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Dark Star by John Carpenter
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Goofy SF comes off like a college project, which is how it started out. Some funny bits. ( )
  unclebob53703 | Mar 3, 2016 |
Back in the days before video, DVDs and film streaming, we had to rely for our films on whatever would get shown on television, and if you sought something a bit out of the ordinary, you had to look to film clubs, private showings and independent cinema (especially out of London). For all these, 'Dark Star' was meat and drink. It would turn up on BBC2 late on a Friday or Saturday night, often in some sort of cult film stream; 16mm prints would be shown at student film nights, festivals and conventions; it was a science fiction film satire that many of us grew up on. Now, with all the multiple sources for films, it is virtually unknown because it never achieved widespread distribution; and young film-makers rarely get the chance to see a film as inventive and ingenious as this.

The story is that John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon set out to make a spoof science fiction film as students on a shoestring budget. They came to the attention of Jack Harris, a proper Hollywood producer, who was astounded at what they had achieved and backed the project - even so, its budget was miniscule even by 1974 standards.

Repeated viewing makes some of the filming tricks seem obvious now - the "lift shaft" that's actually a packing crate on a trolley in a bare corridor; the bombs that are HO scale model railway freight containers. But the script shows a rare talent for comedic satire and Dan O'Bannon as Sergeant Pinback steals most of the show. There are mystical elements to the plot, though they now seems rather seventies hippy themes. And there is considerable debate over the final scenes, where one of the astronauts left after the final destruction of the ship begins to circle the universe in the company of the Phoenix Asteroids, whilst another burns up in a planetary atmosphere like a falling star; many have identified this as a direct lift from a Ray Bradbury short story (moral: if you're going to borrow, borrow from the best).

But this is an astonishing film that all lovers of science fiction should see. ( )
  RobertDay | Dec 14, 2013 |
Scathingly hilarious from beginning to end. Favorite weirdo scifi double-header - this and "A Boy and his Dog." It will separate the hard-core believers from the dilettantes. ( )
  moekane | Jun 7, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Carpenterprimary authorall editionscalculated
O'Bannon, Danmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Dark Star is a futuristic scoutship traveling far in advance of colony ships. Armed with Exponential Thermostellar bombs, it prowls the unstable planets. But there is one obstacle that its' crewmembers 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.… (more)

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