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6/16/11

STARMAN - REVIEW


When thinking about alien movies in the 80's, what comes to mind? Besides Alien. Spielberg, right? E.T., Close Encounters Of The Third Kind etc. For me, though, a close second is Mr John Carpenter, who quietly brought us two of the best alien movies to date around about the same time: one was The Thing, the other was Starman.

Thinking about it now, the idea of Jeff Bridges as a child-like alien is pretty hilarious. And, indeed, there are silly/cheesy things about Starman, no doubt about it. And yet, it works better as a sci-fi film than either E.T. or Close Encounters...weird, huh?

It is a shame that John Carpenter's sci-fi romance is often overlooked, I remember as a kid everything was all about E.T.: I didn't even like E.T.! That whole bit where he turns white and starts dying for half an hour: freaked the hell out of me! Gave me nightmares! Starman however I would just sit and watch no problem: it was funny, sweet, sad, entertaining...I just loved it. Still do!

Jeff Bridges gives one odd performance here and although you could probably cheaply make fun of the random twitches and the way he speaks throughout, in the process you'd just be missing how good Bridges is here. What starts off as one weird, often creepy, potentially dangerous character gradually develops into something more honest and heroic. He becomes more human than that old bastard hunting him down the entire time.

Karen Allen is also very good in this and proves she's much more than just another damsel in distress (see Raiders Of The Lost Ark). Her character is interesting and her performance fits perfectly, which makes the ending all the more bittersweet and heartbreaking.

Perhaps John Carpenter's most touching film, Starman is a true sci-fi tearjerker. With a beautifully affecting score, "star" performances from Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen, Starman is probably my personal favourite Carpenter film. And that's saying a lot as I love most of them.

A cult classic, definitely worth a revisit.

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