The misadventures of a deep space wrecking crew. Charged with an endless mission to destroy unstable planets—and long since worn down by routine, isolation, faulty equipment, and each other—they’re slowly pushed to the edge in this offbeat, low-budget response to 2001.
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Fun but too puerile. Obviously the "2001" ironic revision - the talk about phenomenology with the computer, which clearly exposes the mentioned movie's presumption - and the surfing towards death, are moments of great imagination but, in general, has become a film that, though indicative of some of Carpenter's later paths, "aged" badly.
Interesting and offbeat early effort from Carpenter. The bargain-basement special effects and production values somehow only add to its scrappy charms and loopy atmosphere. But working against it is a slow pace and a number of sequences that drag on too long. Maybe not quite consistent enough to be a cult classic, but a fun little movie.
An auspicious debut for Carpenter, showing space not as the final frontier explored by brave heroes, but as just another setting for mundane, mind-numbing working-class hell. Very primitive, even boring as far as technique goes, and it feels like a 40-minute idea stretched against its will to qualify as a feature. But it has a distinct personality and point of view. For a director starting out, that's enough.
In my opinion this is one of Carpenter's most appealing films. The trash atmosphere - resulting from an extremely low budget - is compensated by an inventive grasp on the subject with many ironical and philosophical moments. And there are some nice details like the voice and the design of the computer as well as the voice of the bomb (resembling Kubrick's HAL 9000).
35mm. Version Française. Oui, I saw this Z-movie in a very good print where unfortunately everyone spoke French. Tried to imagine the original English version, probably not great either. Nevertheless, the philosophical argument between Doolittle and the Bomb might be funnier and more convincing in French, "Je pense donc je suis," says the Bomb, like Descartes before it. It could have been a good sci-fi comedy Short.
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 that you exist?
Bomb #20: Hmmmm... well... I think, therefore I am.
Doolittle: That's good. That's very good. But how do you know that anything else exists?
Bomb #20: My sensory apparatus reveals it to me. This is fun.
It's entertaining, and it already shows a bit of Carpenter's colourful imagination - I especially liked the animated bits. But it shows none of his control over the mise-en-scène. When the joke wears off, the film starts overstaying its welcome. And this is way before the end.