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Dark Star

Hey - that alien looks like a beach ball

Intriguing sci-fi flick

Best with:
Berghoff Dark

Dark Star is set aboard a scout ship, in outer space, tasked with the mission of destroying planets.

The film evokes questions about artificial intelligence and the role it should play in military (and other) applications. Robotic modules are created, trained, and then deployed. The robots' mission is to destroy the planet that they land on .. what if the robot questions its mission?

Between missions the crew picks up a life form .. which happens to resemble a beach ball with
claw feet. The alien escapes from his room, leading to an edgy elevator shaft sequence.

A brief plot synopsis appears below.

It is the mid 21st century. Mankind has explored the boundaries of his own solar system, and now he reaches out to the endless interstellar distances of the universe. He moves away from his own small planetary system in the huge hyper-drive starships: computer-driven, self-supporting, close-system spacecraft that travel at mind-staggering post-light velocities. Man has begun to spread among the stars. Enormous ships embark with generations of colonists searching the depths of space for new Earths, new homes, new beginnings.

Dark Star the scout-ship traveling far in advance of these colony ships carries the Advance Exploration Corps. Their job is to clear the trail for the peaceful colonists who follow. So far from home that Earth is no longer even a point of light in the sky, they comb the universe for those dangerously unstable planets which lie in the path of the colony ships and destroy them with Exponential Thermo-stellar Bombs, equipped with sophisticated thought and speech mechanisms to allow them to make executive decisions in a crisis situation, and so powerful that they start a chain reaction in the very matter of the planets that they are dropped on, turning the planet into a giant reactor which destroys itself in one staggering thermal flash.

The crew of Dark Star, Doolittle, Talby, Pinback and Boiler, have been in space for 20 years and are preparing to drop their 19th such bomb, blowing yet another unstable planet into oblivion . . . they will remain in space until all their bombs are gone. Only then can they return to Earth. They have been rendered immortal by sophisticated medical techniques, their bodies are those of men in their twenties. The isolation and loneliness has eroded their morale. They eke out the days in a bored stupor, relieved only by the occasional bomb run and by the continual malfunctions of the ship's systems. The ship's CO, Commander Powell, died years ago in one such malfunction. His body is kept below decks in a freezer.

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