It's likely that the writer/director of 'Beyond the Stars' had good intentions to begin with, the messy, incoherent finished product leaves much to be desired. Even at eighty-seven minutes the movie feels excruciatingly long, only made worse by the mediocre production values. Excuse my bluntness, by whoever edited this movie ought to be shot in the arm repeatedly until they perish due to lead poisoning. It's that bad. The editor absolutely ruined what could have been a passable drama with their extremely unconventional (and incredibly unsuccessful) editing style. Because of this there is no sense of fluency, and one scene jerks roughly into the next. If there were a Golden Raspberry award for worst film editing, 'Beyond the Stars' would sweep it, then years from now when they did a worst in the history of film, this movie would win it hands down.
Despite the relatively weak script, Martin Sheen still manages put forth a good performance, likely the brightest spot in a dim movie. In likely the biggest casting mistake of the 20th century (besides Tom Selleck in 'Christopher Columbus: The Discovery), Christian Slater plays the lead, an 18? year old boy. Though he obviously tries hard, and it even shows through at times, Slater is one of the worst actors imaginable for this emotionally demanding role, and Slater looks much too old for the part. In a seemingly tacked on supporting role, Sharon Stone is under used, as are many of the other cast members. Even worse though, is the completely flat and uncharismatic Olivia d'Abo as the chief love interest for Slater. The two have absolutely no chemistry, and the scenes with the two together are among the film's worst.
The description on the back of the box, even in the tagline, hints at a cross between 'October Sky' and 'The Man Without a Face', two infinately better films. It succeeds at emulating neither of them, and comes off as a third rate imitator. In the last few sentences in the description, there is mention of a secret on the moon. Normally in descriptions, the writers describe the movie up to about the half way point. The secret is only mentioned at the tail end of the movie, and seems only in passing, like something used to create a good last impression (which it fails deeply at).
Though the writer/director also wrote the book Cocoon (which can be seen on Christian Slater's shelf near the end), the script here is terrible, the dialog astonishingly ridiculous, and it's no wonder at all why he hasn't worked on a film since this. As for the music, there seem to be three themes of a minute each, one for when the characters are building a greenhouse (which has nothing to do with the rest of the movie, yet seems to occupy most of it), one for whenever the moon is shown or talked about, and the third for the artificial 'sad' scenes towards the end. Though the moon theme is actually half decent, the other two are unoriginal and forgettable, much like the movie itself.
The movies end (without giving anything away) seems manufactured and contrived. It also appears that the producers ran out of money at the end of the shoot, as this reflects it. Stay far away from it, if you see the movie on the shelf in your video store, don't even think about picking the box off the rack, think of it as a small plastic case carrying the bubonic plague, just waiting to trick your VCR into playing it, then latching onto you. Martin Sheen's performance is hardly enough to make this disorganized mess worth sitting through, avoid at all costs.
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