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.
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