Jan 102019
 

Starman is a touching romance-science fiction movie that showcased that John Carpenter’s talents went beyond the horror genre. The performances from both Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen, were both great.

 

 

Starman
— Collector’s Edition —
(1984)

Genre(s): Science Fiction, Romance, Adventure
Shout Factory | PG – 115 min. – $34.93 | December 18, 2018

Date Published: 01/10/2019 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: John Carpenter
Writer(s): Bruce A. Evans & Raynold Gideon (written by)
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith, Richard Jaeckel
DISC INFO:
Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Trailers, Gallery
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 40.04 GB
Total Bitrate: 32.71 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Shout Factory provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


THE MOVIE — 4.0/5


Plot Synopsis: When his spacecraft is shot down over Wisconsin, an alien (JEFF BRIDGES) arrives at the remote cabin of a distraught young widow, Jenny Hayden (KAREN ALLEN), and clones itself into the form of her recently deceased husband, Scott. The alien coerces the shell-shocked Jenny to drive him to a pickup point hundreds of miles away, explaining that if he doesn’t meet his mother ship in three days, he’ll die. Hot on their trail are government agents, intent on seizing him, dead or alive. En route, Jenny turns from captive to captivated as the alien re-awakens her humanity.

Quick Hit Review: This is my second viewing of Starman though I didn’t remember very much when I last watched, for the 2009 Sony Blu-ray release, and apparently my initial impressions wasn’t so hot. But this time around, I really found this to be a well made and all around nice science fiction-romance-adventure flick that featured two lovely performances by Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen, both sharing some wonderful chemistry.

While Starman is hardly my favorite film from John Carpenter, it does pale in comparison to the likes of Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York or even The Fog which I find to be quite underrated. That said, I do appreciate that Carpenter never boxed himself into a genre. Sure, he could’ve gone on to do horror along the lines of Halloween but instead expanded his horizons and Starman is a nice, even sensitive sci-fi/romance film that focuses more on the relationship between alien Scott and Jenny rather than the alien’s world or, although it’s featured, the government’s hunt of him.


For posterity sake, I am reposting my original 2009 Sony Blu-ray review, some of my thoughts, specifically Jeff Bridges’ performance, still holds:

Considering Carpenters other flicks include Christine, The Fog and his biggest – Halloween – this particular title is an odd-choice for him that turned out to be a delightful film. The plot is incredibly simple; an alien has 3 days to travel to Arizona and he does so by stealing the looks and DNA from Jenny’s dead husband (she just so happens to have hair locks in a photo album that the alien finds).

What makes the film work is the fact that Jeff Bridges plays the role perfectly – he’s acts just like I would expect someone from another world with limited knowledge of us and how they would try and copy us as much as possible. Right from the start you can see his movements are not human like – they are dramatic turns, twists and quick movements that don’t flow like it would on others. He quickly evolves into a more human-like character, but his voice remains fairly mono throughout the film giving off very little emotion. Jeff Bridges was actually nominated for an Oscar in this role and he deserves it.

Some things don’t really gel well though – Karen Allen to me is just plain annoying in this film. While it’s understandable that Starman would act a certain way given his new form, Karen just wanders from scene to scene going back and forth whether she should help this alien in her dead-husband’s body or run away. Really, why not just help him? He is not threatening you – why do you have to try and ditch him every chance possible? The ending is also a bit of a letdown considering a sequel was never made (though a short-lived TV Series was). They set up the perfect plot that they could technically still do today, 25 years later.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.75/5


This release comes with a matted slip cover. The inner cover is reversible with the film’s original artwork being on the reverse side.

Audio Commentary – Director John Carpenter and Actor Jeff Bridges. This track was ported over from a UK DVD release but never made its way to the Sony Blu-ray release, so nice to actually have it available here stateside for the first time. This was a nice commentary track as the pair do offer up information on the production and provide some on-set/location stories.

They Came from Hollywood: Remembering Starman (23:55; HD) is a retrospective featurette containing new interviews with Director John Carpenter, Actors Jeff Bridges & Charles Martin Smith (Mark Shermin) and Script Supervisor Sandy King Carpenter. Always like getting these kinds of featurettes as participants provide their perspective three decades later, especially landing an interview with an established actor like Bridges…

Vintage Featurette (11:20; SD) has some older footage from back in 1983/84.

Rounding things out is the, Teaser Trailer (0:50; HD), Theatrical Trailer (2:18; HD), some TV Spots (1:51; HD) and a Still Gallery (8:02; HD).

 


VIDEO – 4.25/5


Given there is no mention on the back cover, presumably the 1080p transfer is perhaps the same one from Sony’s 2009 Blu-ray release. But even so, Starman, presented in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio, looks pretty good. Detail is fairly sharp throughout and colors are on the vibrant side, none more apparent than in a scene where we get blues showering over Bridges and Allen’s faces or the red on the beam from the ship. I did not notice any major or apparent flaws with dust marks, scratches, artifacts or aliasing, so it does appear to a nice, clean transfer even if it came from a nearly decade old transfer.

AUDIO – 3.5/5


The disc includes a fine albeit low key DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which does display good dialogue levels but the depth is on the lackluster side with various things like explosions were rather flat. The bulk of the audio takes place through the center channel while it seemed the front and rear channels, though mostly the front ones, were utilized for Jack Nitzsche’s score.

 


OVERALL – 4.0/5


Overall, Starman is a touching romance-science fiction movie that showcased that John Carpenter’s talents went beyond the horror genre. The performances from both Jeff Bridges, who received an Academy Award nomination, and Karen Allen, were both great. This Collector’s Edition Blu-ray has good video and adequate audio and an okay selection of bonus features, highlighted with the commentary previously only available overseas.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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