Now let me get this straight, I am not a fan of John Carpenter and John Carpenter’s Vampires was really the last straw. I like my vampires more in a Buffy or Anne Rice kinda way… Reconciliation was supposed to come from Starman; an intergalactic love story.
It is the year 1977. The Voyager 2 travels to outer space to deliver an invitation to visit Earth. When a small investigation vessel approaches, it is shot down near Chequamegon Bay, Wisconsin. The alien is able to escape the military and seeks refuge at the home of young widow Jenny Heyden (Karen Allen). In order to survive, the alien needs to take on human form. DNA from some hair enables him to appear (you may have guessed) as the recently deceased Scott (Jeff Bridges). Jenny is terrified.
Starman has only three days to reach his mother ship in Arizona’s Barringer Crater; otherwise he will be left behind. He relies on Jenny’s help and the road trip begins (in an orange and black 1977 Ford Mustang Cobra II coupé). What started as kidnapping turns into affection as Jenny learns that Starman is a peaceful being. As the movie progresses, his English improves and he can communicate with Jenny. Through her, he understands that the human race is not completely savage. Jenny teaches Starman how to be self-sufficient and plans her secret escape but when she sees him bring a deer back to life he wins her heart.
Starman: [after seeing the dead deer] Do deer eat people?
Jenny Hayden: No.
Starman: Do people eat people?
Jenny Hayden: Of course not. What do you think we are?
Starman: I think you are a very primitive species.
A bit more road tripping and two cops spot the fugitives. Jenny is shot but Starman escapes with Jenny and revives her. They continue their journey unnoticed in a mobile home. While Jenny is still recovering, Starman wants to travel to the landing site alone. Due to a road block the couple is soon reunited and they continue their journey by train. In the boxcar Jenny and Starman are getting closer and he learns that she is not able to have children. Now, there ain’t a problem Starman can’t fix. Oh, no…
They accidently travel too far and arrive in Las Vegas where Starman uses his powers to cheat at a machine. $ 50.000 enables to buy a new car for their travels. Meanwhile, they are chased by a special team. NSA Chief George Fox is a fierce man. He is teamed up with the scientist Mark Shermin (Charles Martin Smith), who believes the aliens are peaceful. They manage to locate Starman’s destination and Shermin is able to find and interview Starman.
Now, what does the idealistic scientist do, that has just made contact to another form of being? He facilitates Starman’s escape. Even though helicopters chase after them, the couple reaches the crater just in time. As soon as the mother ship arrives, Starman regains power; Jenny confesses her love and after one last kiss, the ship takes off and Jenny will never see him again.
If you want to say something meaningful about the state of mankind, drain it with alien sauce. John Carpenter creates moment after moment where you cannot help but go, did he really need to do this? I am not sure if we will ever be friends. Never say never. The script was developed at Columbia at the same time as E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Since they did not want to release two movies with a similar topic, E.T. went to a different studio (where it may have made a bit more money than Starman).
Why we love it: For all the colors, the magnificent acting and the totally not foreseeable story line.
Recommended for: anyone who appreciates alien movies and that very special 80s feeling.