Low-budget story of four astronauts in deep space, whose mission is to destroy unstable planets in star systems which are to be colonised. The late Commander Powell is stored in deep freeze, where he is still able to offer advice. As their mission nears completion, they must cope with a runaway alien which resembles a beach-ball, faulty computer systems, and a "smart bomb" who thinks it is God.Written by
Alexander Lum <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Opinions vary widely on this one and I can see why. In the movie's favor is its bizarre energy and atmosphere which makes its melange of scifi horror and comedy intermittently hypnotic. On the downside are the truly amateurish production values and pathetic acting. Most of this movie has the look of some longhaired grad film school students with no life shooting a quasi-homage to 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY guerilla style in their college dorm in the middle of the night. Aspects are intriguing, though, including the alternatively exasperating yet also humorous renegade beach ball monster attacks, which are clearly Dan O'Bannon's fledgling version of his later far scarier and cleverer ALIEN screenplay. The dialogue between the astronauts and the Hal 9000-esque bomb is definitely the funniest sequence; the movie probably should have been a 20 minute short focusing on this portion rather than a full blown feature length effort with all the other boring subplots, which feel tacked-on like they decided to extend the movie at some point but couldn't come up with anything resembling an organic structuring to justify it.
Carpenter does come up with interesting solutions to budget problems, like creating a fake futuristic elevator by using forced perspective on their dorm room floor and turning the camera on its side. The effect very nearly works!
In all, this is probably best viewed as an early failed effort by two talents who went on to bigger and brighter things. Carpenter's techno music is at its disharmonically buzzy worst here; amazing that a mere four years later he would craft the masterful music, script and direction for the truly harrowing HALLOWEEN. That movie bears almost no resemblance to this one and is a testament to how far someone can come in such a short span. It has to give the worst hack considerable hope (along the lines of James Cameron going from PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING to TERMINATOR.) If you rent this for $0.99 and go in with no expectations, you'll probably still be disappointed, but there are a few inexplicably charming moments amidst the mostly boring and monotonously dated peek into the "future world" of the 1990s by minds of the 1970s. 1.5 / 4 stars (but I still pause on it whenever I stumble onto it on late night cable.)
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