It would be fair to say that as soon as you hear the name John Carpenter the first thing that is likely to pop into your head is Halloween‘s babysitting psycho killer Michael Myers and with a previous film roster filled with action and horror movies, the last person you would expect to direct an intergalactic love story is him. But that is exactly what happened in 1984 when he was approached by producer Michael Douglas to direct Starman, which is now making its debut on Blu-ray.
When the 1977 Voyager shuttle launched into space, it took with along with it a gold plated phonograph disc with an invite to Earth. Taking up the offer, Starman (Jeff Bridges) comes to Earth, but is quickly shot down by the US Government. Now needing to take on human form he stumbles across the home of Jenny Hayden (Karen Allen) who is in mourning for her husband, Scott. Coming across a lock of his hair, Starman changes his appearance to look like him. Completely dumbstruck by the events that have taken place, Jenny and the Starman begin their journey to Arizona where he is to be retrieved by his people.
Hot on their heels are the US Army, led by George Fox (Richard Jaeckel) who is intent on catching him for experimentation and to gauge the threat alien life forms have upon humanity. Working alongside him is Mark Shermin (Charles Martin Smith) who is more interested in the fact aliens exist and is willing to risk his career to stay true to his beliefs.
As the Starman and Jenny make their way across the States, both learn humanity and what it takes to be human.
Although having a fairly predictable plot, Starman has the advantage of having John Carpenter behind the camera, a director who is underappreciated when it comes to his ability to capture human emotions and actions on film. His subtle skill behind the camera make for vivid, encompassing viewing, which is essential as this is the kind of movie where a lot more can be said in a look or an action then in words.
As the title character and heart of the movie, Jeff Bridges literally shines as the Starman and after watching his performance in this movie and having a quick catch up on his body of work since, it does slightly beggar belief he is not used more often as a leading man. His childlike innocence in this role is captivating to watch and his jerky alien movements are consistent throughout. There is such a fine line between innocent and simple and I do have to say that sometimes that line is crossed, but that can be forgiven.
Karen Allen also holds her own as the widow who sees her husband come back to life, who then struggles with her decision to help him get home.
A slight mish-mash of genres, Starman delivers as a solid sci-fi fantasy drama as well as a romantic one and will sit nicely on any shelf.
I was concerned that a movie made such a long time ago wouldn’t really benefit from getting an upgrade onto Blu-ray but I was pleasantly surprised how fantastic the movie looked on screen. Presented in its original 20.40:1 ratio its colours are vibrant and the opening star scene is especially beautiful on this format. There are a few dodgy special effects along the way, but this does not distract from the movie itself.
There are no extra features on the disc at all other than the ability to connect to BD Live which has a few trailers but I soon lost patience with the amount of time it was taking to access them and gave up for the evening.
The Film:The Disc: