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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! 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.
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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 **
The screenplay was created by John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon (of Alien screenplay fame), with Dan also playing one of the roles. Don't take this movie seriously as it was intended to be a dark comedy. There are clues dropped, particularly with some of the dialog, especially with the seemingly sentient bombs, and if you don't pick up on that, you should with the "alien" they've taken on board as a mascot and its errant behavior. The ending is straight out of a Ray Bradbury novel (won't reveal which here as it would be a spoiler).
My expectations weren't all that high for a movie that took years to shoot with a total budget of under $50k using 16mm color film. Add to that the likely condition of the print or negative they were able to use. In spite of this it appears to be fairly clean without too much dust or debris. The grain is quite evident and fine details are soft. Having seen other 16mm transfers to Blu-ray, this is to be expected.
Overall, it's a "student" film and a harbinger of things to come for John Carpenter as a director and Dan O'Bannon as a writer. Sit back and enjoy it for what it is, particularly the goofy dark humor.
The nominal main character, Sgt. Pinback (O'Bannon) isn't even who he's supposed to be; donning another man's uniform at the wrong moment was all it took to launch him into space, maybe forever. The ersatz Pinback laments his bad luck and the crew he's trapped with, also an alien life form that looks like either an underinflated beach ball or an overgrown pumpkin. He's responsible for feeding this mischievous mushy orb, and the chore is a real pain. Pinback particularly hates Lt. Doolittle, the new chief astronaut whose fondest wish is to surf a big wave.
Talby, a gentle but somewhat anti-social crew member, spends his days in an observation bubble, just hoping to catch a glimpse of a colorful meteor swarm that circles the universe once every trillion years or so.
When Talby stumbles into a laser beam, he causes a system malfunction that prevents a planet-busting bomb from launching. The talking nuke will detonate in just a few minutes. It can't be budged from beneath the ship and refuses to disarm and return to the cargo bay. What will the men of Dark Star do to avert destruction?
Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 IMDb viewer poll rating.
(6.6) Dark Star (1974) - Dan O'Bannon/Dre Pahich/Brian Narelle/Cal Kuniholm (uncredited: John Carpenter - voice)
This film gives you an idea of what space travel would most likely be like. Just a series of meanial chores and boredom. Much like a job at a warehouse(and feeding the rabid dog) and no weekend off at the beach.
I have the cassete version of this and the expansion scenes are at the end of the tape instead of integrated.
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Interesting to see their take on the rendition of hardware of the ship's interior.Read more