Starman (1984)

[Part of the Science Fiction special in the Vienna Filmmuseum.]

Starman is a movie by John Carpenter, starring Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen and Charles Martin Smith.

Having got the invitation extended by Voyager 2, an alien lands on earth: Starman (Jeff Bridges) takes on the form of Jenny’s (Karen Allen) recently deceased husband, which – understandably – freaks her out quite a bit. He then “asks” Jenny to bring her across the country to Arizona. But Starman’s arrival hasn’t gone unnoticed, and soon Starman and Jenny are being followed on their “roadtrip”: by the government, the military and the enthusiastic scientist Mark Shermin (Charles Martin Smith).

Starman has many reasons not to work: The script is trying a little too hard, it’s a John Carpenter movie, the special effects haven’t aged very well and neither has the music. And then there’s Jeff Bridges and he is so absofuckinglutely incredible that he counterweighs all those things. Easily.

I expected to get trashy fun when I bought the ticket for the film. But I didn’t expect to be honestly touched by the movie – and it’s all due to Jeff Bridges. He says the cheesiest lines and he not only gets away with it, but actually makes them work. [Also, that man was freaking hot. I mean, TRON gave me some warning, but he was even hotter in this film…] And he’s funny.

Karen Allen, alas, wasn’t as lucky/talented: She gets even cheesier lines and they sound incredibly cheesy when she says them – nothing more. Charles Martin Smith gets the fun part as the witty uber-geek and it works very, very well.

The audio quality, unfortunately, gave me a major urge to remaster it. Especially the soundtrack was a little distorted (and I usually really don’t pay much attention to the audio, so when I notice it, it’s seriously off).

John Carpenter, not necessarily the most talented of directors, does good work here, basically by just letting Bridges do his thing. [Sometimes you gotta know when to not interfere. :)]

The biggest problem was the script, which tries to be very deep but is so obvious about it, that it doesn’t really work out. Still, there are some nice scenes and thoughts there – and some pretty brilliant humor.

Summarising: While not perfect, the movie is worth to watch just for Bridges’ sake.

1 thought on “Starman (1984)

  1. Pingback: a lovely monday « Kate McKinnon

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