Article 3862 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-2-2012
Posting Date: 3-11-2012
Directed by John Carpenter
Featuring Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith
What it is: Alien on Earth story
An alien being takes the form of a bereaved woman’s dead husband, and enlists her help to transport him to a crater in Arizona where he can return to his own world. But the government knows of his existence and plans to capture him…
I saw this movie many years ago and it didn’t make much of an impression on me then; about all I could remember was a gag involving what to do when the lights turn yellow. I like it much better now, most likely because I didn’t turn myself off to the emotional resonance of the story like I did then. It’s tempting and not entirely inaccurate to describe it as a cross between E.T. and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, but thanks to a mostly thoughtful script and two excellent performances from Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen, the movie moves beyond a mere imitation and finds its own voice. And as a movie that involves love between humans and non-humans, I certainly prefer it to SPLASH, another movie that feels very similar to this one. If I do have a little problem with it, it’s because it’s a tab overlong, a problem that could have been fixed with some tighter editing here and there; I also can’t help but notice that the main characters seem to find it a little bit too easy on occasion to enlist the help of strangers. It also seems to be setting itself up for a sequel that never came, and I do find myself wishing to know what will happen after Allen’s character has her child and what he will be like.