach ball alien. When the ship goes into hyper drive though, caution for those epileptics in the crowd as it very well could induce a seizure! The music is great, thanks to JC himself. The ending wasn't at all expected which I enjoyed. It was also not a happy ending which I 1000% always enjoy. My biggest gripe about this movie is that I found it to be incredibly Boring with a capital B. Also, either it was the copy I was watching or the audio is very low in the production of the movie making a good portion of the dialogue unable to be heard clearly. I likely missed some funny, endearing or important parts because of it….and being distracted by literally anything else because I found it so boring.
Unless you want to see where Carpenter came from, or enjoy low budget sci-fi fare, I don’t recommend seeing this movie. Although, some might find some merit in it.