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Old 14-04-2002, 18:47   #1
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Thumbs up Starman DVD

The Film:

Jenny Hayden is asleep in her bed when an alien spacecraft is hurtling towards Earth and the US Air Force shoots it down. It crash-lands in a forest only a few miles from her house and an alien being leaves the burning spacecraft. It visits her house finding a lock of hair from her dead husband in a photo album and clones him so he can exist freely on Earth.

He is visiting Earth from the invitation on the Voyager 2 space probe to observe the activities of the humans and since he was shot down he considers the environment hostile. He was supposed to land in Arizona but he has to travel to there where his alien companions will collect him. Jenny Hayden must drive him to Arizona, while on the way she falls in love with this alien who has taken the body of her dead husband and gives her a new life to lead.

The cinematography is excellent as the both the framing and breathtaking scenery is superbly photographed bringing the viewer into the mind of the Starman. For a film of that era the special effects are very good, even if some of them are a bit dated by today's high standards the action scenes still look realistic.

Director John Carpenter (The Thing) does a wonderful job capturing both the magnificent performances from the all the cast and combing the drama with the fantasy elements making the film very believable. Jeff Bridges (Jagged Edge) is brilliant as the Starman as he portrays himself with a childlike curiosity and the sole of a human. Equally as convincing is Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark) as Jenny Hayden.

The story is very good as it's taken very seriously, so this makes it very believable and that's why I love it. Probably Carpenter's best ever. While it steals elements from both of Steven Spielberg's classic science fictions ET: The Extraterrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind it's still an outstanding film.

The film is in the correct aspect ratio of 2.35:1 anamorphic PAL. The picture quality is excellent with no noticeable artefacts or scratches. The picture is very sharp and colours are vibrant. The transfer must have been remastered.

Extras:

The menu for Starman is static and not very interesting, which is a bit of a disappointment. The disc lacks decent extras, however we have Trailers, a Music Video, Production Featurette and Audio Commentary by John Carpenter & Jeff Bridges.

There were supposed to be some deleted scenes but sadly they're not included. Columbia must have lost the rights even though they're listed on the BBFC web site.

There are full trailers for Starman and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The trailer for Starman is fullscreen and the picture quality is poor enough. The trailer for Close Encounters of the Third Kind is in widescreen in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio and includes behind the scenes footage. Both of them look dated.

The "All I have to do is Dream" music video is very dated and the picture quality is poor. Both Karen Allen and Jeff Bridges seem uninterested in their singing efforts while numerous inserts from the film are included giving the video a really cheesy effect.

The 'Making of Featurette' is the usual promotional material. The Featurette contains behind the scenes footage, while the actors talk about their characters, the film and director without going into any real depth. There are also some inserts from the film. Again the picture quality is poor with some grain. The disc would have benefited from a longer documentary with the actor's looking back at the film from today.

Finally there's Audio Commentary by John Carpenter & Jeff Bridges. It's a screen specific track with background information such as the real song on the Voyager 2 probe was actually Johnny B. Good and John Carpenter being a pilot owning two helicopters. At certain parts of the films there's references to deleted scenes. They discuss various aspects of the making of the film, photography, how to get the best performance and special effects. They mention the specific names for the different FX shots, such as Rick Baker for the cloning effect. Jeff Bridges is very clued in on the film making process and has a lot to say. There are some pauses also, this is to allow the viewer watch the scene in question. The commentary is very good, while not as good as the commentary for The Thing, it's well worth a listen.

Summation:

The film itself is excellent and could have done with a much better set of extras. The best extra on the disc is the commentary and the picture quality is excellent so it's well worth a purchase, particularly if you're a fan of the film like myself.

Last edited by Morpheus2000; 22-04-2002 at 10:31.
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Old 16-04-2002, 15:12   #2
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Excellent review. Thanks Morpheus - want to see this again especially in 2.35:1! When you look at some John Carpenters movies like The Thing, and even Christine, they really come alive in 2.35:1.
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Old 16-04-2002, 16:33   #3
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I just love the music at the end of the film when
- makes the hairs on my neck tingle
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Old 21-04-2002, 20:53   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dan Druff
Excellent review. Thanks Morpheus - want to see this again especially in 2.35:1! When you look at some John Carpenters movies like The Thing, and even Christine, they really come alive in 2.35:1.
Well that is his favourite aspect ratio....
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Old 21-04-2002, 20:56   #5
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good review Morpheus, Im currently writing my review for DVD Times as we speak!
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Old 22-04-2002, 01:20   #6
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in fact my review is up now!
Click here:
http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/index.cgi?...773&story=3058
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Old 22-04-2002, 10:29   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Raphph
in fact my review is up now!
Click here:
http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/index.cgi?...773&story=3058
Excellent review, but I have fond memories of watching this numerous times on TV, so maybe that's why I love it so much.

I don't remember seeing any artefacts though. What did you view the DVD on? At present I only have a 28" 4:3 TV, will be getting a Widescreen in the near future....
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Old 22-04-2002, 12:03   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Morpheus2000
Well that is his favourite aspect ratio....
Like yourself with Starman I never saw Christine in 2.35:1, only Pan and Scammed on TV..I think most people have grown up watching Pan and Scammed John Carpenter, which is a sobering thought.
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Bruce A. Evans, Dean Riesner, Jeff Bridges, John Carpenter, Karen Allen, Larry J. Franco, Michael Douglas, Raynold Gideon, Starman

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