Dark Star is without a doubt one of the worst sci-fi films I've ever seen, and I honestly can't believe it came from the same man who gave us Halloween, Escape from New York, and The Thing. This movie is poorly written, poorly acted, and extremely dull. There's not a drop of humor in the entire movie, and none of the characters are even remotely memorable. And I refuse to accept the excuse that it was a student film and no one knew any better. Look at Evil Dead. Same situation, much better film. The problem here is that nobody knew what they wanted. Is this a parody of 2001? Is this its own entity? Is this supposed to be funny? Who knows?
So far as I can tell, the story revolves around the small crew of the Dark Star, a ship that destroys desolate planets to make humanity a little safer in the universe. Why this would be the best course of action is never explained. One by one, the crew experiences strange situations, such as an escaped alien (which is a goddamn beach ball painted with polka dots) and a computer malfunction that causes one of their planet-destroying bombs to detonate on the ship. At this point, I had already checked out and was starting to nod off, as the film is so monotone that it has the same effect as a metronome. The finale sees the Dark Star explode, leaving two crew members alive, as they were outside the ship at the time. And I didn't care that they all died because there was no emotional investment in them to begin with.
From the very first scene of the film, I had no clue what Dark Star was supposed to be about. It cycles through two or three different directions before settling on the bomb thing at the end. There's only four characters, and if they hadn't been wearing nametags, I'd have thought they were the same guy four times. Nobody tries even a little bit to perform, and the story has no laughs, no action, and no purpose. Easily Carpenter's worst film and it's a miracle he had a lengthy career afterward.