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Starman

Year: 1984
Studio: Columbia
Director: John Carpenter
Writer: Bruce A Evans
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith

A strong (and familiar) science fiction idea slightly hobbled by the apparently low budget and the effects technology of the time. For a hint about just how low budget the production probably was, just check the name of the director. Despite his fame for using what little he had to work cinematic miracles, to me Carpenter is also a director who's never had the money to truly realise the scope of his ideas, particularly in sci-fi.

To be fair though, it's not really science fiction but a chase thriller with a sci-fi element as young widow Jenny (Allen) tries to get over her husband's death. When an alien being comes into her life and assumes his (Bridges) identity, it's hard not only to believe but to refuse his request that she drive him across the country for a rendezvous with his approaching ship. And all the while, the government is in hot pursuit while scientist dissenter Mark (Smith) tries to hold them back and throw them off the scent.

Only two years after E.T., could the similarities in the story - a human tasked with returning a stranded alien to its ship so it can go home - be a coincidence? Is it even more coincidental that Carpenter lost the stranded alien race at the box office two years before when E.T. stomped all over his nihilistic stranded alien movie The Thing ?

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