Written by: John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon (original story and screenplay)
Directed by: John Carpenter
Starring: Dan O'Bannon, Dre Pahich, Brian Narelle
My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous movie reviews!
A small crew twenty years into their mission and deep into space suddenly find everything going wrong.
This is certainly a budget film, and the production leaves a lot to be desire. While it presents interesting ideas, it can't overcome a movie that becomes comedy due to lack of budget. This isn't far from a couple of guys making a movie in their back yard. The result doesn't match their ambition.
As John Carpenter stated, a "great looking student film" became a "terrible looking feature film" as they padded the film to reach feature length.
The only reason to see this is for a glimpse of Carpenter's early work. Everything is rough and the plot meanders with no clear destination. The 'alien' chase is rather long. The crew is trapped on a ship that is falling apart. If it can go wrong, it has.
This is incredibly low budget. The interesting concepts are completely overshadowed by the production. This includes a beach ball alien. There is no mistaking they attached rubber feet to and painted a beach ball. While it's comedic, I don't think that was their intention at all. Look at what Carpenter did in the future. O'Bannon went on to write Alien. These guys don't do comedy. You could call this dark comedy, but the only overt comedy is the smart bomb that is eager to detonate. Most of the 'comedy' ties back to the low budget.
The ending goes for broke, but with a movie like this, what else can you do? The smart bomb that was earlier talked out of exploding with reference to philosophy, uses that same philosophy to justify exploding. There may also be a space surfing scene.
This was Carpenter and O'Bannon's first movie, a student film. It shows, but you have to start somewhere. O'Bannon used this script as the basis for writing Alien (1979). Carpenter went on to do Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) next, followed later by Halloween (1978), Escape from New York (1981), and The Thing (1982).