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DARK STAR - 3 Slimes
Rated G
Copyright 1974 Jack H. Harris Enterprises Inc.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • Doolittle - Guy in charge, he's not doing the best of jobs. Burns up trying to surf into a planet's atmosphere.
  • Pinback - Bombardier who seems to have a little space madness, at times he claims to be "Bill Freug." Vaporized.
  • Boiler - Heavyset blonde guy who likes to play with the laser rifle. Vaporized.
  • Talby - Spaced out navigation guy, becomes a "Phoenix Asteroid." (Long story.)
  • The Ship's Computer - Pleasant enough, it would just be nice if she wasn't always saying something along the lines of, "You are about to die." Vaporized.
  • Commander Powell - Original mission commander who was killed by his chair. (Another long story.) Cryogenically frozen.
  • The Alien - It's an orange beach ball with polka dots! Run! Run! Deflated by Pinback.
  • Bomb #19 - Happy little planet killer, annihilates himself and the target celestial body with a smile.
  • Bomb #20 - Neurotic thermostellar device, finally ends it all. Must have been running Windows...

Buy It!

The Plot: 

John Carpenter's first major (Cough.) film is something to behold my friends, what happens when you try to make a special effects bonanza with $55,000? Violent alien beach balls which hop around, space suits made from household materials, and a poor man's Johnny Cash soundtrack. (Though there are some inklings to the theme for Halloween.) Let's face it though, at one point the crew sits down to a nice dinner which Doolittle identifies as ham. What they unwrap from styrofoam trays covered with aluminum foil is mini Otter Pops. In any case, the ship's mission is to destroy planets that might someday fly out of orbit and endanger colonies. To accomplish this they are adequately stocked with intelligent "Thermostellar Bombs." Unfortunately one of them didn't get enough hugs from mommy and daddy bombs when he was little, soon it is lodged in the bomb bay threatening to go off! Talking to the frozen body of Commander Powell is no good, he exhibits the same mental prowess of most nursing home occupants, so Doolittle dons his suit to go out and reason with Bomb #20. After convincing the wayward nuke that it really should think things over Doolittle goes chasing after Talby, the latter gent having been sucked out the airlock and turned into a spinning model figure. Meanwhile Bomb #20 has started it's own theology, any time a fusion device sayeth, "Let there be light." bad things happen.

Note: My review is based on the uncut 83 minute version.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Planet destroying bombs should not have a bubbly personality, it's unnerving.
  • The desolate reaches of deep space are reminiscent of Arizona.
  • Never put all your toilet paper in one place.
  • Sometimes having artificial gravity is a bad thing.
  • Morose surfers are depressing.
  • Elevators constantly run up and down for no reason.
  • Never shoot a balloon with a tranquilizing dart.
  • Viewmaster slides make handy computer panels.
  • It's rather difficult to reason with a neurotic smart bomb.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 5 mins - Thank goodness the bomb knows when he is supposed to go off, but does he have to be so happy about it?
  • 6 mins - Are they zipping through a globular cluster or something? That's a lot of stars.
  • 10 mins - Now we get the credits? Oh heck, the copyright is to a person!
  • 18 mins - And so the scene from "Aliens" finds its roots. Come on Cameron, admit it!
  • 49 mins - In space no one can hear you eat Otter Pops. Yum!
  • 54 mins - Your diary is on 8-track?
  • 61 mins - Talby's space suit is made of the following: silver tape, vacuum cleaner hose, a muffin pan, and styrofoam.
  • 74 mins - Somebody give that thing the electronic equivalent of Prozac.
  • 78 mins - The bomb is quoting Creation, oh that's bad...
  • 81 mins - How did he stop that again?

Quotes: 

  • Mission Control: "Sorry to hear about the radiation leak on the ship, and real sorry to hear about the death of Commander Powell."
  • Ship's Computer: "Ship's Computer calling Bomb #20. You're out of the bomb bay again."
    Bomb #20: "I received the signal to prepare for a drop again."
    Ship's Computer: "But I repeat, this is not a bomb run."
    Bomb #20: "Nevertheless, I received the signal."
    Ship's Computer: "It is an error."
    Bomb #20: "Oh, I don't want to hear that!"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note darkstar1.wav Doolittle: "Storage Area Nine self destructed last week and destroyed the ship's entire supply of toilet paper."
Green Music Note darkstar2.wav Ship's Computer: "Sorry to interrupt your recreation fellows, but it is time for Sergeant Pinback to feed the alien."
Green Music Note darkstar3.wav Pinback: "Idiot!"
Green Music Note darkstar4.wav Bomb #20: "Detonation will occur at the programmed time."
Pinback: "Wouldn't you consider another course of action? For example: just waiting around a while so we can disarm you?"
Bomb #20: "No."
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipdarkstar1.mpg - 2.2m
Disciplining a beach ball is silly enough, but Pinback should have kept a better grip on that broom. There is a funny section later when he tries to use a tranquilizing dart on it, the expected result happens (remember, it is a beach ball).

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 ... 9
Dark Star
Reply #25. Posted on December 07, 2001, 07:32:57 PM by call me paifusac
Damed horrible
Dark Star
Reply #26. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Orion
Try this sometime:  While riding in an elevator full of strangers some time say, "Lt. Pinback, it's time to feed the alien." and half of them will probably break out laughing.  The elevator scene in Dark Star is the funniest sketch ever filmed in any scifi movie.
Dark Star
Reply #27. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by jörg ritter
One of the bloody most important movies in my book! I saw it twice in a row, because the little part-arthouse-part-porn-cinema in the town where i lived (it`s true! The arthousepart was for tax reduction reasons integrated in the porn cinema. This sounds modern, but it was of course a dirty trick, hehehe. We kids didn`t care anyway, only the sounds from the other screeningroom were sort of strange to liten to,especially  when there were quite parts in the movies we watched. Very funny: we heard the uuh ooh aah-stuff quite loud when we saw 2001-a space odyssy, when the astronauts float through deep space and you can hear only them breathing)
Oh, and of course the bomb is happy to detonate! One should be a happy beeing when ones purpouse in live is clear, and one has the ability to live up to it (or better: die up to it;-)
Dark Star
Reply #28. Posted on January 19, 2002, 10:39:06 AM by Sheila
I loved this film the first time I saw it, and still do. I also love Silent Running, another classic.
Dark Star
Reply #29. Posted on February 03, 2002, 03:50:21 PM by linnea
Guess what, I love this film. Anyone who mails me the song Benson Arizona will be on my list of Very Nice People. :)
Dark Star
Reply #30. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Robert L. Folkner
Hysterical! I honestly love this movie! I like to sing the sort-of Outer Space Trucker's theme song while I work at my night job.

I first read about this thing in the book "Cult Movies 2." For all of the cheap special effects this movie, made on a bake-sale budget, actually has a very good plot. It is odd when you think that far worse sciience fiction films have been made since, and with much larger financing at the disposal of the casts and crews.
Dark Star
Reply #31. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by yeti
The first time I saw this film, I was on the floor rolling with laughter.  The part where the beach ball alien tickles Pinback under the armpits, well..., we knew that was coming but it was still hilarious.  More subtle yet just as brilliant  were the scenes of Pinback's "diary".  I think the cheesy props fit well into the overall scheme of the film by not detracting from the clever, and at times brilliant dialogue of the script.  Hat off JC.
Dark Star
Reply #32. Posted on July 13, 2002, 06:00:28 AM by Melinda
I was 9 years old when this film came out and it has been one of my favourites since then.  It is anarchic in the extreme, silly, stupid and yes, I agree, with absolutely crap special effects.  BUT, I love it!!
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Lesson Learned:
  • Osmosis: os·mo·sis (oz-mo'sis, os-) n., 1. When a bird eats something.

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