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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good value extras
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...
Published on 31 Dec 2011 by M. E. Gosano

versus
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Anamorphic
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...
Published on 14 Jun 2007 by Mr. M. S. Mckinnon


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good value extras, 31 Dec 2011
By 
M. E. Gosano "Manuel" (Bristol, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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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 (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Dark Star - [DVD] [1974] (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. That's quite a feat to pull off as the end titles roll to a country & western song, playing Dark Star out in marvellously judged incongruity. From such uncertain beginnings does a low-budget classic emerge.

THE ACTING
Inexperienced, almost amateurish. That's probably why it works so well.

THE EFFECTS
Welcome to BLAKE'S 7 territory, but don't get sniffy; shaky spacecraft and wobbly sets are an intrinsic part of the tv show's and this film's lasting charm. As for the stowaway alien/beach ball...well, the puncture kit probably cost more than the finished product, but full marks to O' Bannon for making the most of limited resources.

THE DVD
The picture quality (from a lousy degenerated video master) is hopeless, with washed out colours and poor stability. Don't we deserve better than this? A top-notch print may well not be up to the technical scrutiny afforded from a Blu-ray release but, surely, a decent standard-def print is available somewhere. At least it's cheap. And as I said at the top, there's a lot to like about Dark Star...so, for those who take their sci-fi comedies seriously, owning even a flawed copy of this little gem should be a given.

THE BLU-RAY...AT LAST!
Now this is what I'm talking about.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Anamorphic, 14 Jun 2007
By 
Mr. M. S. Mckinnon "MM" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dark Star, 30th Anniversary Special Edition [DVD] [1974] (DVD)
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
By 
Mr. M. S. Mckinnon "MM" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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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.

The documentary is super-informative, but feels padded [with some ugly, repetitive computer-generated visuals and endless montages and clips of the movie], and I ended up listening but not watching.

So while I'm pleased with the package overall - it's a big improvement over existing DVD releases - realistically, it's just OK.

Buyers: temper your expectations accordingly.

Though if you've never seen the film, watch it immediately. It's a lovely, funny, sad, clever little movie, overflowing with creativity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good satirical SF movie, 19 April 2009
This review is from: Dark Star [1974] [DVD] (DVD)
Dark Star is a great cult classic. It has been influential in comedy SF, there are similarities with what was to become "Red Dwarf" and "Alien" The plot has even shown up in a tired episode of star trek:Voyager.

Dark Star is the antithesis of the promethean 2001:A Space Odyssey. Here instead you get a demoralised, unstable, ill disciplined, grotty, gritty space ship. And an intelligent planet busting bomb which has to be taught phenomenology to try to persuade it not to explode prematurely.

It's not laugh a minute but its definitely worth a watch. This probably wouldn't get made in todays movie climate where brainless fodder is the norm.

Recommended.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great little film let down by careless DVD mastering, 9 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Dark Star [1974] [DVD] (DVD)
I'm fond of this film, which shows just how much can be done with how little, but I really can't recommend this region 2 pressing: the sound is very distorted, and the picture is soft and murky. Unless you're a die-hard fan, hang on until somebody finds a better print and makes a new master from it.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A low budget classic - the human side of space fiction, 10 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Dark Star [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is one of my top ten favourite films of all time - why? Especially as I'm not a science fiction fan. But I like the way it injects some humour, realism and cynicism into the "glamour" of space travel - how would you feel if you'd been stuck out in space with the same 3 guys for 20 years and Congress weren't going to pay for a rescue ship for a bit longer because of budget cuts? Low budget, but all the characters ring true. And any film with a guy hanging half in, half out of the bottom of a lift waving his legs frantically and listening to Rossini's "Barber of Seville", who has got there by a totally logical and natural sequence of actions, has got to have something going for it! How much you enjoy it probably depends on what appeals to your sense of humour.
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64 of 72 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing, 26 Nov 2008
By 
The Supercargo (Gothenburg, Sweden) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dark Star, 30th Anniversary Special Edition [DVD] [1974] (DVD)
Have just tried to watch my newly received copy of the Dark Star 30th Anniversary Special Edition. What a disapointment. In what sense is this edition "Special"? No digital remastering, dreadful sound, and not even subtitles for the hard of hearing (and believe me, you need them to follow what the actors are saying). The "extras" are simply short biographies of some of the actors. There's nothing "Special" about this, the use of the word is just a con to get you to pay for something substandard. This is NOT a "Collector's Edition" unless you go out of your way to collect bad film-to-DVD conversions. My advice: don't waste you money.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I bought both DVDs, Anniversary edition and DVD on its own, 28 Jun 2009
By 
M. G ROLLASON - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dark Star, 30th Anniversary Special Edition [DVD] [1974] (DVD)
Dark Star [DVD] [1974]
Dark Star -- 30th Anniversary Special Edition [DVD] [1974]
Having bought the straight DVD I was immediately disappointed at the poor visual and sound quality. I even concluded it might be a bootleg. My reason for that is that scenes that were obviously recorded as stable still shots actually noticeably wobble, as if recorded by some unsteady copying device or camera. Since I really wanted this film I bought the anniversary edition, which has the same low quality. However the latter has two versions of the film, so is the one to keep.

Don't let this take away from the fact that this is a great little film, which is still enjoyable, even with the defective mastering. I have been waiting a long time to get this so no regrets. If a better master comes along I will buy it. This film is now old but still works well. It was a kind-of take-off of the revolutionary 2001, with it female equivalent of 2001's HAL, which found it needed argue with an intelligent bomb. Best appreciated for its irony back then, but still relevant now.

Note that the anniversary edition would not play on my Sony Blu Ray, until I got a later driver update.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful film, 31 Mar 2012
This is one of my favourite films, Yes, the quality is not as good as a new modern day film, it was made in the 1970's....on 16mm, but the restoration is good enough to watch and enjoy the film. Just focus on the story and the characters and you will forget that the image quality is not as good as some recent films in your collection. Incidentally , I don't know if anyone else who has this film has noticed that the end sequence, the last 10 mins or so, is actually taken from a short story by Ray Bradbury. I forget which book it's from but it is either 'The Golden Apples of the Sun'...or 'Dandilion Wine', or The 'Illustrated Man', or 'The Martian Chronicles' (aka The 'Silver locust's)They are only ones I have read in the last 12 months And I remember reading it in one of those books. i have returned all books to the library so I can't check, but maybe some one else has read it also.
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