Saturday, January 2, 2010
Day 293: Dark Star (1974) - Rank 3.5/5
It's hard not to find so many elements of John Carpenter's first opus endearing. With Dan O'Bannon, he created a student film that garnered enough attention to receive theatrical distribution. Never mind the fact that some of the special effects encroach on the laughably absurd - to hell with it, they are laughably absurd. A beach ball as an antagonistic alien is positively cheesy, but it's hard not to smile as it creates chaos on the ship.
There are some aspects to the plot that drag it out a bit, primarily the digressions and bickering among the crew members (their goal and the basic plot of the film is blowing up "unstable planets" about the galaxy). While humorous at first, their arguments and existential rhetoric tend to go on too long (conversely, I did enjoy the philosophical debate between Lt. Doolittle and a talking, thinking bomb that is on the verge of destroying the ship). But overall, it's an exercise in low budget filmmaking that has undoubtedly served as an inspiration to other independent filmmakers as to what can be produced with a few bucks and a lot of imagination and determination.
Watch the Trailer