Stoner review: STARMAN (1984)
STARMAN is a sci-fi flick by one of my favorite directors, John Carpenter, starring Jeff Bridges (the guy from The Big Lebowski) as an alien who visits Earth to make contact.
Well, actually the alien visitor only inhabits the body of Jeff Bridges, as the aliens have evolved past bodily, physical being. Far out…
The aliens come to Earth because… We invited them! Remember Voyager 2, the space probe launched by NASA in 1977? Voyager 2 has been sending data about the outer solar system back to Earth, and actually made it past our system recently, thus making humankind interstellar for the first time!
NASA knew that Voyager 2 will continue floating into space, even after it eventually stops working. Therefore NASA equipped the probe with a message to any intelligent life, who might stumble upon it some time, somewhere. The message is a description of our planet and the human species, with an actual invitation to come visit us.
(Picture: Pioneer plaque from NASA’s Voyager 2 space probe. Part of the actual invitation for aliens to visit Earth. Trippy shit, huh?)
We don’t take kind to strangers on Earth though, as you already know. The alien visitor ‘Starman’ is hunted by U.S. government agencies from the very second he crash lands. A hunt which quickly turns aggressive and violent, as he seeks to avoid capture, with the help of a hot Earth lady (Karen Allen – right after she helped Indiana Jones find the Lost Ark before the nazis).
Starman is estranged to human needs such as eating, sleeping and sex. He is disgusted by the fact that we (still) kill other living beings for food (at one point he revives a deer, making him quite unpopular among the local hunting community — the rednecks). It is clear that we are a primitive species, in his eyes, as he tells it:
"You are a strange species. Not like any other. And you’d be surprised how many there are. Intelligent but savage. Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you?
You are at your very best when things are worst.”
Seeing Jeff Bridges play this alien, naïvely mimicking human language and movement, is half hilarious and half lame. Like one would expect.
The best scene is when Starman takes physical form in the beginning, from being some kind of astral spirit being. First he is a baby, then transforms through childhood and into a grown man, within seconds. Pretty awesome.
Check it out. But as always – be prepared. You will need the right medicine for this movie!