Saturday, May 24, 2014

Star Crystal = Rascal Tryst

Note:  This is a review I originally posted to my Epinions account.  A few modifications have been made.

There are several signs that a movie is going to be bad.  One of them is when the Internet Movie Database doesn’t even list most of the characters’ names next to the actors.  (I imagine this means that those characters weren’t named by the writer, even for their own reference.)  Another sign is when many of the actors don’t have any other credits to their name.  Both things are true of Star Crystal.

I found Star Crystal through a site called  (That was actually my first clue that this was going to be a stinker.)  The movie is about an alien that gets picked up by an unsuspecting crew while they are inspecting Mars.  (We know it’s Mars because the camera has a red filter on for all of the exterior shots.)   They find what appears to be a rock or something, which they bring aboard.

They scan the rock and find electronics, which is puzzling.  That is, until the rock hatches to produce a slimy little alien and his glowing crystal computer.  We cut to a scene of the crew of the intrepid SC-37 being suffocated.  The computer is warning crew that there’s a malfunction which is causing the oxygen to be depleted.  Alas, it’s too late.  Everyone is pretty much dead.

Several months pass and SC-37 is undergoing some repairs/upgrades at a space station.  Out of the blue, the space station goes critical and explodes.  Five people are either already onboard SC-37 or manage to make it onboard at the last moment.  We have Roger the computer geek, Cal, Dr. Adrian Kimberly, Sherrie Stevens and Lt. Billie Lynn.  Roger, being the only one there that knows how to work the computers, is designated acting captain.  As captain, Roger figures out that waiting for help would take over a year, but they could make it back to Earth if they stop at a series of supply depots.  So they set off, not realizing that the little alien is still on the ship.

Billie, Cal and Sherrie all meet their ends rather quickly, leaving Roger and Adrian to wonder just who this little slime monster thinks he is.  It’s now up to Roger and Adrian to keep the doors locked at all costs.  (The creature can get control of the computer and steer the ship, but can’t open the doors because they still use manual locks.)

In a shocking plot twist, Roger and Adrian go to confront the creature only to find that he’s miraculously learned English by downloading an electronic copy of the Bible.  He identifies himself as Gar and apologizes for killing everyone else.  He claims to have been acting out of fear, which he points out should be totally understandable to humans.  After learning about our culture, he decides to spare the lives of the two remaining humans.

There are several things that stand out about this movie.  Most notable is the very basic sets.  I think that the producers were forced to use a set from another movie and this was the best they could find.  Honestly, who builds a space ship of that size, but forces the crew to use crawl ways to get from room to room?  This is the least accessible ship I’ve ever seen.

Speaking of which, the first crew seemed to be incredibly unaware of the fact that they were losing oxygen.  Any decent spaceship or space station I’ve ever seen has at least one person on the bridge at all times.  Someone should have been there to see the repeated warnings and do something about it.  This almost happens to Roger and Adrian, but Roger gets up and rectifies the situation.

I also think that there were either major cuts to the script before production or the lack of budget forced several key scenes to not be filmed.  In one scene, Roger and Cal are on the bridge, both three sheets to the wind.  There’s no mention of where they got the liquor, exactly what it is or how they’re able to sober up so quickly afterwards.

In another scene, Adrian is telling Roger that Gar is intelligent.  He was able to go through a maze at nine days with skill comparable to a chimpanzee that was several months old.  There’s no other indication that the original crew had any interaction with the creature.  I’m also wondering how it is that Adrian found the reports so easily when those repairing the ship missed the creature altogether.  It’s also curious that Gar didn’t attack the repair crews.  Apparently, Gar will attack you at the drop of a hat.  How is it that the original crew interacted with Gar before he killed them all, then went several months without a single repair person setting him off only to pick off the new crew one by one?

Also, the entire sequence on the space station was strange.  (This is the only space station I’ve seen with actual escalators.)  We have some meeting going on with people trying to decide what to do when the alarms suddenly go off.  I don’t recall any explanation being given.  I think we are supposed to assume that Gar had something to do with it.

The ending is really strange.  We’re treated to a sequence of shots of Gar, Roger and Adrian helping each other.  From what I understood, Gar agreed to spare the lives of Roger and Adrian if they helped him get back to his home planet.  It wasn’t clear to me if Roger and Adrian were being brought back to Earth, being dropped off at a supply depot or being transferred to another ship.  It was very hard to understand Gar.  He sounded like someone with a very bad sore throat who didn’t speak English well.

After all is said and done, Roger and Adrian apparently just turn the ship over to Gar, who is able to make it back to wherever it is he came from.  Yes, I’d be glad to make it back to Earth in one piece, but if an alien monster killed three people that I was sharing a ship with, I don’t think I’d be so quick to throw him the keys to the ship, especially when I don’t own said ship.  I would have liked to see Roger back on Earth having to explain himself to the powers that be as to why he gave a hostile alien a really big ship.

To call this movie sub-par would be an insult to all sub-par movies that came before it.  This was the amateur hour of movies.  After looking around, I have yet to even see cover art that does it justice.  The only reason to see this movie is for the sheer laugh value.  If you’re looking for a movie to pick apart on Epinions, this is your movie.  I’m sure there are even more flaws that I totally missed.  This is one-star material.

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