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Starman

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    93
    from 3 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Starman's 4K release captivates with unmatched quality, extras, and nostalgia.

    Starman 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    95
  • Starman's 4K restoration in the Columbia Classics Vol 4 boxset enhances its mood & visuals, maintaining technical excellence with comprehensive extras and TV series episodes, making it a definitive edition.

  • Audio
    94
  • Starman's 4K restoration and Dolby Atmos audio deliver stunning visuals and immersive sound, honoring its cinematic legacy with technical excellence.

  • Extra
    92
  • Starman's 4K release dazzles with a choice-rich audio landscape, led by an unmatched Dolby Atmos track, and a bounty of extras including a nostalgic TV series, enriching commentaries, and revealing behind-the-scenes looks.

  • Movie
    91
  • John Carpenter's Starman, an emotional sci-fi journey, diverges from his horror roots, offering a poignant road trip tale of connection and humanity against a backdrop of stunning visuals and powerful performances, highlighted by an Oscar-nominated Jeff Bridges.

    Video: 95

    Sony's 4K UHD Blu-Ray release of "Starman" marks a significant upgrade over its former 1080p versions, presenting a visually striking restoration that pushes toward the ideal restoration standards. Encoded for the Columbia Classics Vol 4 boxset, this version is part of a comprehensive package that includes not just the film in its newly minted form but also a spectrum of extras and the complete TV series across four discs. The 4K restoration, based on a meticulous scan of the original camera negative by Cineric, Inc., and refined color grading and HDR enhancements at Roundabout Entertainment, elevates the film to stunning new heights. The craftsmanship behind this version ensures a faithful transmission of John Carpenter’s vision and Donald M. Morgan’s cinematography, accentuating the film's atmospheric depth with rich blacks, dynamic contrast, and vibrant color palettes that enhance its visual storytelling.

    Technical execution shines through in the presentation’s attention to detail, from the granular texture of skin in close-ups to the vibrant yet naturalistic environments that give "Starman" its lived-in feel. The 4K disc showcases practical effects with clarity, allowing their beauty and ingenuity to be appreciated afresh, even if this heightened resolution makes their artifice more apparent. Impressively, the encoding maintains filmic integrity with consistent grain structure and an absence of digital anomalies, making for a clean, engaging viewing experience. Notably, the balance of light and shadow in this edition reflects a closer adherence to Carpenter and Morgan's original aesthetics, with the HDR providing a nuanced spectrum of illumination that adds a new dimension to the already compelling visual narrative.

    Within its darker presentation, "Starman's" 4K transfer finds its strength, crafting images that resonate with emotional depth and atmospheric tension. The color correction and High Dynamic Range (HDR) application work harmoniously to realize a visual field that is as foreboding as it is mesmerizing. With primaries that pop against sumptuously deep blacks and delicate lighting effects that punctuate the darkness, the film breathes life into its scenes with exceptional detail and vibrancy. This edition not only surpasses previous releases in terms of technical fidelity but also stands as a testament to the collaborative spirit between Carpenter and Morgan, showcasing their work in unparalleled clarity and making it an essential addition for aficionados of film restoration and enthusiasts of Carpenter’s filmmaking alike.

    Audio: 94

    The audio presentation of "Starman" on its 4K UHD Blu Ray release is nothing short of remarkable, providing an experience that is as compelling and immersive as the visual restoration itself. The addition of a Dolby Atmos track elevates the auditory experience substantially, offering a full-bodied, dynamic soundscape that envelopes the viewer from the outset. The film wastes no time pulling the viewer into its world, with the low-end output making a significant impact, delivering the necessary weight to the alien’s powers and the imposing force of the U.S. government. Surround channels teem with life, showcasing pinpoint directional effects and smooth transitions across speakers, enriching action and chase sequences while maintaining clear, prioritized dialogue, and ensuring John Carpenter’s iconic music never overwhelms but rather enhances the atmosphere.

    Furthermore, the inclusion of multiple audio formats—English Dolby Atmos, 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio—caters to a range of preferences and setups, respecting the film's original audio heritage while also pushing into new auditory territories. The Atmos track, in particular, represents a significant leap forward, building on previous mixes with refined effects dispersion throughout the soundstage and engaging use of overhead channels for added dimensionality, especially noticeable in scenes involving helicopters. Enhanced bass response adds a pleasing punch to action sequences, and Jack Nitzsche’s score benefits from added presence and richness, faithfully echoing Carpenter’s musical sensibilities with greater depth and clarity.

    The meticulous attention to detail in "Starman's" audio restoration affirms its status as a sterling example of how to honor a classic film’s original sonic character while embracing contemporary advancements in sound technology. This superior auditory treatment not only complements the visual restoration's high standards but also significantly enriches the viewing experience, making it a showcase of how far restoration and audio enhancement techniques have evolved. The effort put into the Atmos mix, in particular, does not go unnoticed; it revitalizes the film’s soundscape, providing an engrossing audio experience that is both respectful of its origins and thrillingly modern.

    Extra: 92

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Starman" offers a remarkable auditory and visual enhancement of the original film, underscoring its commitment to quality and audience engagement. Viewers are treated to a diverse selection of soundtrack options, including a new Dolby Atmos track that is immediately immersive, providing an enveloping experience with deep bass and seamless integration of ambient sounds. The addition of "Starman: The Complete TV Series" in 1080p on two 4K discs is a substantial bonus, expanding the film’s universe with all 22 episodes. Extras such as the insightful audio commentary by John Carpenter and Jeff Bridges, alongside deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes time lapses, a vintage making-of featurette, and more, enrich the viewing experience further. This release not only showcases technical excellence in audio-visual presentation but also a deep appreciation for the film’s legacy through a robust array of supplementary materials.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Starman: The Complete TV Series: The unexpected inclusion of all 22 episodes in high definition.
    • Audio Commentary: Insightful commentary not on the 4K disc but included in the Blu-ray set, featuring John Carpenter and Jeff Bridges.
    • Deleted Scenes: Over twenty scenes amplifying the narrative.
    • Behind-the-Scenes Time Lapses: Revealing the creative process for key scenes.
    • They Came From Hollywood!: Carpenter, Bridges, and others reminisce about the making of "Starman."
    • Making-Of Featurette: A look back at the production with vintage perspectives.
    • Music Video: "All I Have to Do Is Dream."
    • Stills Gallery: A visual treasure trove for fans.
    • Theatrical Trailer: Completing the viewing experience with a nod to its origins.

    Movie: 91

    John Carpenter's venture into the realm of romantic science fiction with "Starman" emerges as an exemplary piece, departing from his well-trodden path of horror and independent film prowess. This cinematic piece intricately weaves a story that is simultaneously simple and deeply poignant, exploring themes of love, loss, and the quintessential essence of humanity through the unlikely encounter between a grieving widow and an extraterrestrial visitor. The narrative effortlessly combines the elements of a road movie and a love story, diverging markedly from Carpenter's known horror genre inclinations, yet managing to retain a heartfelt profundity and a nuanced examination of human emotions and relationships.

    The performances by Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen are nothing short of stellar, offering a compelling on-screen chemistry that breathes life into this off-kilter love saga. Bridges, in his portrayal of the alien visitor assuming the guise of the widow's late husband, delivers an Oscar-nominated performance marked by a meticulously crafted sense of movement and verbal expression, capturing the alien's attempt to assimilate into the human world. Allen's portrayal powerfully conveys a spectrum of emotions, from deep sorrow to tender affection, anchoring the film's emotional depth. Supported by Charles Martin Smith's character, who provides a unique perspective against the typical antagonistic government operative trope, the cast enriches the narrative with authenticity and relatability.

    Visually, "Starman" stands out as a testament to Carpenter's versatility and skillful direction. The film luxuriates in the natural beauty of its settings, from the lush forests of Wisconsin to the arid landscapes of Arizona, showcasing Carpenter's ability to masterfully craft visuals that enhance the storytelling. Moreover, Jack Nitzsche's haunting score accentuates the film's emotional resonance, ensuring that "Starman" secures its place not merely as an engaging sci-fi adventure but as a profoundly moving exploration of love, grief, and the rediscovery of hope amidst loss. Challenging Carpenter's stereotypical association with horror and showcasing his adeptness across genres, "Starman" stands as a testament to his diverse directorial capabilities and his profound understanding of the human condition.

    Total: 93

    John Carpenter's "Starman," often overshadowed by the more prominent entries in his filmography, receives a commendable revival in its 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation by Sony. This edition not only elevates the film's visual and audio experience but also enriches it with a comprehensive collection of special features, including the entire Starman TV series from 1986-87. The transfer quality is exceptional, showcasing a remarkable improvement in video presentation that brings out the best in Carpenter's aesthetic intentions. Coupled with a dynamic Atmos audio track that remains respectful to audiophiles preferring the original sound, this release ensures an immersive viewing experience. It's evident that Sony aimed to cater to both newcomers and longtime fans, reinforcing their dedication to the value of physical media.

    Additionally, this release stands out for its wealth of supplementary content that goes beyond the standard. Not only does it include nearly every previously available extra pertaining to "Starman," but it also introduces about eighteen hours of new material, making it a treasure trove for aficionados. The inclusion of the Starman television series is a particularly delightful addition, offering fans a deeper dive into the story's universe. While the absence of a few minutes from the Still Gallery may be noted by some, the overall package represents a significant effort to provide comprehensive insight into the film and its legacy within the Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection: Volume 4.

    In conclusion, Sony's 4K UHD release of "Starman" is a stellar example of how to rejuvenate a classic film for contemporary audiences while respecting its original fans. The outstanding transfer, combined with an impressive collection of extras and the complete TV series, not only makes this edition a valuable addition to any collector's library but also reaffirms Sony's commitment to celebrating the art of cinema through physical media. This release is a must-have for enthusiasts looking to explore or reacquaint themselves with Carpenter's work, demonstrating yet again that some gems, regardless of age, shine brighter with a little polish.