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Review: Bowie fans will love 'The Man Who Fell to Earth' Collector's Edition

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at 5:03 PM Central

by John Couture

I can't believe that it has already been a year since David Bowie passed away. His unexpected death was the catalyst for one of the most notable years in recent memory of untimely deaths among celebrities. I'm not really sure what our obsession with celebrities slipping forth the mortal coil is, but I'm sure it has something to do with the way our society has evolved into a super aware community thanks mostly to social media in recent years.

The rise of these popular methods of communication have decreased the borders between us and the Hollywood elite even more, thus we almost feel like we know famous people thanks to the mostly curated nuggets of information they share about themselves 240 characters at a time. Of course, there's also a lot to be said about the negative aspects of social media, but that's a discussion for another day.

Safe to say though that Bowie's passing was one of the moments from 2016 that affected many people across all social boundaries. He was not only a gifted singer and songwriter, but he also dabbled a bit in acting with mostly positive results. Whether it was Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ or his iconic performance as the Goblin King in Labyrinth, his film performances were anything but ordinary.

My favorite Bowie performance was as Nikola Tesla in The Prestige. There's just something about his nuanced performance that really sends a jolt (no pun intended) through the entire second act of that film. Of course, I do have to admit something, up until recently I had never seen his first film role as Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth.

That's not to say that I wasn't familiar with the performance because his iconic portrayal of a humanoid alien is as much a part of popular culture as, say, Ziggy Stardust. That is to say that the legend of Bowie far surpassed the man, but it wasn't until I sat down to watch the Collector's Edition of The Man Who Fell to Earth that I came to appreciate the young artist that was David Bowie.

I was two when the film originally came out to theaters, so it's no surprise that I missed it the first time through, but the film has achieved cult-like status and when I worked in a video store, I remember that it was a pretty big deal when it came out on DVD in 1998. And yet, I had not watched it until this past weekend. That was a mistake.

Despite the film being so 1970s that I thought ABBA was going to show up at any moment during a musical montage, the themes were so strong that they still resonate today both in Science Fiction and reality. The idea of a planet being on the verge of destruction due to a lack of water seems more possible today than it the 1970s, and yet, we are still dangerously close to becoming the alien planet from which Bowie comes from.

The idea of governmental interference in this film is one that weaves its way through modern Science Fiction film whether it's E.T. or Contact or Arrival. The message is the same, despite governmental interference it's up to humanity to persevere. I'm sure this is a sentiment that Bowie himself would espouse if he were still alive.

For fans of the film that have been waiting for a definitive Collector's Edition of the film, your wait is over. Not only has the film been completely restored from a 4K negative, but the collection is full of extra goodies including new interviews and featurettes. For me, the most interesting part of the collection was the 72-page book that includes just about everything you could imagine about the film and plenty of amazing pictures.

It's not often that Collector's Editions actually deliver on their promise of being the definitive version of the film, but with The Man Who Fell to Earth, this is indeed the case. With a suggested retail price of $34.99, it is a steal for any true Bowie fan.