Dark Planet (1996)

Sci-Fi has a lot of hammed plots and conventional standards. Case in point: Dark Planet. Revolving around the conflict of Alphas-genetically enhanced humans-and rebels, the non-enhanced resistors, one can say that there isn’t much creativity in the setting for this film. It feels like a cheap knock-off version of Star Wars without the awesome cast.

The particulars of the film contend around an armistice between the Rebels and the Alphas. Forged in order to make a joint foray into a wormhole so as to journey to a newly discovered planet that may be capable of holding life, an elite crew is tasked with overcoming their differences so as to contribute something more to humanity than endless war.

The problems here start out early. Besides the cheesy special effects normal for the nineties there is the uninspired world: two factions of humans warring over petty-differences; surely none of us have seen this before! Then there are the more noticeable offenses such as the melodramatic dialogue between characters, numerous instances of over-acting, and the soundtrack which sounds like it was a rejected space-faring version of Jaw’s. To this end the character development is both loop-sided, with factions and personnel being one-dimensional card-board cut-outs of more established archetypes.

To its credit, however, the acting isn’t horrible. The actors perform well enough that viewers will not be turned-away by the repulsive aspects of the film. This being said the plot, while nothing special, does ultimately do a good job of establishing an atmosphere of desperation on and claustrophobia. The action near the end of the film, along with the twist of finding a super-virus exterminating the Earth population hence the need for colonization of the new planet, is decent as far as innovations go but it still feels too stretched, too convenient to honestly say it is an interesting development.

In the end I think Dark Planet is just another science fiction movie, no better or no worse than any of the other hundreds on the market. It has faults and strengths. When I bought it as part of a trio of movies, on the same disc, I was not expecting much from this one as the others were horrid. Dark Planet was the best among the films but even then this is not saying much.

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