Blu-ray Review: Starman (Collectors’ Edition)



John Carpenter’s Starman is John Carpenter’s The Thing for the ladies. Think I’m joking? It’s so true though. These are basically the same film with an different intended audience. Spaceship crashes on Earth. The alien has the ability to change their appearance to fool Earthlings. They do their best to get off this planet. They get chased by helicopters. The Thing has an all male cast to fool. The alien must fool only a widow in Starman to survive. Think I’m lying? Well luckily Scream Factory has released Starman: Collector’s Edition to go with their The Thing: Collector’s Edition.

The Voyager 2 drifts through space with it’s invitation to other worlds to visit Earth. It show off the beauty of the planet. But when a spaceship spots the probe and takes up the offer, things go bad fast. The explorer craft gets shot down by the US military. The alien on board escapes and finds the house of a woman (Raiders of the Lost Ark‘s Karen Allen) that’s not over the passing of her husband. The alien uses a lock of the dead guy’s hair to transform into the departed loved one (The Big Lebowski‘s Jeff Bridges). She’s horrified and intrigued by this shape-shifting. He needs her to get him to Arizona to meet the mothership and go home. The alien is being tracked by Mark Shermin (American Graffiti‘s Charles Martin Smith) and George Fox (Sometimes A Great Notion‘s Richard Jaeckel). Martin is a bit reluctant to go through with the military’s plan for what to do when they capture the alien. But the guy from SETI does want to make contact with the extraterrestrial lifeform. The alien and the widow stay a step ahead. During their flight, she wants to escape from him, but changes her mind when he does something miraculous.

John Carpenter does an amazing trick of taking the basic plot of what was a sci-fi horror film in The Thing and twist it slightly so it becomes a sci-fi romance flick in Starman. How good of a job does he do? Well he makes scene of an alien impregnating a woman incredibly loving instead of sheer terror. The fact that the alien doesn’t have tendrils and mouth in his stomach to devour here making it more loving. Carpenter gets the sweet touches of this budding yet doomed relationship. It also helps to have Jeff Bridges at his most naive on the screen as he plays the alien trying to adapt to life on Earth in a human’s body. He works so well with Allen as a strange couple. Charles Martin Smith brings a good wild card to the military element so there’s not just a faceless menace tracking down the alien. He wants to be a nice host to the visitor that accepted the invitation to drop by the planet. Starman shows Carpenter being able to show a different result to an alien dropping by the planet. Starman is the date film after a boys’ night watching The Thing.

The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The special effects from 1984 look fine in the high definition resolution. The details of Jeff Bridges’ aging as the alien in a human body come through clearly. The audio is DTS-MA HD 5.1 so you get big gusts of sound when the action and music kicks up. The movie is subtitled.

They Came from Hollywood: Re-visiting Starman (23:55) features director John Carpenter, actors Jeff Bridges And Charles Martin Smith, and script supervisor Sandy King-Carpenter. Carpenter talks of the joy of getting the romantic script offered to him instead of just another horror flick. Bridges reveals the things he did to give the character life and how he got so much from Karen Allen.

Audio Commentary With Director John Carpenter And Jeff Bridges has the duo recount their time on the run.

Vintage Featurette (11:20) has Carpenter on the location in Tennessee. There’s a focus that this is a romantic film. Karen Allen talks here.

Teaser Trailer (0:50) is promoted as a Christmas love story from outer space.

Theatrical Trailer (2:18) sets up the Voyager 2 invitation element.

TV Spots (1:51) is all about the alien visiting here in a “Science Fiction Love Story.”

Still Gallery (8:02) includes posters, publicity photos, lobby cards and behind the scenes snapshots. There’s even photos taken by Jeff Bridges.

Scream Factory presents John Carpenter’s Starman: Collector’s Edition. Directed by John Carpenter. Screenplay by: Bruce A. Evans & Raynold Gideon. Starring: Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith & Richard Jaeckel. Rated: PG. Running Time: 114 minutes. Released: December 18, 2018.

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