Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dark Star

Dark Star is a movie about the boredom and funny tribulations associated with long term space travel.  The crew of the ship, four guys that look like they belong at woodstock, are on a mission to destroy planets that aren't stable for human life.  Along the way they have to deal with boredom, annoying mascots, and worse of all, each other.  Each character has a different way of dealing with boredom.  One guy made an organ out of bottles and other trash.  Another character makes video diaries of himself talking about home and how annoyed he is with the other guys.  One source of entertainment on the ship is the beach ball mascot.  During one scene, Pinback tries to feed it, but ends up chasing it around the ship after it runs away, resulting in a drawn out and awkward moment.  Most of the dialogue in the movie is some kind of argument or one character making fun of another.  The whole plot of having to destroy planets is just a background idea until the end.  One of the missiles used to blow up planets, which also talks, refuses to launch and gets in an argument with the crew and the ship's computer.  After a deep philosophical conversation about the nature of life, the missile blows itself up, killing the crew in the weirdest ways possible.
     After watching this movie, it felt like it was either made by a two different directors, or had a long break in between shooting the first and second half.  The majority of the movie seems like it was intended to be a serious movie, excluding some aspects like the guys' beards and the beach ball thing.  The story and try hard acting seemed like a movie that was aiming to take it self seriously.  The last third or so of the movie might as well be from a different film altogether.   The serious tone was abandoned for a funny, dumb humor approach.  Instead of trying to have deep conversations, the characters started smart talking robots and space surfing.  It was unexpected, but it worked because it was genuinely funny.  The surfing bit was especially ridiculous since the film was so obviously a hippie, stoner movie.  No movie that wasn't made in the seventies would try to be a serious science fiction film, but still let the characters have big, dirty beards.  Also, the whole scene with the beach ball chase seemed like Pinback was tripping on acid or something.  All seriousness and lack thereof aside, the film looked surprisingly good despite having such a low budget.  Some of it was obviously cheap, such as the outside of the ship, space suits, and lack of many rooms or scene locations.  What space they did film in looked rather convincing, considering the budget and the time when it was made.  The parts that did look really bad and low budget only helped the film and it's humorous approach to the genre.

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