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Darkstar: The Interactive Movie

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Title: Darkstar: The Interactive Movie  
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Subject: Dark Star, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Peter Graves, Trace Beaulieu, Mary Jo Pehl, List of interactive movies, Clive Robertson, List of indie game developers, Strategy First, Bill Bruce
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Darkstar: The Interactive Movie

Darkstar: The Interactive Movie
256px
A promotional flyer for the game.
Developer(s) Parallax Studio
Writer(s) J. Allen Williams
Composer(s) J. Allen Williams, Jimmy Pitts, Bill Bruce
Platform(s) Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) Mac OS X
  • NA November 5, 2010
Microsoft Windows
  • NA November 8, 2010
  • EU December 16, 2011
Genre(s) Interactive movie
Mode(s) Single-player video game
Distribution DVD-R DL, Download

Darkstar: The Interactive Movie is an interactive movie video game written, produced, edited, animated, and directed by J. Allen Williams,[1] owner of the American animation studio Parallax Studio. It features actor Clive Robertson (Sunset Beach),[2] the entire original cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000,[3] animations by the prolific comic book artist Richard Corben,[4] and the final work of actor Peter Graves who narrated the game. Darkstar was released online November 5, 2010 through the Darkstar website and as a downloadable through Strategy First.[5] It was re-released in stores December 9, 2011 in the United Kingdom and Ireland through Lace Mamba Global.[6]

Interactive movie

Darkstar differs from the standard game format in that it contains over thirteen hours of live action cinema–far more than any previous full motion video game. Creator and Parallax Studio CEO J. Allen Williams gave a brief description of the project to the website Slightly Deranged saying:

Plot

The player is Captain John O'Neil of the Westwick. You awaken from a cryogenic sleep that has spanned a period of over 300 years. As a result of the abnormally long hibernation, you have no memory as to who you are, where you are, or why you are there. Beside you are three other sleep chambers. One is empty, the other is occupied by a beautiful woman, and in the final chamber lies the body of a man–300 years dead and missing his left hand.

Your ship is damaged and helplessly adrift in the orbit of the ominous Theta Alpha III. An unknown crew member has deleted any data that provides an explanation as to why this is.

You know, despite the emptiness and desolation, that someone is in the cold silence waiting for you.

And, as if the day isn't bad enough, the Earth has been destroyed for three centuries.[7]

Cast

Darkstar has roughly thirteen hours of live-action cinema including a cast of all real actors. It stars Clive Robertson as Westwick Captain John O'Neil.[8] It also features the entire original cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000 including its creator Joel Hodgson as Scythe Commander Kane Cooper, Trace Beaulieu as Westwick First Officer Ross Perryman, Frank Conniff as both Westwick Navigator Alan Burk and the voice of the quirky robot SIMON (Semi Intelligent Motorized Observation Network), Mary Jo Pehl as both Bridgebuilder Captain Beth Ingram and the voice of the computer Westwick Main, and J. Elvis Weinstein as Galactic Discovery II Captain Cedrick Stone. Also from MST3K is Beth "Beez" McKeever as Westwick Pilot Paige Palmer who stars across from Clive Robertson. Darkstar was also the final work of legendary actor Peter Graves who is famous for his roles in such films as Airplane!, Men in Black II, and his lead as Jim Phelps in the original Mission: Impossible television series.[9]

In addition to Clive Robertson and the MST3K players, the production has a cast of nearly fifty actors, almost all of whom are local to Springfield, Missouri and the surrounding area.[10]

  • Trace Beaulieu as Westwick First Officer Ross Perryman
  • Bill Brown as B170 Pilot Billy Bob Brown
  • Alan Bryce as President Timothy Brisbane
  • Libby Chappell as F88 Pilot Lisa Hicks
  • Frank Conniff as Westwick Navigator Alan Burk and the voice of SIMON (Semi Intelligent Motorized Observation Network)
  • Valli Flores as Northstar Pilot Zoe Palmer
  • Peter Graves as Narrator
  • Lisa Hamaker as Solar Patrol Ship Pilot Landry
  • Obie Harrup III as Captain of the Solar Patrol Ship
  • Brad Hedrick as Bridgebuilder First Officer McIntyre
  • Joel Hodgson as Scythe Commander Kane Cooper
  • Brian McElroy as F88 Wing Commander B. Mitchell
  • Beez McKeever as Westwick Pilot Paige Palmer
  • Paul Oakley as Purgatory II Warden Tom Carlson
  • Mary Jo Pehl as Bridgebuilder Captain Beth Ingram and the voice of Westwick Main
  • Clive Robertson as Westwick Captain John O'Neil
  • Todd Smith as B170 Pilot Rock Carnage (Francis Lieberwitz)
  • Woody P. Snow as TurboTwin Pilot Chuck Nordstrum
  • Aaron Wahlquist as F88 Pilot Stewart
  • J. Elvis Weinstein as Galactic Discover II Captain Cedrick Stone
  • J. Allen Williams as B170 Pilot Dean Wilder
  • Margaret Noel Williams as the voice of MAGS (Motorized Automated Girl for SIMON)

Production

Darkstar was written, produced, animated, edited, and directed by J. Allen Williams over the course of nearly a decade. Though most of the credit goes to Williams alone, a number of others contributed to the enormous production. Additional animations for Darkstar were done by the prolific American illustrator and comic book artist Richard Corben who is best known for his "Den" character featured in the 1981 film Heavy Metal and for his comics featured in the magazine of the same name. Other noteworthy crew members include cinematographer Roger Jared, co-producer Mark Walters, electronic media producer Dahlia Clark, and composers Jimmy Pitts, Bill Bruce, and J. Allen Williams.[11]

Soundtrack

Darkstar: Musical Score from the Interactive Movie
J. Allen Williams
Released 5 November 2010
Genre Soundtrack
Length 145 minutes

The neoclassical, progressive rock soundtrack to Darkstar was composed and performed by Jimmy Pitts (keyboards and pianos), Bill Bruce (guitars and percussion), and J. Allen Williams (bass guitar) under the moniker "Progressive Sound And MetalWorx". Two other performers include Brent Frazier (guitars) and James Lee Dillard (percussion).[12] Additional music for Darkstar was composed by Ruell Chappell, an original member of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Though the soundtrack was originally intended to feature over an hour of music by the rock band Rush, negotiations with Universal Music eventually dissolved and Williams was forced to replace much of the footage with an entirely original score.[13]

The soundtrack was released in tandem with the game and features 38 tracks of music on a 2-disk set.[14]

Disk One

  1. "Surfing the Velvet Abyss" (3:17) - by Bill Bruce
  2. "Mindscape" (3:15) - by Jimmy Pitts, Ruell Chappell
  3. "Mirrors Tell a Different Tale" (3:05) - by Jimmy Pitts
  4. "Systematic Overload" (3:50) - by Bill Bruce
  5. "Solar Wind Chimes" (1:58) - by Jimmy Pitts, Ruell Chappell
  6. "Lost in Eternity (Paige's Theme)" (4:05) - by Jimmy Pitts
  7. "An Insignificant, Distant Nova" (2:17) - by Jimmy Pitts
  8. "FDS2" (1:49) - by Bill Bruce
  9. "Dementia in Absentia" (3:52) - by Jimmy Pitts
  10. "Deceptive & Dangerous" (4:15)- by Bill Bruce
  11. "Noir in A Minor" (3:11) - by Jimmy Pitts
  12. "Considered Gone" (1:34) - by Bill Bruce
  13. "Light Years of Darkness" (2:11) - by Jimmy Pitts
  14. "Requiem for a Blue Dot" (3:44) - by Jimmy Pitts
  15. "147" (4:10) - by Bill Bruce
  16. "Winds of Fate" (1:42) - by Jimmy Pitts, Ruell Chappell
  17. "Theoretical Paranoia" (2:18) - by Jimmy Pitts
  18. "Falling Down Stairs" (4:22) - by Bill Bruce
  19. "A Little Dream All My Own" (3:32) - by Jimmy Pitts
  20. "Winds of Fate (Reprise)" (4:41) - by Jimmy Pitts, Ruell Chappell
  21. "Underneath" (4:06) - by Bill Bruce
  22. "Light Years of Darkness (Reprise)" (2:14) - by Jimmy Pitts
  23. "Another Time and Place" (3:06) - by Bill Bruce

Disk Two

  1. "Bonechipper" (5:21) - by Bill Bruce
  2. "Eternal Twilight" (6:23) - by J. Allen Williams
  3. "Day of Darkness" (3:46) - by J. Allen Williams
  4. "Tomorrows Children" (6:00) - by J. Allen Williams
  5. "Corridors of Time" (3:16) - by J. Allen Williams
  6. "The Edge of Insanity" (4:36) - by J. Allen Williams
  7. "Knights of Vengeance" (5:14) - by J. Allen Williams
  8. "One Two One" (4:11) - by J. Allen Williams
  9. "Guardian" (7:35) - by J. Allen Williams
  10. "A Trinity of Sons" (4:36) - by J. Allen Williams
  11. "The Edge of Nowhere" (2:52) - by Jimmy Pitts
  12. "Holy War" (5:04) - by J. Allen Williams
  13. "The Secret Sign" (4:53) - by J. Allen Williams
  14. "Psychic Pilgrims" (4:42) - by J. Allen Williams
  15. "Lasting Memory" (4:12) - by Bill Bruce

Reception for the soundtrack has been positive. In a review of Darkstar at diehardgamefan.com, Alex Lucard rated the soundtrack as "Unparalleled" and wrote, "This is without a doubt one of the the [sic] best scores I have heard all year."[15]

Reception

Critical reception of Darkstar has been mixed to positive. In a review at diehardgamefan.com, Alex Lucard rated it as a "VERY GOOD GAME!" and said "Darkstar is one of the best indie games I have ever played in my thirty years of gaming." In a similar review at brasslantern.org, J. Robinson Wheeler called Darkstar, "...challenging, fun, lovingly and painstakingly rendered and crafted, and worth playing."[16] Drummond Doroski of the website Adventure Gamers gave Darkstar 3 out of 5 stars, praising the ambition of the production and the maturity of the story while being highly critical of gameplay and acting performances.[17] Though critical of bug issues in the game, the website Game Boomers also gave Darkstar a positive review saying, "Overall, I did have fun with DARKSTAR, despite its frustrating aspects. It harkened back to earlier games that I remember playing with relish, and was different than most things being produced today."[18]

References

External links

  • website
  • Official Parallax Studio website
  • Darkstar on Facebook
  • Darkstar on Twitter
  • Darkstar on YouTube
  • Internet Movie Database
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