[Film Review] Starman (1984)

Starman poster

Title: Starman
Year: 1984
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Sci-Fi, Romance, Adventure
Director: John Carpenter
Bruce A. Evans
Raynold Gideon
Music: Jack Nitzsche
Cinematography: Donald M. Morgan
Jeff Bridges
Karen Allen
Charles Martin Smith
Richard Jaeckel
Tony Edwards
Ted White
George ‘Buck’ Flower
M.C. Gainey
Dirk Blocker
Rating: 6.9/10

John Carpenter’s STARMAN is a sympathetic star-crossed romance between an alien aka. Starman (Bridges) and an earth woman Jenny (Allen), a rare item in his otherwise horror and action packed works, it is my second film from him, after the disappointingly topsy-turvy BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986).

First of all, it is a cruel joke on our earthlings, we set off a welcome message into the outer space, and some unspecified highly intelligent species responses by sending an explorer to our planet, however, the first thing humans do is shooting the vehicles down, then hunting down the e.t. in order to put him on the operation table for dissection. But don’t worry, as annoying as the authoritarian NSA chief and the military ostentation and extravagance, things will not descend to that ground. Jenny is recently widowed and still overindulges in the then-sweet-but-now-tormenting memories of his dead husband Scott, so the intrusion of Starman who regenerates himself into a human form of Scott through his hair kept in Jenny’s photo album actually gives an impossible chance for Jenny to fall in love with Scott again, thus despite the initial terror to witness the metamorphosis of an unearthly creature turning into Scott, Jenny accepts him almost instantly as subconsciously she knows that her dream comes true in a supernatural version. The pair drives across the country to reach the picking-up location in Arizona, where a mother-ship will take Starman back as it has planned.

En route, the affecting binding progress between them takes a lion’s share of the film and romance burgeons inevitably and a nice job done by generously allowing Starman some time to learn in his new form as a male human in this three-day span, the film never intend to be a taut action piece or a CGI-ridden arena for Starman to show off his superpower other than when the plot requires, emotion always comes first, even poetically, which one might find it unexpectedly against Carpenter’s grain, Jenny and Starman are each other’s savior, once they builds the trust and affections, they are inseparable. As corny as that he resuscitates her from death, cures her infertility and gives her a baby boy, whereas she has the relentless will power to bring him to the appointed venue, to eventually save his life, Carpenter and his two leads pull it off satisfactorily.

Bridges garners a surprising Oscar-nomination here, he demonstrates a primitive method as a newcomer habituating, mimicking and grasping human behavior, impressively carries on his unearthliness through the journey with advanced nuances in gesticulation and language capacity. Allen brings about a force of momentum in her more mundane part, overwhelmed by the frisson of regaining and losing again of her true love, she and Bridges share many intimately heartfelt moments in this fanciful tall-tale, its CGI effects inescapably seems dated, but the kernel of its message – to evoke the basic humanity within us, leaves viewers a somewhat palatable taste which injects the movie a vital strength to be finely appreciated.

Starman 1984


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