starman

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starman

STARMAN (1984 - PG)

This film could be compared to "ET." Jeff Bridges, in an Oscar nominated performance, delivers a fascinating portrayal of an alien learning about life on earth. Karen Allen is totally convincing as a woman trying to cope with an alien who looks just like her dead husband. The FX involving the arrival of an alien mothership are a bit disappointing.

The cast includes: Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Richard Jaeckel, Tony Edwards, and Charlie Martin Smith.

Directed by John Carpenter.

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SYNOPSIS...

An alien entity visits Earth, taking the form of a woman's dead husband. After inadvertently scaring the hell out of her, they get in her Mustang and go on a road trip.

On the road, Starman and his gal pal are pursued by a bad government guy who wants to dissect him and an alien friendly NASA-type who just wants to talk. Along the way, our Star guy is beat to a pulp by a red neck, resurrects a dead deer and experiments with sex.

Starman's alien buddies, arriving in a huge, spherical spaceship, pick him up at a giant meteor crater in Arizona. The woman, pregnant with an alien superbaby, is left behind to keep the interstellar home fires burning.

Review...

With STARMAN, Director John Carpenter ("The Thing"), working from a Script by Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon, has created a classic of the Sci-Fi genre.

An alien comes to Earth in response to a recorded message we attached to the Voyager spacecraft. Its ship crash lands in Michigan. Soon a sphere of light floats across the bay, entering Karen Allen's ("Raiders of the Lost Ark") home, who is sleeping. After watching home movies of Karen fooling around with her husband, Jeff Bridges ("Fearless"), it begins to transform itself into him. First it becomes a hologram, then a baby, then quickly grows to full adult size. The Special Effects during this sequence, by Dick Smith and Stan Winston and Rick Baker, are superb.

Allen wakes up during this process sees Alien/Bridges, pulls a gun and faints. The fact that her husband has been dead for a while has something to do with it. While Allen snoozes, Bridges goes outside and uses some small, mysterious silver spheres he possesses to phone home. When Allen wakes up from her catnap, Bridges convinces her to take him on a road trip to Arizona, where his alien buddies will pick him up.

In the meantime, Richard Jaeckel ("The Dark"), a hard nosed military guy who's aware of the UFO landing, dispatches a NASA guy, Charlie Martin Smith to investigate. Smith ("American Graffiti", "Cry Wolf", "The Untouchables") brings a dogged determination to his role similar to Richard Dreyfuss' in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". And with his short stature, hound dog mug, and plucky spirit, he's an easy character to root for.

A great deal of the fun of STARMAN is watching Jeff Bridges impersonation of an alien in human form. He has a silly, duck-like walk, awkward gestures, and an unusual speech pattern. His monkey see, monkey do attitude is also entertaining. After observing Allen drive for awhile, he takes a turn behind the wheel. When he approaches a yellow traffic light, at an intersection, he races through, barely avoiding a collision, Allen yells at him, accusing him of not understanding traffic lights. Bridges replies, "Red light stop. Green light go. Yellow light, go very fast!". He sure learns fast for an outerspace dude!

STARMAN is a chase movie, a road picture, and a love story, providing something for everybody. The fact that the love story involves a woman falling in love (and eventually having sex) with an alien who has assumed the form of her dead husband provides a unique story angle that sounds ludicrous, but plays very well on screen, thanks to strong portrayals by Bridges and Allen, who delivers what may very well be her best screen performance.

Director of Photography Donald M. Morgan ably serves Director Carpenter. His use of blue lighting, when Bridges performs his miracles, creates the feeling of being in the presence of a god. The Musical Score, composed by Jack Nitzche, starts out spooky, and becomes warm and reverent as Allen, and we the audience, come to know and love Bridge's alien.

My favorite scene is when Bridges brings a dead deer, strapped to a car, back to life. Illuminated by the lights in the parking lot, Bridges uses one of his small, silver spheres. First the dear twitches, then it comes fully to life, scampering off the hood, across the parking lot, and into the woods. It is a powerful, wonderful scene that involves no dialogue. The imagery stays with you for a long time.

STARMAN is a delightful Sci-Fi film that should be highly watchable for most Sci-Fi fans. See it with someone you love. This film is a miracle worth sharing! STARMAN is out of this world.

starman

If you liked STARMAN you will enjoy ET, SUPERMAN, and/or CLOSE ENCOUNTERS.