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Dark Star [1974] [DVD]

Dan O'Bannon , Dre Pahich , John Carpenter    Parental Guidance   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
Price: £17.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Dark Star [1974] [DVD] + Silent Running [DVD] [1972] + 2001: A Space Odyssey [1968] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Dan O'Bannon, Dre Pahich, Brian Narelle, Cal Kuniholm, Adam Beckenbaugh
  • Directors: John Carpenter
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Fabulous Films Limited
  • DVD Release Date: 17 Jan 2000
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004RCLH
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 69,332 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

John Carpenter's pulp science fiction classic - this brilliantly clever and funny parody of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey follows a warped intergalactic mission to blow up unstable planets. Four bored astronauts fill in time between missions catching up on their tans with the help of a sun-lamp, playing with a suspiciously plastic-looking alien mascot they are taking back to earth and conversing with their female version of HAL.

Things start to go horribly wrong as the spaceship computer misfires. Ultimately only one crew member - an ex-surfer - makes it back to earth surfing on an improved board...

Special features: Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 1:185, Interactive Menu, Theatrical Trailer.

From Amazon.co.uk

The crew of the spaceship Dark Star are on a 20-year mission to destroy unstable planets and make way for future colonisation by using smart bombs which zoom off cheerfully to do their duty. But unlike the orderly inhabitants of Star Trek's Enterprise, the nerves of this crew are becoming 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 short 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. --Jim Gay


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good value extras 31 Dec 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
There are some interesting extras included with this Hyperdrive Edition. They include ;

A new text introduction to the film written by Dan O'Bannon who died just before this release.

The original version of the film (68 minutes).

A full-length audio commentary of the final version (83 minutes) by Andrew Gilchrist who tells you everything that is known about the film.

Let There Be Light (115 minutes) is a new, excellent 2010 documentary and includes interviews with many of the surviving cast and crew and archival interviews with John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon. You will find out how the students made the film over three years, exactly where the props and sets came from and how Carpenter and O'Bannon worked with each other.

An interview with Alan Dean Foster (34 minutes) who talks about his novelisation of Dark Star, his meetings with John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon and his other novelisations which included Star Trek and Star Wars, and how he met George Lucas.

An interview with Brian Narelle (40 minutes) who plays Lt Doolittle. He talks about his work on Dark Star, working with John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon, and other work in acting and animation.

A 3D Guide to the Dark Star ship which is a short animation showing you around a few areas of the ship.

The original trailer which gives away a few of the surprises in the film.

A trivia section which details 22 text items.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars STAR CRAZY 19 Nov 2009
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
Format:DVD
There's a lot to like about DARK STAR. If you're up on 70s science-fiction films, you'll know this is where JOHN CARPENTER and DAN O' BANNON cut their teeth. Subsequently falling out, one went on to direct THE THING, the other to write the original screenplay for ALIEN. But without the experience gained on this, effectively an upgraded 'college project', neither would have been associated in later years quite so vividly with the genre.

THE PLOT
Spaced-out hippes travel the cosmos blowing up unstable stars on a pre-colonization mission plagued by continual mishaps, including an intelligent bomb with an existential death wish.

Dark Star is a black comedy which pokes fun at the underlying issues facing a group of hacked-off astronauts who have succumbed to the deep psychological problems associated with being trapped in a confined space - within the realms of infinite space. A perfect handle upon which to hang their subsequent disintegration. And, boy, do these guys fall apart at the seams (even the cryogenically maintained head of their former commander has stopped dispensing good advice and begun a steady decline into gibberish). Only when presented with imminent destruction by a short-tempered and fractious Thermostellar bomb do they actually pull themselves together for a brief but hilarious ethical debate, man and machine in imperfect harmony. Futile, of course, and it's clear by now that things have gone beyond pear-shaped. But moments before what appears to be the bleakest of endings, earlier foreshadowings are thrown into sharp relief (then cleverly realised) and the result - thanks to the sheer AUDACITY of universal order and chaos - is an unexpected pleasure.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Anamorphic 14 Jun 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Having been waiting for a decent edition of this movie on DVD since the format was launched, I was pleased to see this package with "anamorphic widescreen' plastered across the front, so I picked it up straight off.

Unfortunately, it's a port of the original US edition. Pretty good in and of itself - 2 versions of the film, a handful of extras - but NOT anamorphic/enhanced for 16x9 format.

The film itself is terrific. Funny, touching, tense, imaginative, beautifully designed, raw, bleak. And surprisingly sad coming from Howard Hawks-worshipping man's man John Carpenter. Dan O'Bannon's so funny, you wonder why he didn't really act again.

So... best available edition, but not what it claims.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK. 25 Jan 2012
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I realise there's going to be people who were involved in the production of this Blu-ray reading this, so I'll try to be as polite as possible... I know it was a labour of love, with a smaller production budget than many other releases out there. So I know you did what you could. Not everyone can be Criterion. I'm a big fan of the film, and I've even seen it theatrically a couple of times, so I want to like this...

...it's OK. It's not great, but it is an improvement on the DVD. The sound quality is definitely as good as it could ever be, and even then it just is what it is: it sounds like a pretty shaky 70s student effort.

The picture is improved, particularly in terms of dirt and damage removal. There's clearly been some extensive frame-by-frame clean-up here, and it shows. Aside from that, however, it looks soft, hazy, but I guess as good as non-professional 16mm blown up to 35mm can look.

What worries me is a smeary softness to the picture that suggests DNR, and I can't see much in the way of film grain. An earlier comment [now removed, but quoted by a later reviewer] suggests that DNR was used and then fake grain added back in. If this is the case - and the grain that is there looks suspiciously even for such a raggedy film - then that's a very stupid thing to do. No-one who's ever seen this film expects it to look pristine, and you must be aware that it's going to be more film-literate viewers who are the target audience for this. Grain removal is widely regarded as an unwise practice, and if you did that here you've disappointed a lot of people, including me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent
Published 7 days ago by paul bluff
5.0 out of 5 stars Retro
The bomb, talk to the bomb. Still has some retro value. Bit dated. Funny in places.
Published 11 days ago by Churps
5.0 out of 5 stars I guess the quality is pretty good, if not better than the original
Can't be bothered with the so called technical reviews posted here....

Basically, the Blu-ray DVD has two versions of the (home made, remember this) movie that have been... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Kevin C.
1.0 out of 5 stars Alien is my favourite film of all time but this was absolute rubbish
This is supposedly a cult classic and it's suppose to have been the inspiration for Alien.Alien is my favourite film of all time but this was absolute rubbish.
Published 19 days ago by Kieron Land
3.0 out of 5 stars poor quality picture
picture not great, in fact poor with streaks and grainy
i later bought the blue ray version which as two versions and vastly
better picture and sound
Published 1 month ago by Cambria
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie of its Genre
This was a real gem. Wasn't sure I'd like it, but ten minutes in I was hooked. I really identified
with how the characters felt about their lengthy mission. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Red
5.0 out of 5 stars An old favourite
One of my favourite films. It was good in 1974 and it's still good now although just a little dated. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Christin William Gillan
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! I only had a very poor VHS version ...
Wonderful! I only had a very poor VHS version which I had bought for 50p in a junk shop. A totally quirky SF film. Not many of our friends know about this film. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Chris Stracey
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent edition of a great film!!!
For Dark Star/John Carpenter afficionados like me, this is the ultimate edition. Packed full of excellent extras and a good print of the film you will not be disappointed.
Published 2 months ago by Tony Vaughan
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but perhaps more for Sci-fi fans
This film is perhaps more interesting than being a brilliant film, but for Sci-fi people is very enjoyable. Read more
Published 2 months ago by amazon_buyer
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subtitles? 1 18 Dec 2011
2-disc "Hyperdrive Edition" in Region 1 2 12 Feb 2011
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