Space. The final frontier. Your video mission: To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where few moviegoers have gone before. Three recent science fiction box office failures have been regenerated as videos, featuring a visit from, a voyage to and the story of another planet. Theater audiences obviously preferred good old Earth. Now video companies hope armchair astronauts will come up with the right stuff: money.
STARMAN (RCA/Columbia, 1984) An extraterrestrial takes the form of widow Karen Allen's husband and learns about human feelings while fleeing government agents. Jeff Bridges received an undeserved Best Actor nomination for his silly performance in the title role. Directed by John Carpenter, who proved in "The Thing" his superiority with unfriendlier agents.
THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT (MGM/UA, 1984) Inept sequel to the classic "2001." A joint American-Russian Jupiter expedition learns the secret behind the first space odyssey's failure with the help of computer HAL. Poorly written (with Arthur C. Clarke) and badly directed by Peter Hyams ("Outland") featuring Roy Scheider, John Lithgow and Keir Dullea, reprising his earlier role.
DUNE (MCA, 1984) Interesting, sensually sophisticated interpretation of Frank Herbert's unfilmable science fiction novel by talented director David Lynch ("Eraserhead," "The Elephant Man"). Humanoids and creatures from rival planets struggle to attain a mystic spice, guarded by giant sandworms. Produced by Dino de Laurentiis, with Jose Ferrer, Max von Sydow, Sean Young and Sting.
THE FOOD OF THE GODS (Vestron, 1976) Contaminated grain creates an army of giant rats. Unpleasant American-International update of H.G. Wells' story lightened by embarrassing special effects. With Marjoe Gortner and Pamela Franklin.
THE PRISONER (MPI, 1968) Aficionados of intelligent science fiction will revel in this avant- garde British TV series. Marvelous producer-star Patrick McGoohan portrays the defiant Number Six, a former secret agent seeking escape from an impersonal but comfortable prison community known only as "The Village." All 17 episodes are now on cassette, conveniently numbered for chronological viewing.