Dark Star (1974) starring Brian Narelle, Cal Kuniholm, Dre Pahich, Dan O'Bannon directed by John Carpenter Movie Review

Dark Star (1974)   3/53/53/53/53/5




83 mins



Dark Star (1974) starring Brian Narelle, Cal Kuniholm, Dre Pahich, Dan O'Bannon

It's Out There

Doolittle, Boiler, Talby and Sgt. Pinback have been floating around in space for 20 years on a mission to blow up all unstable planets which could get in the way of the colonisation of space by humans. This small team do so from their space ship "Dark Star" using smart bombs with an ability to know what should be done. When they are not blowing up planets they are listening to music or messing about with an alien which they keep on board as a pet. But things take an unusually exiting turn when one of the bombs they are about to drop latches itself to the space ship giving them just 24 minutes before it explodes.

So let me give you the blurb starting with the fact the John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon started this movie as a college project and it grew from something small to a full movie. Now even casual movie fans will know the name John Carpenter but for those who don't know Dan O'Bannon was one of the writers of "Alien" which makes him an important man in the history of cinema. But before you think great a forerunner to "Alien" it isn't, in fact at times "Dark Star" feels like it may have influenced "Red Dwarf" with this space comedy.

Dark Star (1974) starring Brian Narelle, Cal Kuniholm, Dre Pahich, Dan O'Bannon

Sounds great so far as space comedies are okay but "Dark Star" with that low budget, made for college, early 70s look is an acquired taste which almost screams out for you to be spaced before you attempt to watch it. Don't get me wrong as it is amusing in its utter daftness from these space men listening to a variety of music from easy listening to surf music as well as observing how boredom and routine has sucked the life from them but it is truly out there at times especially with some trance like experimental music using bottles and cans.

I suppose what I am saying is that "Dark Star" is incredibly uneven and it can go from being amusing and daft to boredom and plainly out there in a blink of an eye. And unfortunately we have to wade through a lot of out there stuff before we get to the real drama of the smart bomb putting everyone in danger which unless you are loving the out there humour is a bit of a slog. Yes an inflatable alien beach ball is hilarious and in truth is reason alone to watch "Dark Star" even though there will be times when it is slowness will become unbearable

What this all boils down to is that "Dark Star" didn't do it for me because it is uneven, too out there and plainly too daft for my liking but I would imagine those who saw it back in the 70s probably love it more.