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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 ... 6 7 [8] 9
Dark Star
Reply #57. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Gadi
I stumbled upon this film once when zapping thru channels, and had a delightful surprise. I realized the allusion to Stanley Kubrik's Space Odissey when I first saw it, and when I saw the scene of the B-52 captain riding the atomic bomb in Dr. Strangelove years later the connection to DS occured to me immediately.

Great great movies all of them!
Dark Star
Reply #58. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Michael
  I saw an interview with John Carpenter. He said this was ment to be a comedy! But in the era when it was made America had such a drug culture that the audiance just said "Wowwwww" and looked vacant.
Dark Star
Reply #59. Posted on June 13, 2006, 11:19:10 AM by Webb
The scenes of Lt. Pinback feeding the alien and cleaning the elevator made me laugh so hard that I bought a copy of the film when it came out on video!  Twenty some odd years after seeing this movie, those scenes still put me on the floor.  
Re: Dark Star
Reply #60. Posted on January 11, 2007, 02:19:25 AM by Zapranoth
I have to say, one part that made me laugh unexpectedly was when the ship drops out of its hyperdrive (or whatever) -- and it just suddenly STOPS.  No sound, nothing.  Just like they quit animating its movement.    I thought that was so jarringly funny....
Re: Dark Star
Reply #61. Posted on January 17, 2007, 06:14:48 PM by Torgo
I've got this cinematic wonder on DVD.

The dead pan acting suits this movie wonderfully.  Never fails to get me laughing hysterically.
Re: Dark Star
Reply #62. Posted on September 09, 2008, 04:21:27 PM by RAZORBILL
YE GODS!, DONT EVER TRY TO BECOME A FILM CRITIC!, YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE NO IDEA WHATSOEVER OF WHAT A GREAT FILM LOOKS LIKE! DARKSTAR IS A GENUINE CLASSIC, A FILM THAT REAL MOVIE LOVERS STILL TALK ABOUT TODAY, ITS A GREAT FILM, ON A PAR AT LEAST WITH SO-CALLED TODAYS "BLOCKBUSTERS" SO I SUGGEST YOU HANG YOUR CAP UP AND TRY COMMENTATING ON SAY...FISHING?
Re: Dark Star
Reply #63. Posted on September 25, 2008, 11:57:30 AM by Radioman970/James Perry
I wrote about this one some time ago.  It has since become one of those on the short list that I can pretty much watch any time and be elated for a while after. 

I don't know if a remake would be any good.  This is a product of it's time.  Instead, they should just do the Red Dwarf movie.   Thumbup   

...erm, on second thought... cheech & chong would be perfect for this kind of thing and as of now (2008) they are working together again.  Huuummmmm..... *scratches chin at length*
Re: Dark Star
Reply #64. Posted on August 09, 2009, 01:28:01 AM by Orion
Probably the funniest scene in any B-movie I've ever watched was Pinbeck staggering out of the elevator with the rim of that escape hatch around his neck, smoke pouring everywhere. Willie Coyote on his worst days had nothing on this.   BounceGiggle
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