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Dark Star

180 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Mar 23, 1999)
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$24.75 $4.80
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$9.37 $12.46

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

DARK STAR was originally intended to be a 68 minute film. Jack Harris, the Hollywood producer, convinced the filmmakers to shoot 15 minutes of extra footage and he released the expanded version theatrically in 1975 through Bryanston Pictures. In 1983, DARK STAR was re- issued to home video as a "Special Edition," created under the supervision and authorization of the filmmakers. This special version, featuring a new technically superior video transfer, had been edited by the filmmakers though, virtually removing all the extra footage. Now, once again for all DARK STAR purest, here is the full length theatrical release version, painstakingly restored, and sporting a new Dolby Digital Hi-Fi stereo sound track. Enjoy! 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 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! Bonus Features: Contains 2 Versions: Longer Theatrical & Original Shorter Version| Trailer| Scene Selection| Actor Bios| Remixed 5.1 Track. Specs: DVD5; Dolby Digital 5.1; 83 minutes; Color; 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - G; Year - 1974; SRP - $9.99.

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

Special Features

  • Theatrical and director's cut

Product Details

  • Actors: Dan O'Bannon, Dre Pahich, Brian Narelle, Cal Kuniholm, Adam Beckenbaugh
  • Directors: John Carpenter
  • Writers: Dan O'Bannon, John Carpenter
  • Producers: John Carpenter, J. Stein Kaplan, Jack H. Harris
  • Format: Color, Letterboxed, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: VCI Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 23, 1999
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000F169
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,663 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dark Star" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Fairportfan on March 15, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
A lot of people i know who are not aware that this film was originally released in 1975 fault it for being derivative, when, actually, if anything, the shoe is on the other foot.
Dan O'Bannon's special effects sequences are incredible, especially since the entire budget for the whole film wouldn't buy coffee for an effects house working on teevee commercials today; i am especially taken with the utterly convincing planet-buster bombs made from an HO-scale piggyback trailer turned upside down with engine parts from a 1/25th scale model car attached (if you look closely on a good copy you can still read the logo of the car manufacturer on the valve cover used as part of the bomb's drive mechanism).
So many great lines and sequences in this film -- Pinback and the beachball and the elevator may exceed the Maximum Allowable Funny Quotient for a minor film, and Doolittle's conversation with the bomb (capable of destroying an entire planet) that plans to detonate right alongside the ship, as he leads it into beginning philosophy and convinces it that maybe it *didn't* really hear the "go" code...
The theme song, "Benson Arizona", one of the more warped contry songs one will ever hear, is a hoot; the original is by Carpenter and a lyricist whose name i have lost, and SF fans have been adding verses to it for years.
Watch for the "THX-1138" gag -- for many years (if not still) the only time the *whole* title has been used in a film reference.
O'Bannon worked on special effects on the first "Star Wars" film, and basically borrowed his own "computer search of the blueprints" sequence from "Dark Star" for that film.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 6, 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Looks and sounds as expected. Decent upgrade from previous DVD releases.
Please Note: Amazon lists the "Special Features" as "None." Which is wrong. I believe it was changed because it initially stated that both the 68 min. student film, and 83 min. feature film version of the film, were each present on this release -- and that isn't true. So they simply deleted that information and substituted "None" in the Special Features field. A common mistake made by Amazon. There "are" Special Features. They are the same as VCI's previous Hyperdrive DVD edition, and are as follows:

1. Let There Be Light: The Odyssey of Dark Star The Extended Version (feature length documentary in HD)
2. Audio commentary track by "super fan" Andrew Gilchrist
3. On-camera interview with science fiction author Alan Dean Foster (SD)
4. 3D Visual Guide to the Dark Star spaceship (SD)
5. An interview with actor Brian Narelle (Doolittle)(SD)
6. Text trivia
7. Original theatrical trailer.

** AGAIN: Missing from this edition is the shorter, 68 minute "student film" version of the film **
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Richard Claiborne on April 21, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
It's funny, as I read the other reviews, I struggled to think of something that wasn't said. I was especially tickled by the 1-star review by a guy who obviously didn't get it, and obviously hated it. I can certainly understand how someone would not like it, because it's not a film for everyone. It's very cerebral in parts, and really makes you concentrate to get the message between the lines. It's also very funny, very satirical, and for a low-budget sci-fi movie, the effects are occassionally very impressive. I've tried to show this film to friends who stare at the screen with their head cocked like a dog who has heard a high pitched squeak. It's an acquired taste, and if you're in the right frame of mind (and I don't necessarily mean under the influence of mind-altering substances), you'll love it. The country song "Benson Arizona" still makes me break into laughter alone. The talking bomb is one of the funniest characters to ever appear in a space movie, rivaling HAL and the robot in Fantastic Planet. Watch it with an open mind, and a room full of hard-core sci-fi fans and I think you'll come away pleased.
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful By ANT VINE VOICE on May 13, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
So, I thought I would show this movie to my fiancee and a friend of hers, both of whom I would definitely say are picky and typically like the empty flashy movies that draw in money, but have no substance. She was laughing very loudly by the end (and so was her friend, by the way).
John Carpenter may be known for his other really big hits (Halloween, In the Mouth of Madness [his best, in my opinion], or Vampires), but before fame arrived, he was a student. This was his film. Along with co-conspirator Dan O'Bannon, the two made this student film with zero budget (the chest plate on the star suit is a muffin pan), until it was viewed by a producer. $60,000 and a few extra scenes later, it was released and immediately picked up a cult following. I first saw it on PBS, back in the days when they showed such classic films.
Funny, irreverent, and strikingly enough, deep and meaningful. Don't look for famous actors here, go rent a Bond flick for that. Look for insight into the human spirit, the plight of the isolated, and one of the most humorous sci-fi movies ever made! I highly recommend it for fans of a good comedy or science fiction flick. You won't be disappointed!
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