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John Carpenter
Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith
Writing Credits:
Bruce A. Evans, Raynold Gideon

An alien takes the form of a young widow's husband and asks her to drive him from Wisconsin to Arizona while the government tries to stop them.

Box Office:
$24 million.
Opening Weekend:
$2,872,022 on 1261 Screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 115 min.
Price: $34.93
Release Date: 12/18/2018

• Audio Commentary with Director John Carpenter and Actor Jeff Bridges
• “Remembering Starman” Featurette
• Vintage “Making Of” Featurette
• Trailers & TV Spots
• Still Gallery


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Starman: Collector's Edition [Blu-Ray] (1984)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 11, 2018)

After a career based around horror movies, director John Carpenter went down a different path with 1984’s Starman. The Voyager II spacecraft sends a message of peace to any potential non-terrestrials who hear it. One of them does, and he takes us up on our invitation.

Unfortunately, humans don’t greet his arrival very well. Armed forces shoot down the alien over Wisconsin, and he crash lands near the remote cabin of grieving widow Jenny Hauden (Karen Allen). She can’t get over her loss, so to help acclimate himself, the Starman adopts the form of her dead husband (Jeff Bridges).

This leads to a curious story of romance and survival. Starman needs to get to an Arizona rendezvous in three days or he’ll die. Jenny agrees to take him there, but they don’t go without pursuit, as the US forces try to intercept them so they can capture Starman for scientific purposes.

On the surface, Starman looks like a more adult take on ET the Extraterrestrial. Beneath the surface, Starman still looks that way, but that doesn’t mean it’s just a cheap knock-off of its hugely successful predecessor, so Mac and Me this ain’t.

Starman does echo some shots from ET, whether it meant to or not. For instance, one scene in which both Starman and Jenny scream seems awfully similar to a shot from ET.

Though it becomes impossible to view Starman without ET in mind, the Carpenter flick still offers its own charms, and some of those come from the film’s talented cast. Bridges earned an Oscar nomination for his work as the Starman, which may or may not be warranted.

On one hand, Bridges brings uncommon depth to what could have been an extremely one-dimensional performance. We see how Bridges develops Starman and shows his growth through the movie.

On the other hand, Starman remains a fairly showy role that doesn’t demand a whole ton from an actor. Heck, ET pulled off good emotional growth too, and he was a puppet!

I think Bridges does well in the part, but the character’s potential is too limited. The role doesn’t force an actor to deliver the kind of range a normal human would.

Allen does fine as Jenny, and she gets the tougher role. Jenny acts as the viewer’s connection to Starman, so we need to buy into her pretty well.

Allen delivers decent personality here, but she seems a little stiff. I get the feeling she resists the urge to make Jenny overly emotional so she goes too far in the opposite direction. Still, I think Allen does generally fine in the part, and she connects well with Bridges.

Even with all that, I must admit that try as I might, I find it tough to get past the film’s similarities to ET. Sure, the pair have many differences, as I don’t remember any scene in which Elliott and ET get it on.

Nonetheless, they remain awfully similar, and virtually all of the comparisons favor the Spielberg classic. Starman just seems a little dry and without the same spirit.

I could live without some of Starman’s plot contrivances. Jenny and Starman seem to meet an awful lot of total strangers willing to commit crimes to help them.

Also, the fact they end up in Las Vegas feels like it exists solely to give us a cute scene of Starman in a casino. Most of the story works fine, but these stretches of logic create problems.

Viewed on its own merits, Starman provides acceptable entertainment. I simply think it lacks the enduring charm of ET, and it just never really catches fire. The movie gives us a reasonably interesting variant on the ET mold but it never quite prospers on its own.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

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

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