Set in the distant future of the year 2035, Star Crystal begins with a scene where, on a routine mission to Mars, some astronauts find a rock. They bring this rock into their ship, it cracks up and there's a crystal inside that somehow takes over the ship, cuts off the oxygen supply and kills everybody on board. The ship then makes its way back to its base of operations, a space station. Shortly after its arrival, the space station starts to experience problems and clearly it's about to explode. Before everyone is sent to the great beyond, a few manage to board that same ship that just boarded and make their escape: Roger (C. Juston Campbell) is the guy in charge, Cal (John W. Smith) is his right hand man, Billi (Marcia Linn) is a kind of scary tough woman who may or may not be a mechanic or something, Sherrie (Taylor Kingsley) is a pretty blonde who makes people space sandwiches and last but not least, Adrian (Faye Bolt), the resident doctor. Parts of the space station are clearly made out of parts from a Kenner Millennium Falcon toy.
With the five survivors adrift in the outer reaches of space, it's time to get back to the rock/crystal thing. It drips and oozes and soon enough an alien life form of some sort emerges. The crew will be okay tough, because there's a poster map of outer space glued to the wall and a computer that misspells a lot of words to help them out. Or will they? No, they will not be okay, because soon that alien thing grows tentacles and starts killing people. This is actually fairly easy for the alien to do, because in order to get from one room to the next on this ship you have to crawl through a long tunnel. That means that you'll be moving slowly and that the alien will be able to easily sneak up on you and get you. That happens to three people before the movie then completely shifts gears and the alien evolves from a killing machine into something that looks kind of like the lovechild of E.T. and a dog, a friendly creature that will help you out by levitating a salt shaker so you can season your food or handing you a wrench when trying to fix something. What? No, that's correct. That happens. And to top it all off? Over the end credits we're treated to a soulful balled called Crystal Of The Stars sung by Stefanianna Christopherson (who did the voice of Daphne on the Scooby-Doo Where Are You? cartoon!), the icing on the cake, really. Speaking of the end credits, they tell us that the movie was ‘filmed entirely in space.'
This review has to get a little spoilery now, so you have been warned…
This was clearly made for no money. Instead of having metal grating on the floor of the ship, the production crew just spray-painted things to make the otherwise normal floor look like metal grating. The problem with this? Well, aside from the fact that it looks bad, when blood or space slime falls on it, which happens fairly often, it doesn't drop through the grating like it should, it just pools on the floor. The electronic map of the ship's four main rooms has stickers on it indicating which room is which. There are what appear to be spray painted piece of Styrofoam attached to certain portions of the wall and everyone who makes it aboard the ship is dressed like a UPS employee. The cover art for this release shows an alien with big pointy teeth and three people hurtling through space in what look like cryogenic chambers of some sort. The alien in this movie doesn't look anything like that much cooler alien on the cover, and nobody flies through space in any cryogenic chambers. The effects are clearly very cheap, but at the same time, kind of awesome. There is some decent gore here, some of it strong enough to make you take notice, and in the first half of the movie it's pretty plentiful. At one point, astronauts toss around a football in zero gravity, and somehow that football doesn't float off into space, it acts like a regular football.
Everything changes about two thirds of the way in, however, when the movie ceases ripping off Alien and starts ripping off E.T.. It stops with the carnage and instead turns into some sort of message movie, espousing tolerance. Why the change of heart in the alien? Well it hacks into the ship's computer and reads the Bible, for one. It then later apologizes to the survivors for killing off the rest of the crew, but hey, he needed a ship to get back to his homeland. The whole thing is ridiculous. It's entertaining as all Hell but it is the very definition of ridiculous. From the performances (none of which are good) to the effects to the very plot itself, Star Crystal is ninety minutes of complete and utter nonsense.The Blu-ray:
Kino presents Star Crystal on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.78.1 widescreen on a 25GB disc. Image quality here is pretty decent. There's some minor print damage evident throughout in the form of small white specks but that's about it, no major scratches or anything like that. Colors are generally well produced though black levels can and will vary a bit from one scene to the next. This looks like it has more to do with the lighting and shooting style employed rather than the transfer itself. Detail and texture are pretty decent and there's a fair amount of depth to the image, at least as much as the cheap sets and backdrops will allow for. There are no noticeable issues with compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noise reduction which results in an appropriately film-like image throughout playback.Sound:
The only audio option on the disc is a DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track in English, there are no alternate language or subtitle options provided. Audio quality is fine, if not particularly remarkable. Most of the time the dialogue is easy enough to follow, although there are a few spots that sound just a bit muffled. Once the alien starts talking towards the end of the film he can occasionally be a little hard to understand but that's got more to do with his wacky alien voice than the actual audio quality. Not a track that's going to blow you away but it sounds fine.Extras:
Extras are slim, limited to a trailer for the feature, bonus trailers for a few other sc-fi titles available from Kino, menus and chapter selection.Final Thoughts:
Star Crystal is a terrible film, but those who get off on low budget monster movies, particularly those with an affinity for sci-fi settings and cheap effects, just might have a good time with it. There's no way to defend the film, it's poorly made and it's riddled with mistakes and bad acting, but if you can appreciate the low budget charm and a reasonable amount of ineptitude you can definitely have some fun with it. Kino's Blu-ray release is light on extras but it does look and sound alright. Recommended to a certain segment of cult film fandom, outside of that, skip it. Which I guess, if we're to find a half way point, means that this one gets the old ‘rent it' rating