- Bomb 20, contemplating a deep philosophical paradox
Sight and Sound - 07/01/2004
"[A]n affectionate, anarchic sci-fi satire featuring hippie astronauts, talking bombs and cosmic surfing."
Description by OLDIES.com:
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 Thermostellar Bombs, it prowls the unstable planets. 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! John Carpenter (Halloween) and Dan O'Bannon (Alien) combine their writing, creative and technical talents to bring you this thrilling and extraordinary science fiction parody.
John Carpenter's low-budget debut feature is a hilarious romp set in the deepest reaches of outer space. The haggard crew of the dilapidated Dark Star spaceship--Doolittle (Brian Narelle), Boiler (Cal Kuniholm), Pinback (Dan O'Bannon), and Talby (Dre Pahich)--is on an extended mission to seek out and destroy unstable planets. But after 20 years of the same routine, each crewmember is reaching the end of his tether. The journey is fraught with mishaps, and danger seems to lurk around every corner. There are misbehaving pet aliens, suicidal bombs that dream of detonating, frozen crewmates dispensing advice from beyond the grave, and a surly, unhelpful main computer that holds the men it serves in total contempt. Despite all these problems, the crew is still bored to the brink of madness. Co-written by the multitasking O'Bannon, who is also credited as the film's production designer and editor, DARK STAR brims with giddy jabs at the science-fiction genre (including George Lucas's THX 1138), an approach that Mel Brooks would later take in his own sci-fi spoof, SPACEBALLS (1987). In addition to writing, directing, and acting, Carpenter also composed the film's atmospheric score.
Sci-fi cinema geniuses, the early years! DARK STAR is John Carpenter's directorial debut, aided and abetted by future ALIEN writer Dan O'Bannon. A knowing satire of sci-fi flicks, the film follows three astronauts as they embark on their mission to seek and destroy unstable planets that are hazardous to space colonies. However, their onboard computer and weapons systems have different ideas.
Cult Film |
Essential Cinema |
Space Travel |
Theatrical Release |
John Carpenter's THE RESURRECTION OF BRONCO BILLY won an Oscar in 1970 for Best Live Action Short Film.
Screenwriter Dan O'Bannon's terrifying script for ALIEN was based on a segment of DARK STAR.
The "alien" in DARK STAR is simply a beachball with plastic feet stuck on it.
Dark Star Sparkles
Movie Lover: Erik Omland from
Frankfort, NY US -- August, 24, 2009
Dark Star is one of those flicks that you have to watch a few times to catch everything that was going on. The Reason: You'll be laughing too hard to see anything in the film.
The visual quality on this disk is rough, and the sound is iffy.
Truthfully those two issues added to my watching enjoyment of the film.
Any fan of Sci Fi, and comedy should see this.
One of the Great "Bad Movies"
Nothing to Do With the Grateful Dead Song!
Movie Lover: Paul Wax from
Teaneck, NJ US -- January, 24, 2006
Hey out there (and do I mean "out there"!) - here's one of the very first movies John Carpenter ever made with Dan O'Bannon (of Alien fame) when they were in college! It's really cheesey on the special effects but actually makes a very poignant point for those who watch it to the end.
Here you have several astronauts cooped up in a spaceship for 18 years or so, going around the galaxy finding uninhabitable planets and blowing them up! (good thing that they did not do this to the habitable ones - although Earth would be the best candidate!). It's sort of a paen to "2001 - A Space Odyessy" and "Star Trek" - there's some haywire computers on board - and of course, an alien that looked like a tye-dyed beach ball with webbed feet, and of course, the crew - all of them "spaced out" so to speak. Don't expect great special effects, but do expect some very heady things in this flick - Oh, and as I indicated in the title, this has nothing to do with the Grateful Dead's song "Dark Star" - no Jerry Garcia here, but several of the crew members can resemble him at times.