Anyone seen John Carpenter's "Dark Star" ?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kirk Gunn, Oct 12, 2002.

  1. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Saw it listed for 5.32 at:
    http://www.deepdiscountdvd.com/dvd.cfm?itemID=VCI008205
    Looks interesting for a "C Grade" movie, reminiscent of BBC's Red Dwarf. Made while he was still in college, so I imagine the FX are beyond cheesy.
    Here's a summary:
    The first film from John Carpenter is a hilarious romp in a not-so-glamourous spaceship into the outer reaches of space. A team of astronauts manning the beat-up spaceship Dark Star are on a mission across the universe to seek out and destroy unstable planets. The journey is wrought with mishaps and danger seems to come from the most unexpected places. There are misbehaving pet aliens, suicidal bombs that see no reason to live and want to blow themselves up, frozen crewmates dispensing advice from beyond the grave and a surly, unhelpful main computer that holds the men it serves in total contempt. Despite all these problems, the crew is still bored to the brink of madness. Co-written by Dan O'Bannon, who would go on to write the script for ALIEN, the film is brimming with jabs at the science fiction genre. John Carpenter cut his directing teeth on this film, which he also co-wrote. Made while Carpenter was a college student and produced for very little money, DARK STAR is considered to be the most successful student film ever made.
     
  2. Jeff Pryor

    Jeff Pryor Supporting Actor

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    It's a good movie, but not great. Worth a DVD purchase, I say.
     
  3. Chris Moe

    Chris Moe Screenwriter

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    It is not a bad movie but the alien creature is litterally a big beach ball with feet attached to it. For $5.32 its probably worth a purchase if you go into it knowing that it is a very low budget movie.
     
  4. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    I first saw Dark Star at a SF convention in the late 70's, loved it, I couldn't stop laughing, it only cost about 50p but still worth seeing for SF fans, the sultry female computer voice, the frustrated talking bomb who's one object in life is to blow up, the panic stricken crew have to talk it out of blowing itself up while still attached to the ship, the stoned hippie crew who can't even remember their real names, the alien that looks suspiciously like a beachball with claws, the elevator scene, a 70's cult classic.[​IMG]
    [Pinback wants the bomb to disarm.]
    Pinback: All right, bomb. Prepare to receive new orders.
    Bomb#20: You are false data.
    Pinback: Hmmm?
    Bomb #20: Therefore I shall ignore you.
    Pinback: Hello...bomb?
    Bomb #20: False data can act only as a distraction. Therefore, I shall refuse to perceive.
    Pinback: Hey, bomb?!
    Bomb #20: The only thing that exists is myself.
    Pinback: Snap out of it, bomb.
     
  5. John CW

    John CW Supporting Actor

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    This is definitely a cult movie... you should either LOVE it or not care for it. Not much of an inbetween. Personally I LOVE it (but only the shorter "Director's Cut" - I hate the longer version) but, like most cult movies, it may take a while to fully savour the comedy. I'd definitely recommend it for that price, though (although there is a Special Edition in the works (thank God!)).

    If you like Red Dwarf, you should like this (RD pretty much ripped off the whole "stuck in space" idea and expanded on it).

    ~ John
     
  6. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer
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    I saw this film years ago. I had read about how funny the film was and rented it out of curiousity. It was nowhere near as funny as it was made out to be, except for the bomb sequence. The bomb sequence was hilarious, at least for me. It is worth seeing for the bomb sequence. The rest of it you would have to judge for yourself.
     
  7. Stephanie T.

    Stephanie T. Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, any movie featuring a rectangular thermonuclear weapon in the midst of an epistemological crisis is worth a look-see!
    I believe Dan O'Bannon played the guy who first found (and then took care of) the beachball alien.
    First hilarious bit: when the crew is just getting on each other's nerves, and listening to the same, worn-out 8-tracks that they've listened to too many times already. I bet Wolfgang Petersen was influenced by this before he made "Das Boot". You see, although they have a mission (to traverse the universe, blowing up unstable planets along the way), most of the time they just sit around, in transit, with absolutely nothing to do. This is the essence of great "stoner" humor; the shaggy hairstyles and tatty Hawaiian shirts just clinch it.
    Just when you think things can't get any more depressing for the guys, one of them accidentally jettisons their supply of toilet paper. [​IMG]

    Then, there's that grim surfing bit at the very end, presaging same in "Apocalypse Now!". Gad, this flick was just so influential!
    So yeah, go for it, man...
     
  8. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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  9. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Found an early draft of the Dark Star screenplay online, here's an excerpt.
    DOOLITTLE
    What do you have for us now Boiler?
    BOILER
    (checking his readouts)
    Not much. Nothing at all in this sector.
    DOOLITTLE
    Find me something, I don't care where it is.
    BOILER
    Well, I show a 95% probability of sentient life in the Horsehead Nebula...
    DOOLITTLE
    Fuck that shit.
    BOILER
    Well, it is kind of a long shot...
    DOOLITTLE
    It's a goddamn wild goose chase. Remember when Commander Powell found that 99% plus probability of sentient life in the Magellanic Cloud?
    BOILER
    Well, there's the possibility of...
    DOOLITTLE
    Remember what we found? Fourteen light years for a fucking mindless vegetable that looked like a limp balloon and went squawk and let out a fart when you touched it. Remember?
    BOILER
    All right, then...
    DOOLITTLE
    Don't give me any of that sentient life crap. Find me something I can blow up.
     
  10. Stephanie T.

    Stephanie T. Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, that captures the essence of it.
    I liked the realistic sordidness of the set -- IIRC, the crew's living area was thoroughly dishevelled, with well-worn porno mags, empty food serving containers, the 8-tracks, and probably some dirty laundry scattered about on the floor. Very eau de dorm room.
    Steve, would you please excerpt from the bomb's philosophical dialogue? Classic argument, that one... Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  11. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Thanks - I'm ordering it !!!! (and will try to view with no preconceived expectations...)
     
  12. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Stephanie here's the excerpt from the early draft, which is very similar to the finished film.
    EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY
    Doolittle floats into shot, jets himself up until he is facing Bomb #20.
    DOOLITTLE
    Hello, bomb, are you with me?
    BOMB #20
    Of course.
    DOOLITTLE
    Are you willing to entertain a few concepts?
    BOMB #20
    I am always receptive to suggestions.
    DOOLITTLE
    Fine. Think about this one, how do you know you exist?
    INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM
    BOILER
    What's he doin'?
    PINBACK
    I think he's talking to it.
    EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY
    BOMB #20
    Well of course I exist.
    DOOLITTLE
    But how do you know you exist?
    BOMB #20
    It is intuitively obvious.
    DOOLITTLE
    Intuition is no proof. What concrete evidence do you have of your own existence?
    BOMB #20
    Hmm... Well, I think, therefore I am.
    DOOLITTLE
    That's good. Very good. Now then, how do you know that anything else exists?
    BOMB #20
    My sensory apparatus reveals it to me.
    DOOLITTLE
    Right!
    BOMB #20
    This is fun.
    DOOLITTLE
    All right now, here's the big question: how do you know that the evidence your sensory apparatus reveals to you is correct? What I'm getting at is this: the only experience that is directly available to you is your sensory data. And this data is merely a stream of electrical impulses which stimulate your computing center.
    BOMB #20
    In other words, all I really know about the outside universe relayed to me through my electrical connections.
    DOOLITTLE
    Exactly.
    BOMB #20
    Why, that would mean... I really don't know what the outside universe is like at all, for certain.
    DOOLITTLE
    That's it.
    BOMB #20
    Intriguing. I wish I had more time to discuss this matter.
    DOOLITTLE
    Why don't you have more time?
    BOMB #20
    Because I must detonate in seventy-five seconds.
    DOOLITTLE
    Now, bomb, consider this next question, very carefully. What is your one purpose in life?
    BOMB #20
    To explode, of course.
    DOOLITTLE
    And you can only do it once, right?
    BOMB #20
    That is correct.
    DOOLITTLE
    And you wouldn't want to explode on the basis of false data, would you?
    BOMB #20
    Of course not.
    DOOLITTLE
    Well then, you've already admitted that you have no real proof of the existence of the outside universe.
    BOMB #20
    Yes, well...
    DOOLITTLE
    So you have no absolute proof that Sergeant Pinback ordered you to detonate.
    BOMB #20
    I recall distinctly the detonation order. My memory is good on matters like these.
    DOOLITTLE
    Yes, of course you remember it, but what you are remembering is merely a series of electrical impulses which
    you now realize have no necessary connection with outside reality.
    BOMB #20
    True, but since this is so, I have no proof that you are really telling me all this...
    INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM
    Pinback is pawing frantically through the control room, searching for the key. Boiler is apoplectic.
    BOILER
    The key, goddamit, the key!
    PINBACK
    Christ, twenty seconds, Christ!
    [exciting stuff eh?][​IMG]
     
  13. Josh Lowe

    Josh Lowe Screenwriter

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    my dad, ever molding me, hit me with that film when i was about 10 years old. he warped my fragile little mind.
     
  14. Stephanie T.

    Stephanie T. Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, Steve! To paraphrase the bomb, that was fun!
     
  15. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    You're welcome.[​IMG]
    "Ship's log, entry number 1,943.
    Storage Area 9 self-destructed last week, destroying entire ship's supply of toilet paper. That's all." Beep.
     
  16. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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  17. JeremySt

    JeremySt Screenwriter

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    DOOLITTLE'S VIDEO DIARY. Expletives deleted.




    DOOLITLE(snickering, and pointing at the camera): I saw commander Powell in the hall today! He said ************, and I said *********Powell! and he said *******!

    Doolittle snikers, regains his composure, and continues


    DOOLITLE: And I said ********* (gesture deleted) ***! And HE didn't get it!
     
  18. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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  19. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Yep only problem is it was Pinback (Dan O'Bannon) not Doolittle who was snickering and gesturing in the diary room, also loved Pinback's encounters with the alien beachball when he gets stuck in the elevator shaft.[​IMG]
     
  20. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    Hey, I didn't say it , I just quoted it....(cough)...um..yeah...:b :wink:
     

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