Starman appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Flicks from the mid-1980s can provide very hit or miss visuals, but Starman offered excellent picture quality.
Sharpness seemed more than satisfactory, as from start to finish, the flick looked concise and detailed. Even the widest shots still demonstrated nice accuracy, as virtually no softness manifested itself.
Jagged edges and shimmering were absent, and I also noticed no edge enhancement. Fine grain showed up throughout the film, and print flaws failed to mar the image.
Starman went with a natural palette that looked great. The colors consistently seemed vivid and dynamic, as the film’s earthy hues came across well.
Blacks were dark and tight, and low-light shots generally appeared solid. This became a very appealing presentation.
While not quite as timeless, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Starman also held up well, as the soundfield opened things up in a satisfying manner. In particular, a mix of action scenes added pizzazz to the package.
Various vehicles traveled around the spectrum well, and the general environmental material also brought out a good sense of place. Most of the information blended together well, and the track was certainly more involving and active than what I expected from a 33-year-old flick.
Audio quality was also fine, though a few elements were a little weak. In particular, louder effects like explosions and jets could be somewhat rough, but they still weren’t bad given the age of the recordings. In general, effects showed good clarity, and bass response could be quite nice.
Music was pretty vivid, as the track replicated Jack Nitzche’s score well. Speech was always good, as the lines seemed natural and lacked edginess or other concerns. Because some of the effects were a bit iffy, I didn’t think I could give this track an “A”-level grade, but I thought it proved more than satisfying for its age.
How did the 2018 “Collector’s Edition” compare to the original Blu-ray from 2009? Audio remained similar, as both discs came with virtually equivalent lossless sound.
Visuals were also pretty close, though I gave the nod to the 2018 version. It didn’t offer a big improvement over the 2009 transfer, but it eliminated the earlier release’s smattering of print flaws and turned into the more natural rendition.
Whereas the 2009 release lacked extras, the 2018 CE comes with some components, and we open with an audio commentary from director John Carpenter and actor Jeff Bridges. Recorded for a 2002 non-US DVD, this track makes its American debut as the pair offer a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, editing, effects, stunts and related domains.
While I wouldn’t call this a dynamic commentary, it proves more than satisfying. Bridges and Carpenter show an easy-going charm together, and they cover a nice array of topics. All of that means this adds up to an enjoyable, informative piece.
Called They Came From Hollywood, a new featurette runs 23 minutes, 55 seconds and includes notes from Carpenter, Bridges, script supervisor Sandy King Carpenter, and actor Charles Martin Smith.
“Came” looks at Carpenter’s path to the film and approach to the material, story/characters/screenplay, cast and performances, photography, stunts, the spacecraft’s design, music, and overall thoughts. Nothing about “Came” stands out as scintillating, but the program offers a reasonable overview of the film.
From 1984, a Vintage Featurette lasts 11 minutes, 20 seconds and features Carpenter, Bridges, Smith, special effects coordinator Roy Arbogast, and actor Karen Allen. As expected, the show offers a general view of the production, one without a ton of substance. It’s useful for archival purposes but it doesn’t tell us much.
In addition to two trailers and four TV spots, we find a Still Gallery. It offers a running, eight-minute, two-second reel with 83 images. These mix shots from the set, promotional materials and movie elements to become a decent compilation.
Would we view Starman differently if ET never existed? I’m sure we would, but I’m not as sure that’d make it a more appealing movie. Starman delivers reasonable emotion and entertainment but it lacks the spark that would make it truly memorable. The Blu-ray offers excellent picture quality and very good audio as well as a reasonable selection of supplements. While the movie doesn’t do a lot for me, this Blu-ray treats it well.
To rate this movie visit the prior review of STARMAN