Sunday, May 31, 2015

Movie Review: Starman

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith, Richard Jaeckel, Robert Phalen, Tony Edwards, John Walter Davis, Ted White, Dirk Blocker, M.C. Gainey, Sean Stanek, George 'Buck' Flower, Russ Benning, Ralph Cosham, David Wells, Anthony Grumbach, James Deeth, Alex Daniels, Carol Rosenthal, Mickey Jones, Lu Leonard, Charlie Hughes, Byron Walls, Betty Bunch, Victor McLemore, Steven Brennan, Pat Lee, Judith Kim, Ron Colby, Robert Stein, Kenny Call, Jeff Ramsey, Jerry Gatlin, David Daniell, Randy Tutton, John Carpenter, Steve Dressler, Joel Edwards, Nick Sagan 
Director: John Carpenter 
Columbia Pictures Corporation, Industrial Light & Magic, Delphi II Productions, USA, 1984. 
Starman title
Voyager II space probe lands on a distant planet with an invitation to aliens. Starman (Jeff Bridges) visits Earth but Air Force gives him a hostile welcome and shoots his space shuttle down in Wisconsin. Widow Jenny Hayden (Karen Allen) is still mourning her dead husband Scott. Starman clones the physical form of Jenny's husband. Jenny faints. Starman has metallic spheres that he uses for different purposes. He uses one to send message and requests a transportation back to home planet.
Starman's space shuttle
Jeff Bridges
Karen Allen
Jenny Hayden
NSA boss Fox (Richard Jaeckel) sends SETI scientist Mark Shermin (Charles Martin Smith) is sent to investigate the wreck. Shermin would like to give Starman a guest's welcome but Fox wants to cut him into little pieces. Starman wants Jenny to drive him to Arizona. First Starman does not know much English or about anything but he learns fast. First Jenny is scared of the weird man but she begins to like him as they get to know better. Starman has three days to reach the pick-up area or he will die. 
Starman calls home
Charles Martin Smith
Mark Shermin
Richard Jaeckel
On the trip they are chased by angry rednecks who did not like Starman resurrecting a shot deer. Also army and trigger-happy police are after them. Luckily they meet some friendly folks along the way. The cook who gives Starman a lift looks familiar even without beard. It's Buck alright! Starman comes from an advanced and peaceful civilization, that has lost individual personality traits. Starman learns from Jenny about love and caring.
George 'Buck' Flower
Cook (George 'Buck' Flower)
Starman's skills save Jenny's life
Karen Allen and Jeff Bridges
Starman and Jenny having romantic time
The script was stuck for several years in development hell and the project was almost abandoned because its similarity to  "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial." Finally Michael Douglas assigned John Carpenter to be the director. At that time Carpenter wished to go more mainstream, and focus on the emotional drama of the story and he does a great job in this. John Carpenter has a small cameo as helicopter pilot.

Starman is beautiful and sweet scifi road-movie love story. Although the story has elements from "E.T." and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", it is the chemistry between the main characters that makes it great. Jeff Bridges is a sympathetic alien and lovely Karen Allen brings emotion to her role. There is also some humour when Starman clumsily tries to learn how to be a human. The cinematography and Jack Nitzsche's music are great.

The movie was followed by short lived TV-series.
Carpenter's cameo
Karen Allen
Rating: Very Good

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