Starman (1984) / Sci Fi-Adventure
MPAA Rated: PG for violence, brief nudity and language
Running Time: 115 min.
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith, Richard Jaeckel, Robert Phalen, M.C. Gainey, John Carpenter (cameo)
Director: John Carpenter
Screenplay: Bruce A. Evans, Raynold Gideon
Review published July 17, 1997
An alien race intercepts a space probe describing Earth, effectively inviting aliens to visit. These aliens take us up on the offer, sending a scout to see what we're up to. The alien scout crash lands up in the American backwoods. Using DNA found in the hair in a woman's photo book, he transforms himself in the likeness of her dead husband (Bridges, Against All Odds). Now he must get to a rendezvous point in Arizona to get back to the mothership before he dies, but SETA and the FBI want him to experiment on. The alien has no choice but to kidnap the woman (Allen, Raiders of the Lost Ark) to assist him.
Director John Carpenter (The Thing, The Fog) remains a mystery to me. Sometimes he can be brilliant, while in other efforts, he seems the struggles. Starman is one of his brilliant moments.
Although the basic premise strains believability, and, admittedly, there are many contrivances to get the film to work, it's nevertheless entertaining and packed with much emotional punch. The characters are very sympathetic, the performances are first rate (especially Bridges), and it has one of the most perfect scores in recent science fiction film history.
A much underrated and overlooked gem by Carpenter.
-- Followed by a television series in 1986-87.
©1997 Vince Leo