Some movies that were made back in the day were well ahead of their time and as a result they didn’t seem to really garner as much attention as they should have. Even if Starman was made today however one can imagine that it would still be looked at with utter skepticism since too many people are leery of changing at this point and would likely see this as preachy and even a strange reflection that they can’t possibly face. Yes, that’s right, people can’t face their own hypocrisy these days, and this is something that Starman was adept at pointing out since the alien that came to earth on a goodwill mission after an open invitation was shot into space was quickly persecuted and chased down simply because he was an alien and therefore an unknown. Some might have sought to welcome him, some might have thought to dissect him and figure out what made him tick. But overall, the human response in Starman when it was first released was disturbing since it’s akin to a person welcoming a stranger into their home with the full intent of doing harm. It’s true, the alien did in fact arrive without notice, but at the same time the need for humanity to lash out against those that aren’t like us is a very big reality that doesn’t need to be featured in a movie to be realized.
The fact is that a lot of movies from this era really took things to a different level than we understood back then and showed us what it meant to actually be the kind of human beings we always preach about being. Movies such as Starman weren’t perfect by any means but it showed how humanity is truly something of a quandary since we want to be treated in a certain way and yet can’t seem to grasp that to do this we need to treat others in the same manner. The whole story, like many benevolent alien stories, shows that humanity is somewhat violent and incredibly divided when it comes to who is truly standing by the words they speak and who is just paying lip service to an ideal that means less than nothing when all is said and done.
Films like Starman weren’t exactly taken seriously in their day and they still aren’t for the most part since, well, they’re movies and are meant more for entertainment than anything else. But the lessons that they do teach us now and again are that the manner in which we treat people is noticed and is important since it happens to shape our culture in every possible way. What this movie showed was a definite level of intolerance despite the fact that there were those among the human race that were attempting a peaceful meeting with life from another planet in hopes of learning from one another. But of course the human element doesn’t always differentiate between threat and possible benefactor and tends to see shadows where none exist. In many ways Starman was the kind of movie that helped to continue the idea that the unknown is not always as dangerous as it might seem, and that peaceful discussion is at times a very real possibility and is a preferred method to the heavy-handed fear and hatred that comes from so many. That could be more of a personal opinion really, but after having seen so much of how the human race treats its own it’s hard not to carry such an idea around as a default when trying to discuss just how confrontational people can be.
The joy of this film is that it was easy to watch, easy to like, and was one of those that didn’t demand anything of anyone. It delivered a message that was mostly entertainment but still carried enough weight when it came down to what it would mean to each individual person that it was worth listening to. Some might think it paints the US military in a negative light, which happens quite often since in the movies the idea is usually to shoot first and ask questions later, but it’s also a metaphor for humanity in general since so many people would gladly be afraid of aliens largely because of how our culture has been taught to behave around anyone that’s different from us. But thankfully, while that’s a strong and very pervasive feeling, there are also those that want to be a little more understanding and come to grips with that which they fear in order to better understand the world around them and everything in it. Starman was a movie that did kind of preach at times but also backed its preaching up with very good points that are worth remembering since it speaks to the humanity that we all wish to cling to so fiercely.
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