Starman (1984)

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Starman (1984)

Post  BoG on Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:56 pm




JEFF BRIDGES * KAREN ALLEN * CHARLES MARTIN SMITH * RICHARD JAECKEL

This is another take on E.T. and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, meaning the friendly alien from outer space. After Bridges (as an alien who temporarily takes human form) meets Karen Allen, it turns into a road movie. There's nothing outstanding here, but it's fairly interesting for most of it. I thought Bridges did as good a job as possible on interpreting an alien getting used to working in a human body; his early scenes show that it's a very rough start for him - he has to become accustomed to using a mouth for speech and so forth.  An interesting comparison is to Kyle MacLachlan's alien-in-a-human body in THE HIDDEN. MacLachlan looks a bit odd to begin with and was more of a natural, so Bridges had to make an extra effort here.
I wasn't sure what to make of the resurrection scene later, involving a dead animal; this story has obvious Christ parallels, including the romantic aspect which transpires later and the nearly supernatural result... though this tells us there's nothing supernatural out there, just a much more advanced society - including the science, presumably. This is a more mainstream effort from director John Carpenter, who usually tries for subversive messages; a little cynicism creeped in, but it was very clumsily done.
There's a faint trace of a lecture in the background during much of the film, warning us to behave in a more civil manner, but it gets a bit clumsy. Bridges' alien character comes over here in response to our Voyager 2 spacecraft, which sent a greeting to any aliens out there. Though it's not really shown, the alien's spaceship (a small thing) is damaged by our Air Force; the alien almost immediately concludes that the Earth environment is hostile and his mission is a bust even before it begins. During the road trip, the government is always in pursuit, looking for the alien. Then, the plan for an autopsy is unveiled in the final act. This was a clumsy effort to create more tension, more villainy - but what was the rationale? Answer: there wasn't any. Jaeckel's government man is a cliche, indeed, behaving badly because the tale needed a bad guy, I guess.
But, Charles Martin Smith is excellent; his concluding scene with Jaeckel, where Smith uses his cigar in an act of symbolism, is a highlight of the film. I always look forward to it; I've seen this 3 or 4 times now. BoG's Score: 6.5 out of 10.  As for the later TV show, I did watch some of it, but don't really remember it; I think it was forgettable.

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