Saturday, August 30, 2014

Starman (1984)

StarmanMovie-5 stars, extras 0 stars, tranfer for Blu-ray (anamorphic widescreen I might add) 4 stars

Really what is Columbia thinking? "Starman" is one of John Carpenter's finest films with an Oscar nominated performance by Jeff Bridges, a moving score by Jack Nitsche and a clever, thoughtful script that takes the same themes as Spielberg's "E.T." and develops them better. We get no extras. Nada. Nothing. We also get to pay a fairly hefty amount for the Blu-ray (it's retailed at $29.00). Warner does a better copy of releasing their Blu-rays. Heck, even Fox and Universal have been making an effort to do a decent job with their films and TV shows on Blu-ray of late. "Starman" on Blu-ray is at least in widescreen and has a nice presentation with nice detail.

Sony didn't really have to do much. England got a DVD edition of this with a commentary by John Carpenter. All they had to do was port that version over for this edition and throw on the original promotional featurette made back in the day. It wouldn't have been hard. Don't get me wrong, this is a terrific movie and it looks great but it's a LOUSY effort on behalf of Sony. That's surprising given that they won the format war. You'd expect a better effort than this truly lazy package.

What can you do? I suppose write Sony or wait to see if the UK version has the commentary track and other extras ported over to the Blu-ray. Since it'll be region free buy that. If you must buy this cheap edition of the film try and pay as little as possible as this nearly bare bones (it has BD Live capacity and-whoopee!--trailers) editon of an exceptional film SHOULD retail at about $15.99 for what we get.

This film is simply impossible not to like. Jeff Bridges is unforgettable as an alien from an incomparably advanced race who is stranded on Earth (after taking human form) and seeking to return to his own civilization, and his excellent performance as such earned him an Oscar nomination. He really gets into the role, and plays it to perfection. His gestures and mannerisms as the alien trying to understand human beings are uncannily plausible. Karen Allen is also superb in her role as an ordinary human being caught up in the struggle between Bridges, seeking to escape the Earth, and those darned nasty Big Government agents who fear the alien and seek to capture and destroy him. Darned gummint, isn't that just like them?

There are few special effects in the movie, and none are needed--this is a movie that gets through by sheer excellent storytelling and wonderful acting by Bridges and Allen. It manages to be touching without being sappy, and although our human government is viewed as being narrow-minded and overly paranoid, the alien in the end forms a high and joyous opinion of mankind, which I found uplifting and optimistic.

Well worth watching and owning.

Buy Starman (1984) Now

This review refers to the DVD edition of "Starman"(Columbia/Sony)....

I love this film. It's a film I can view often and never tire of it.Beautifully directed by John Carpenter, wonderfully photographed with great music, and stars Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen have a terrific on screen chemistry. It's got something for everybody. Great Sci-Fi, Romance, some Action/Adventure, Drama and Comedy as well. It's a film that the entire family may enjoy together(may not be suitable for the very young, as there is mild language and violence). The story of a romance between an Earth woman and an alien that looks just like her dead husband, and the ensuing chase as the government tries to capture him, is one that captivates and will keep you under it's spell, time and again. But Sony..what's up with this DVD????

"This film has been modified..., and formatted to fit your screen"..UGH!! Don't ya hate that? The buying info here shows the aspect ratio of this DVD to be 2.35:1, which is the original specs. But beware, it also says full screen and does not say widescreen or letterbox anywhere. On the back of the DVD box it says 1.33:1.This is a film that really should be seen in it's original form. The way the director and cinematographer wanted you to see it. There are some spectacular scenes of the alien ship coming down, an explosion, and some wonderful scenery that begs to be seen from edge to edge. I even checked over at the Internet Movie Data Base, and they also show the DVD with both the original aspect ratio and full screen, but I could not locate a DVD like that anywhere. Maybe it was available once and has gone out of print, but if that is the case, a new edition needs to be released in widescreen, and Sony..some commentary or one or two bonus features for Sci-Fi fans on the "making of" might do nicely too.

That being said, the rest of the transfer to DVD of this fabulous film was well done. The picture is crystal clear,colors wonderful, and the sound in Stereo Surround(2.0) was actually very good. There are subtitles in English Spanish, and French and may be viewed in those languages as well. Or any combination of the languages and subtitles.

I love the film enough to go 5 stars for it, but taking off one for not even having a choice as to how I want to view it.

Sony....Puhleeese! Reissue this film in the original widescreen format. Thanks!....Laurie

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Read Best Reviews of Starman (1984) Here

I first saw this movie way back in 1985 and at that time I thought it was fantastic, better than ET (hugely overrated).

Well, time has not diminshed this feeling and after recently purchasing the DVD I can only say that it's still just as good.

Jeff Bridges gives us a truly believable and touching performance, he was deservedly Oscar nominated and Karen Allen is simply gorgeous as the wide eyed widower who cannot quite believe what is happening to her. The two carry the film very well and the supporting cast especially Charles Martin Smith are also excellent.

The movie succeeds on just about every level, emotionally it's truly touching and scenes such as the deer outside the diner and when Karen Allen describes the definition of love are real chokers.

The gorgeous Arizona landscape looks sumptous and the filming overall is first rate, John Carpenter clearly demonstrates his mastery of filmmaking throughout every scene. Forget the fact that the special effects could have been better, hey this was 1984 and way before CGI overpowered us with overblown special effects. By contrast some movies made today are so full of totally unnecessary special effects that it's no longer clear whether what you are seeing is real or animated.

This movie doesn't need to rely on this level of interference, it works on an emotional and human level.

As a side note some years ago my wife and I visited Meteor Crater near Winslow and we looked for the cafe where Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen and Charles Martin Smith played out the final scene but we couldn't find it, must have been created for the movie.

Anyway, all in all simply fantastic and easily one of my personal favourites.

Want Starman (1984) Discount?

"Starman" is a top notch sci-fi movie that boasts a wonderful performance by Jeff Bridges. It is a story of first contact with a twist--an alien flys to Earth after receiving a welcome message from Voyager, only to find the human race hostile (the U.S. Air Force shoots down his ship). The alien takes the form of a dead house painter via some DNA trickery (yes, the plot is thin), then abducts the widow and makes her drive to Arizona where he will meet his mothership. The 3-day journey is one of discovery, not only for the alien, but the bewildered widow as well. Alternatively funny and touching, "Starman" turns into a love story, and it works quite well. What doesn't work is the standard Government/Military `capture-and-kill-the-threat' scenario. In spite of this weakness, "Starman" gets 8 out of 10. If by chance you haven't seen this film, by all means pick it up. It is well worth the time, even for people who don't normally like sci-fi.

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