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Starman: Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review

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“Starman” is John Carpenter’s most mature work.

After coming into contact with the Voyager 2 probe sent from Earth, an advanced alien lifeform travels to Earth. Well, the alien ends up crashing to Earth with the ship being destroyed in the process. Upon arrival, it takes the human form of a deceased man named Scott and must travel to a redezvous point in Arizona or face death. Aiding this alien in his journey is a human woman named Jenny who is grieving the loss of her loved one Scott. As you might imagine, Jenny is initially horrified by seeing Scott’s face again not to mention being in the presence of an alien whose intentions are not clear at first. Eventually though, she begins to bond with the kind hearted being while out on the road. Alas, their journey is not a simple one as the Government and army are after them both.

Directed by John Carpenter and written by Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon, 1984’s “Starman” (no relation to the comic series) is an admittedly simple and familiar story. It’s essentially a “fish out of water” tale with a different spin. What makes “Starman” stand out, however, is that the alien refreshingly isn’t a monster or a threat to mankind. The alien is mostly a gentle soul that wants to observe, learn, and use its powers and abilities for good. Humans are the only hostile beings here (a trope which has become a trend as of late). In this cynical day and age, it’s nice to go back and see a story that is filled with ambiguity, humanity, and, above all, heart.

Going back to John Carpenter, it’s interesting to go back and watch this film with his catalogue in mind. The beloved director is perhaps best known for cult films and horror fare which makes “Starman” somewhat of an outlier. Yes, it’s still a genre film about an alien, but it’s more of a grounded character study.

The main cast (Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen and Charles Martin Smith) really does carry the film and they are giving some of the best performances of their career. The trio dominates most of the screentime with very few other actors appearing for much. Jeff Bridges, who earned an Oscar nomination for his work, shows his versatility as the alien who is learning everything about being human from language to mannerisms. Karen Allen is the heart of the movie and she really makes the film touching when it’s all over and done with. Charles Martin Smith (who plays a national security employee named Mark Shermin) is in many ways the hero of the piece and has a strong character arc throughout.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p. How does it look? A quality hi-def transfer that manages to maintain the 80’s style/grain.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? A solid 5.1 track all-around.

Extras:
* Still gallery
* “Starman” trailer, teaser trailer and TV spots.
* A standard “Vintage Making Of Featurette” containing set footage, film clips, interviews, etc.
* “They Came From Hollywood: Remembering Starman”- A new retrospective 24 minute featurette with John Carpenter and Jeff Bridges interviews among others.

December 22, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , ,

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