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VINE VOICEon August 6, 2009
Has it really been 25 years since this movie was released?
That was my first thought when I heard this movie was being released on Blu-ray. My second thought was that my ever burgeoning Blu-ray collection would be increasing by at least one more movie in August.
I will discuss the plot later in this review but I am suspecting that most customers checking this Blu-ray catalog item out on Amazon are perhaps more interested in the Picture and Audio and the special features.
I have never seen the HD-DVD but have read that the HD-DVD transfer was simply horrible and was bracing myself to be disappointed with the quality of the Blu-ray release.
While the transfer is a far cry from anything that anyone would cite as reference quality with a lot of the scenes suffering a smoky look at times, the colors are OK with some distinct black and white levels, but on other occasions muted too much. Still it is an improvment over the previous DVD release, though it''s questionable if this should be enough to double-dip.
The audio has some nice surround and great bass but again is also somewhat average, so if you are expecting an audio track to rival more recent movies you will likely be disappointed.
The highlight of the special features is the audio commentary between director Nick Castle and production designer Ron Cobb. This is evidently an old audio track but the two seem to have an enjoyable time. There is also a Making of featurette called "Crossing the Frontier" and, as one would expect with a movie touting itself as a 25th Anniversary Edition, a new featurette that includes cast and crew looking back on the movie and their roles as mentors.
The movie follows the adventures of Alex Rogan (played by Lance Guest). Living in a trailer park and with a beautiful girlfriend Alex spends his time mastering a video arcade game in between doing odd-jobs for his neighbors. However, after a particularly successful game at the controls, he is visited by a mysterious character. It turns out that the video game is used as a recruiting tool of sorts to locate those who would be great intergalactic fighter pilots.
Before Alex knows what has hit him the bewildered teen is whisked off across the galaxy and discovers that what was once just a video game is now all too real.
Yes, it's good old 1980s cheese and the early CGI effects are much less impressive now than they were 25 years ago, but for a pure fun movie that does not take itself too seriously you can do much worse :)
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon August 18, 2009
The Last Starfighter is essentially a space opera hinged on the fantasy that video game skills will save the day. Obviously this movie was made for the young teen crowd (essentially 13 yr old boys with Ataris/ Intelivisions/ColecoVisions/etc) and has its share of action and comedy that, like most space operas in the 80's, has more than one similarity to Star Wars (but then again Star Wars was a homage to the classic space operas of the golden age of television). So it's not high caliber sci-fi, but it's not B-movie fodder either.

The story is pretty simple: Evil leader of evil aliens wants to attack good aliens, so in walks a single hero who is the last hope for freedom. That's about it. The movie doesn't deviate too far from this premise other than to further flesh out the fish-out-of-water scenario of an 80's Earthling thrust into space (as well as a little fun with an alien in 80's Earth) as well as the inner battle of said Earthling to stay and fight for a Star League he doesn't know or stay home and go to community college. A serviceable story, if not deep.

The acting does make the simple story enjoyable to watch. Lance Guest seems to have fun with the role, which works for the character. Biggest props go to esteemed Robert Preston's Centauri, who plays the role with the style of a magician and the charisma P.T. Barnum. Another esteemed actor, Dan O'Herlihy, does a surprisingly good performance. Especially when you consider he is wearing full prosthetics with less facial mobility than the costumes from the original Planet of the Apes. Yeah there is a bit of theatrical "drama", but that works with the whole space opera motif.

Special effects are a benchmark here because this is the first film to incorporate live action elements to computer generated animation. The CGA is pretty barbaric by today's standards and even back then was noticeable. The biggest glare in this are the scenes flying in around asteroids, which look pretty "plastic" CG-wise. However the CG ships looked awesome and you can't beat the camera angles and fly-byes that computer animation affords. Plus back then this was pretty state of the art.

The original DVD was released years ago and not too long ago an HD-DVD release was done. Both were pretty good in their format, but this Blu-Ray is a true remastering of the movie. It's a MPEG-4 codec on a BD-25 (25 gigabyte single layer Blu-ray Disc) in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. It looks like a lot of the grain was taken out too, and for some that could be annoying if you are really into the true theater look. Still the images are a good deal sharper and look better than any previous release (including the HD-DVD release). The CG effects really stand out, and while I liked it that aspect also separated those scenes more from the live action shots as far as differences in detail, color and lighting. All in all it's a great transfer/remaster in spite of it not being perfect (then again how many 15 year old movies can really stand up to current digital transfers?).

The Blu-Ray comes with the same features as the DVD release only the new documentary is in high definition and you get a few Blu-Ray centric features like BDLive and D-Box compatibility (that's a motion control chair that responds to queues from the movie). Extras are as follows:

Commentary with director Nick Castle and production designer Ron Cobb - It's informative and entertaining hearing the two banter between each other. You can tell they enjoyed making this movie.

Crossing the Frontier: Making The Last Starfighter - This was in the original DVD release. Lance Guest hosts this half hour documentary going behind the scenes on the technical and other aspects of the movie.

Heroes of the Screen (in HD) - Essentially interviews with cast and crew talking about how the movie was made and how they felt about the production.

DTS-HD 5.1 in English and subtitled in English (SDH), Spanish and French - Can't speak for the accuracy of the subtitles, but the English audio sounds great. Not a whole lot of surround sound stuff going on, but then again this is an older movie.

Theatrical and teaser trailer - Standard definition. Not much to say here.

Image gallery - Includes rare production photos, promotional stuff and content from an alternate ending.

This movie is definitely a time capsule for 80's science fiction and is very much a product of that time. If you like that sort of charm then by all means pick this one up. If you already have the original DVD you were definitely enjoy the updated visuals and sound as well as the new interviews. It's worth the double dip.
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on January 10, 2004
In 1984, Lorimar Film Entertainment and Universal Pictures joined forces to create a very engaging and entertaining sci-fi film entitled "The Last Starfighter". Directed by Nick Castle, the story begins in the dreary and dusty "Starlite Starbrite" trailer park where the teenager Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) lives with his mother Jane Rogan (Barbara Bosson) and his inquisitive little brother Louis Rogan (Chris Hebert). Alex has very little free time for himself as he has become the de facto trailer park maintenance man, repairing various problems in neighbors' trailers. He would like to go to college and leave the trailer park behind, but his mother's meager wages make that impossible. His girlfriend Maggie Gordon (Catherine Mary Stewart) also lives in the trailer park. When not with Maggie, Alex's favorite enjoys playing a videogame called Starfighter located next to the trailer park's office. Alex becomes very skilled at beating the videogame to the delight of trailer park residents. One night, a mysterious, fast-talking man named Centauri (Robert Preston, 1918-1987) pulls up in a fancy car. After asking about who beat the videogame, he invites Alex to join him in his car for a meeting. To Alex's dismay, Centauri drives them away from the trailer park and then into outer space, where he takes Alex to the planet Rylos so that he can become a real starfighter to fight the evil Xur (Norman Snow) and the Kodan armada.
With inspiration from the first three "Star Wars" films (which were released in 1977, 1980 & 1983), the highly successful 1982 videogame-based film "Tron" and the overall popularity of videogames in the 1980's, "The Last Starfighter" is a fun film to watch and was one of the earliest films to use computer-generated graphics to depict outer space scenes. As always, Robert Preston did a magnificent job of acting in what unfortunately was his last big-screen appearance. Lance Guest's portrayal of Alex was probably not as good as Mark Hamill's portrayal of Luke Skywalker in the 1977 "Star Wars", but it was good enough to keep the film's momentum going. Catherine Mary Stewart did do a good job with her portrayal of Maggie. Other memorable characters in the film include Alex's lizardy copilot Grig (Dan O'Herlihy), trailer park manager Otis (Vernon Washington, 1927-1988), trailer park resident Elvira (Peggy Pope), Maggie's grandmother (Meg Wyllie, 1917-2002, who played the Talosian Keeper in the original 1965 "Star Trek" TV series pilot "The Cage" that was later refashioned as the two-part episode "The Minagerie"), Lord Kril (Dan Mason) and Enduran (Kay E. Kuter, 1925-2003). Memorable scenes include Alex at the trailer park, Alex beating the videogame, Centauri's arrival and trip into space, Alex's arrival on Rylos, meeting the other starfighter pilots, the surprise attack, Alex talking with his beta unit, the Kodan spy, Alex's time with Grig, the battle scenes and the final scenes. Overall, I rate "The Last Starfighter" with 4 out of 5 stars.
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on September 25, 1999
Quite a good film, especially for kids, although older viewers will find it appealing. Yes it does jump on the Stars Wars bandwagon and there is a bit of dialogue in the eariler space scenes which is a blatant rip-off from Star Wars... but its a good enough film in its own right, pioneering some excellent Cray Super computer graphics, which were very impressive in its day, and still looks good now. This film is really done justice on DVD. The picture quality is good overall, but is a bit grainy throughout and the colours are a little pale. Its widescreen (2.35:1) and anamorphic, the best this film has ever looked for home use. The sound though is the real surprise, its Dolby Digital 5.1 and impressive. For a film of its age and considering it was originally in Dolby Stereo, the sound engineers have done an excellent job for this DVD presentation, the music is excellent, great clarity and quality. The dialogue sounds fine and is clear. The sound effects are good and quite well placed in this new sound mix. The rear speakers are used where necessary and the sound surrounds you at times quite well. Overall, good enough picture quality, excellent sound and well worth owning on DVD. The extras on DVD include a "making of documentary" with some interesting comments from ILM who did Star Wars.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon June 16, 2011
It looks like movie studios are trying various different permutations of their film releases. One way of looking at it is they are trying to provide more options for their customers. Another way of seeing it is they are double dipping. Trying to get you to buy something you already got by offering something never before offered. The new thing that seems to be offered lately is the full combo with a disk that has a digital copy of the movie for easier uploading into your portable devices. There are no other bonus features being offered here. Just the digital copy.

Now that we have that out of the way maybe you don't know what The Last Starfighter is. It is a space opera hinged on the fantasy that video game skills will save the day. This movie was made in the 80's and was designed to cater to the 13 yr old boy with Ataris/ Intelivisions/ColecoVisions/etc demographic. It has its share of action and comedy that, like most space operas in the 80's, has more than one similarity to Star Wars (but then again Star Wars was a homage to the classic space operas of the golden age of television). So it's not high caliber sci-fi, but it's not B-movie fodder either.

The story is pretty simple: Evil leader of evil aliens wants to attack good aliens, so in walks a single hero who is the last hope for freedom. That's about it. The movie doesn't deviate too far from this premise other than to further flesh out the fish-out-of-water scenario of an 80's Earthling thrust into space (as well as a little fun with an alien in 80's Earth) as well as the inner battle of said Earthling to stay and fight for a Star League he doesn't know or stay home and go to community college. A serviceable story, if not deep.

The acting does make the simple story enjoyable to watch. Lance Guest seems to have fun with the role, which works for the character. Biggest props go to esteemed Robert Preston's Centauri, who plays the role with the style of a magician and the charisma P.T. Barnum. Another esteemed actor, Dan O'Herlihy, does a surprisingly good performance. Especially when you consider he is wearing full prosthetics with less facial mobility than the costumes from the original Planet of the Apes. Yeah there is a bit of theatrical "drama", but that works with the whole space opera motif.

The Last Starfighter is a CGI hallmark as it's the first movie to blend computer animated elements with live action. The CGI is pretty barbaric by today's standards and even back then it was obvious which is live action and which is computer animation. In spite of that the spaceship designs were really cool and in CG they looked awesome. You can't beat the camera angles and fly-byes that computer animation affords. Plus back then this was pretty state of the art.

This release is identical to the 25th Anniversary remasters. It's an MPEG-4 codec on a BD-25 (25 gigabyte single layer Blu-ray Disc) in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. It looks like a lot of the original film grain was taken out in the remastering, and for some that could be annoying if you are really into the true theater look. Still the images are sharp and are the best available. The CGI really does stand out, and while I liked it that aspect also separated those scenes more from the live action shots as far as differences in detail, color and lighting. All in all it's a great transfer/remaster in spite of it not being perfect (then again how many 15 year old movies can really stand up to current digitally filmed movies?).

The Blu-Ray comes with a host of features and Heroes of the Screen is the only one high definition. You get a few Blu-Ray centric features like BDLive and D-Box compatibility (that's a motion control chair that responds to queues from the movie). Extras are as follows:

Commentary with director Nick Castle and production designer Ron Cobb - It's informative and entertaining hearing the two banter between each other. You can tell they enjoyed making this movie.

Crossing the Frontier: Making The Last Starfighter - This is also on the DVD. Lance Guest hosts this half hour documentary going behind the scenes on the technical and other aspects of the movie.

Heroes of the Screen (in HD) - Essentially interviews with cast and crew talking about how the movie was made and how they felt about the production.

DTS-HD 5.1 in English and subtitled in English (SDH), Spanish and French - Can't speak for the accuracy of the subtitles, but the English audio sounds great. Not a whole lot of surround sound stuff going on, but then again this is an older movie.

Theatrical and teaser trailer - Standard definition. Not much to say here.

Image gallery - Includes rare production photos, promotional stuff and content from an alternate ending.

This movie is definitely a time capsule for 80's science fiction and is very much a product of that time. If you like that sort of charm then by all means pick this one up. It's only worth the double dip (or triple if you traded up from the first DVD or HD-DVD to the 25th Anniversary) if you really want that digital copy. This is best for new buyers or DVD only owners who want to upgrade to the most formats available.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon November 24, 2004
THE LAST STARFIGHTER is definitely a product of the 1980s. The hair, some of the clothes, the video arcades, the cars, etc. Despite the time period in which it is set, it does a wonderful job of tying in to everything that's great about youth and the optimism of coming of age.

The movie tells the story of Alex Rogan (Lance Guest). Alex is a young kid living in a trailer park who dreams of bigger things and unlike many of those at home, is trying to pursue those dreams. He wants to go to college away from home and begin a new life. Only thing is, he gets rejected from the school he applies to. So Alex starts playing the arade. The trailer park has one arcade game outside of its little country store and Alex is a pro at it. The game is called Starfighter and one night Alex ends up beating the game and achieving an all time new high score. The next day a man named Centauri who claims to be a representative of the company who invented the game shows up to meet with Alex. Turns out, Centauri is an alien who invented the game to find new recruits to join the Star League, an elite group of starfighters who keep the peace throughout the galaxy. Centauri takes Alex to Star League command and he is given a whirlwind tour. The situation is overwhelming for the lad and he requests to be sent home. He does, but by then things have gotten way out of hand and before Alex can say Beta, he finds out that he's the last starfighter.

The acting in the movie is good, especially for a cheesy 1980s sci-fi, boy in space picture. Robert Preston made his final motion picture performance in THE LAST STARFIGHTER and watching some of the behind the scenes stuff on the DVD it's clear that the man was much more talented than many people ever gave him credit for. The special effects in THE LAST STARFIGHTER might seem lame by todays standards but they really aren't all that bad. TRON is recognized as being the first movie to use CGI, but it was THE LAST STARFIGHTER that first used CGI for all its special effects. The effects were produed by the now-ancient Cray Super Computer.

The movie actually is a joy to watch. It's got some snappy dialogue, some interesting concepts (the whole Beta thing), and the first feature length CGI effects in a major motion picture. The film isn't going to change anyone's life, but it is a great movie to sit back and watch at home with a cool Dr Pepper and a bucket full of buttered popcorn. A delightful piece of mind candy that speaks to child in all of us.

The DVD special features include the director commentary, a behind the scenes featurette, production photos and info, and theatrical trailers.
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The Last Starfighter is essentially a space opera hinged on the fantasy that video game skills will save the day. Obviously this movie was made for the young teen crowd (essentially 13 yr old boys with Ataris/ Intelivisions/ColecoVisions/etc) and has its share of action and comedy that, like most space operas in the 80's, has more than one similarity to Star Wars (but then again Star Wars was a homage to the classic space operas of the golden age of television). So it's not high caliber sci-fi, but it's not B-movie fodder either.

The story is pretty simple: Evil leader of evil aliens wants to attack good aliens, so in walks a single hero who is the last hope for freedom. That's about it. The movie doesn't deviate too far from this premise other than to further flesh out the fish-out-of-water scenario of an 80's Earthling thrust into space (as well as a little fun with an alien in 80's Earth) as well as the inner battle of said Earthling to stay and fight for a Star League he doesn't know or stay home and go to community college. A serviceable story, if not deep.

The acting does make the simple story enjoyable to watch. Lance Guest seems to have fun with the role, which works for the character. Biggest props go to esteemed Robert Preston's Centauri, who plays the role with the style of a magician and the charisma P.T. Barnum. Another esteemed actor, Dan O'Herlihy, does a surprisingly good performance. Especially when you consider he is wearing full prosthetics with less facial mobility than the costumes from the original Planet of the Apes. Yeah there is a bit of theatrical "drama", but that works with the whole space opera motif.

Special effects are a benchmark here because this is the first film to incorporate live action elements to computer generated animation. The CGA is pretty barbaric by today's standards and even back then was noticeable. The biggest glare in this are the scenes flying in around asteroids, which look pretty "plastic" CG-wise. However the CG ships looked awesome and you can't beat the camera angles and fly-byes that computer animation affords. Plus back then this was pretty state of the art.

Not a lot of details have come out regarding The Last Starfighter 25th Anniversary DVD, but this is what I found out so far:

- Digitally remastered video (finally!) so it should be MUCH cleaner than the first DVD release. Anamorphic wide screen.

- It will have the same commentary with director Nick Castle and production designer Ron Cobb as in the first DVD release.

- It will have the documentary Crossing the Frontier: Making The Last Starfighter. This also was on the previous DVD release and as far as 30 minute featurettes are concerned it covers all the bases well.

- A new featurette, Heroes of the Screen, will be included. Will post more information when I found out.

- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English and subtitled in English (SDH), Spanish and French.

- Theatrical and teaser trailer.

- Image gallery is likely, but not confirmed to be the same as the original release. This includes images from an alternate ending.

Now they are releasing a Blu-Ray version too and as far as features are concerned will be identical to the DVD release. The differences are of course 1080p high def picture, 5.1 DTS-HD audio and BD-Live.

This movie is definitely a time capsule for 80's science fiction. If you like that sort of charm then by all means pick this one up. If you already have the original DVD you may still want to grab this for the remastered picture surround sound more than just to have the one new featurette.
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VINE VOICEon November 2, 2004
I've seen some comic strips in the past where 6 figure jobs were advertised for people who had skills in playing video games. Can you break Space Invaders? Great! You get a $200,000 bonus! Here is a movie with the following premise: what if there really WERE pragmatic uses of video games?

As it turns out, an arcade game called STARFIGHTER was actually put on Earth as a simulator of a real spacecraft (gunstar). It was placed here to test the proper skills necessary to fight a nasty armada of fighters.

The big score on the game is achieved by a high school kid who lives in a trailer park out in the middle of nowhere. So, the aliens come to pick him up and "recruit" him for the mission they have designed for him. That is to say, to fly a REAL gunstar against a REAL armada in order to save the universe. Great fun!

I remember in the mid 1980s the special effects in this film looked awesome. Watching it 20 years later, most of the FX look almost pitiful. However, it is still a fun movie even though most kids will find the effects almost insultingly bad.

One of the biggest reasons to pick up this DVD is the lovely Catherine Mary Stewart. I've always had a crush on her, and this was one of her earliest flicks. It's nostalgic to see her high school aged as she's about the same age as myself.

So, if you want a happy-go-lucky sci fi film, this one might be worth checking out. If you're really big on FX, this one may disappoint. However, it's such a feel-good movie that it's bound to please most people.
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on September 20, 2007
Great movie and great HD DVD disc.The Last Star Fighter is one of my favorite movies from the 80's.It is one of my must watched DVD's that I have.When it was anounced that The Last Star Fighter was coming out on HD DVD I wasnt so sure if I wanted to double dip as the picture quality on the DVD was good,but not great.Well I decided to get it anyways and right from the start of the movie I knew I made a wise choise.The Last Star Fighter looks great in High Def and it blows the standard def DVD version away.The sound is not bad either and Universal has included a Dolby True track.The special features are the same as the previous DVD version-Making off,commentary with Nick Castle.Universal has done a great job with this HD DVD and I'm sure I'll be playing my copy alot.
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on June 13, 2016
THE LAST STARFIGHTER [1984 / 2016] [25th Anniversary Edition] [Blu-ray] The Adventure of a Lifetime is about to Begin!

"Greetings, Starfighter! You have been recruited by The Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and The Kodan Armada." So begins an adventure of galactic proportions in ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER.’ After Earthling Alex Logan [Lance Guest] conquers the Starfighter video game, he is recruited by alien Centauri [Robert Preston] to be part of an elite legion of fighters. Leaving behind his trailer park home for the outer regions of space, Alex becomes the last hope for the beleaguered Star League and hundreds of worlds – including Earth. Loaded with out-of-this-world bonus features and digitally remastered for optimum picture quality, ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER’ 25th Anniversary Edition is the ultimate video game fantasies come true!

FILM FACT: ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER’ is one of the earliest films to make extensive use of computer graphics for its special effects. In place of physical models, 3D rendered models were used to depict space ships and many other objects. The Gunstar and other spaceships were the design of artist Ron Cobb, who also worked on ‘Alien,’ ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Conan the Barbarian.’ The computer graphics for the film were rendered by Digital Productions on a Cray X-MP supercomputer. The company created 27 minutes of effects for the film. This was considered an enormous amount of computer generated imagery at the time

Cast: Lance Guest, Robert Preston, Dan O'Herlihy, Catherine Mary Stewart, Norman Snow, Kay E. Kuter, Barbara Bosson, Chris Hebert, Dan Mason, Vernon Washington, John O'Leary, George McDaniel, Charlene Nelson, John Maio, Al Berry, Scott Dunlop, Peter Nelson, Peggy Pope, Meg Wyllie, Ellen Blake, Britt Leach, Bunny Summers, Owen Bush, Marc Alaimo, Wil Wheaton, Cameron Dye and Geoffrey Blake

Director: Nick Castle

Producers: Edward O. Denault and Gary Adelson

Screenplay: Jonathan R. Betuel

Composer: Craig Safan

Cinematography: King Baggot

Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 [Panavision]

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French

Running Time: 100 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: With the 1984 film ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER,’ director Nick Castle and writer Jonathan R. Betuel have done something so simple it's almost awe-inspiring: they've taken a very human story and accented it with sci-fi special effects, rather than the other way around? Alex Rogan [Lance Guest] is a teenager with a talent for a lone video game that was somehow dropped off at his mother’s rundown, remote trailer park when it should have been delivered to Las Vegas. And when he breaks the record for destroying alien invaders, Lance Guest not only excites the whole trailer park, he attracts a visit from Centauri [Robert Preston].

There is never a moment that all of this doesn’t seem quite possible, accompanied by plenty of building questions about what’s going to happen next. Not to be lost in the plethora of great 1984 films is this ground-breaking sci-fi film that’s every bit as enjoyable as it was when I first viewed in in 1984. ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER,’ came out during a glorious age: when video games and genre films were enjoying a huge popularity and there really was nothing geeky about enjoying any of it. Later on, genre pictures were considered fringe and people who enjoyed them were geeks, but at this point it seemed that everyone was in on it.

This film doesn’t get as much recognition as the 1982 film ‘TRON’ for advancing the use of computer generated imagery, but frankly neither of them are acknowledged anywhere near as much as they should be. ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER’ may have been the first, certainly the best early use of three dimensional photo real computer graphics used in a photographed feature film. It really is amazing how advanced this was for 1984. I know the effects look a bit primitive, but compared to what was out there at the time it was ground-breaking.

I think the film looks really great for its age, and while there are a great many digital elements in certain scenes, the space battles in particular, there is always an effort to blend them with the photo elements. It may not always have been successful, but the film never has those completely digital scenes that could have ended up looking like a computer generated animation film. But the sci-fi film is really a lot more than about the effects alone, but the effects really are there to enhance the story, not tell it, which is exactly how it is supposed to go. It is a wonderful picture with a good message and a ton of heart.

The concept behind the story is very simple and effective: the arcade game that the protagonist has been mastering is in actuality a recruitment test that has been duplicated throughout the world or even the universe? But when the young man beats the game, the alien inventor knows he has found his hero, especially with setting the story is a trailer park, which is a nice location to really show how trapped Alex Rogan [Lance Guest] is. The sci-fi film is basically set y) in space and of course it instantly reminds you of ‘Star Wars,’ is an easy comparison. The actors are really quite effective, anchored by Robert Preston in his final film role. Robert Preston is absolutely perfect as Centauri, the flim-flam man who invents the game and recruits Alex Rogan to help defend the Frontier from the Ko-Dan Armada. Most genre sci-fi pictures cast an old farmhand to lend gravitas; in this case Robert Preston is adding mischief and is just perfect.

‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER’ was a great film to come out of the summer of 1984, and as a result it was not a box office success, so shame on that audience in 1984. But it is a film that deserved much better response and truly should be viewed not just as a time capsule or a stepping stone to CGI’s conquest of the film industry. It is a fun, well written and executed film with a good heart and that’s not a bad thing, also children will love this despite the ancient computer-generated effects at the climatic final battle scenes. So if ever I find an arcade game the same, maybe I might get recruited in some far off galaxy in the universe.

Blu-ray Video Quality – Universal Pictures presents us this Blu-ray with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and a stunning 1080p image transfer that varies between the earthbound trailer park scenes which to my eye showed a natural range of colours and flesh tones, as well as a pleasing, film like quality, and the CGI space shots, which come in crystal clear and sharp. If anything, the HD transfer really brings out the contrast between the live action and the CGI to the point that the CGI shots look even less photo-realistic, and even more like animation. This isn’t a problem with the transfer and it’s a problem with the film that has existed since it was first shown in cinemas. So the transfer is a good one. All in all, the film is watchable, but looks decidedly retro, because all the special effects are digital, they take on a crisper appearance than the rest of the film, and while I have to cut the primitive CGI some slack, the enhanced definition still emphasises its clunky aspects.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – Universal Pictures presents us this Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix, which presents the dialogue clearly in the front channels and distributes music and atmospheric effects through the surrounds. When Craig Safan’s Williams-esque score really kicks in with the brass, the subwoofer comes to life and this happens frequently during the film. There is also some great directionality in this mix, including things like a young boy firing a dart gun into a metal siding at screen right and getting a satisfying “tang!” out of the right channel. Explosions lack the heavy weight strong bass frequencies would normally provide, and though the majestic and rousing music score nicely fills the room, it doesn't possess the full-bodied shadings finer audio tracks provide. Dialogue is generally clear and comprehendible, and range levels handle the highs and lows well. Unfortunately, here was a chance to catapult a 25-year-old film into the next century, but the middling audio often keeps ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER’ mired in a bygone era.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Special Feature: Heroes of the Screen [2015] [1080p] [1.78:1] [24:18] This all-new special feature is where we get to hear certain fans of ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER’ 1984 film talk about why they love this film so much, even though it was made at the start of the cutting edge of modern CGI computer technology effects. As we progress this this special we hear all about the technical problems they encountered in producing the Starship and the other space vehicles, even with using the most powerful computer at the time, which they point out that today all the CGI effects can now be done on a laptop computer. We also get to see lots of clips of behind-the-scene filming, as well as clips from the film. But what I really liked about this special feature is again how everyone loves the film still today and especially those involved with the film loved making it and how it still holds up with modern audiences, and I second that, as it is totally brilliant, especially as you can see they put a lot of effort and enthusiasm went into making it real stand out from other sci-fi films, because not only is there a lot of action happening throughout the film, but also a lot of emotional heart is thrown in for good measure. This was a really nice special feature and again it was great hearing everyone’s love and enthusiasm for ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER,’ and what was nice is that everyone spoke very highly of Robert Preston and telling us what a wonderful person he was and also working with him. Contributors to this special feature were Jonathan R. Betuel [Screenwriter]; Gary Adelson [Producer]; Nick Castle [Director]; Lance Guest [Alex Rogan / Beta Alex]; Catherine Mary Stewart [Maggie Gordon]; Craig Safan [Composer]; Jeffrey A. Okun [Visual Effects] and Paul Power [Storyboard Artist].

Special Feature: CROSSING THE FRONTIER: Making ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER’ [1984] [408i] [1.33:1] [32:00] This is a Universal Studios Home Video presentation. Here you get to view a Four part documentary, which consists of: Introduction; Filming the Movie; A New Era of Visual Effects and Reflections. This is a more in-depth type production of an in-depth look at the process of making the film ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER,’ and hosted by Lance Guest [Alex Rogan], and delves into the film's inspiration, includes some rare on-set footage featuring Robert Preston [Centauri], and provides a more lengthy discussion of the CGI effects and their design, execution, budget limitations, and the long hours required to produce and perfect them. Technicians recall the excitement of discovery as they blazed the CGI trail, and how they fit the newly minted effects into the picture. They also talk about how the story started with screenwriter Jonathan R. Buetel, who was working at an ad agency at the time, wandering into a video arcade in the early 1980s and watching a kid play an arcade game, where he envisioned an arcade game that was also like the Arthurian “Sword in the Stone” type scenario and a game that would beam out a signal, announcing the chosen one, when a high score was reached. Originally, ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER’ was going to be set in the suburbs, not in a trailer park, but they felt that was too similar to films like ‘E.T.,’ ‘Close Encounters’ and ‘Poltergeist.’ In fact, director Nick Castle spent a lot of time comparing his film to the works of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, as Nick Castle knew that comparisons to ‘Star War’ were inevitable and then doing his best to make his sci-fi different, which wasn't always easy. There also great praise on the film music score by Craig Safan, who has produced something really special, that islike a combination of films like ‘Indiana Jones,’ ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’ all rolled into one. So all in all, this is great insightful documentary. Plus we get to hear views from the following contributors, that include Gary Adelson [Producer]; James D. Bissell [Art Director]; John H. Whitney, Jr. [Associate Producer]; Gary Demos [Technical Executive]; Ron Cobb [Production Designer]; Jeffrey A. Okun [Visual Effects Coordinator]’ Kevin Rafferty [Senior Drafter/Encoder]; Rick Sternbach [Illustrator]; Latty Yaeger [Software Developer]; Craig Safan [Composer]; Dennis Muren [Visual Effects Supervisor, ILM] and John Knoll [Visual Effects Supervisor, ILM]

Special Feature: Image Gallery [1984] [408i] [1.33:1] here you get to view Nine separate image galleries and they are as follows: The Cast [3:33]; “Starfighter” Arcade Game [5:40]; Starfighter Command [28:52]; The Starcar [11:03]; The Gunstar [10:12]; Ko-Dan Armada [12:00]; Alternate Ending [5:24]; Anatomy of a Starfighter Computer-Generated Image [4:58]; Promotion and Merchandise [3:55]. When viewing each separate Image Gallery, they run like a slide show and the whole viewing experience is in total silent.

Teaser Trailer [1984] [480i] [1.37:1] [1:30] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer of ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER.’ Despite the low quality image, it is still a great presentation.

Theatrical Trailer [1984] [480i] [1.37:1] [2:45] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer of ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER.’ Once again despite the poor quality image, it is still a great presentation.

Audio Commentary: Commentary with Director Nick Castle and Production Designer Ron Cobb: Here we are introduced to director Nick Castle on the left speaker and production designer Ron Cobb on the right speaker; settle in for a relaxed and very interesting commentary that will engage both the film's faithful followers and those just now discovering ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER.’ Nick Castle informs us at the start of the film that he wanted the Planet Rylas to appear at the start of the film and not the Universal logo and they also talk about the “Time Dilation Tunnel” which of course you view later on the film. They also inform us that they were both viewing the film in the right aspect ratio, but not 15 years earlier. They chose the trailer park, as it gave Alex Logan and extended family and they think the trailer park no long exists. Nick Castle admits he never dreamed he'd ever do a special effects sci-fi film, as he envisioned himself to be the Vincente Minnelli of the 1980s and 1990s. As such, he compares the structure of ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER’ to a "musical without music," and says he tried to avoid the Steven Spielberg and George Lucas touches as much as possible, but didn't always succeed. Nick Castle talks about Robert Preston first turning up in the space car and says the veteran actor in this film as the, “Music man in Outer Space,” and Ron Cobb goes into great detail how the space car was built, but surprised to hear it had a Volkswagen engine, and did not drive very fast, but of course in the film it is made to look with special effects like it is driving at 303 mph. Nick Castle also feared the sci-fi film would end up looking like ‘Gumby in Outer Space.’ Nick Castle likens Lance Guest to a teenage Jimmy Stewart or Henry Fonda, and divulges that the original names of the two lead characters were Skip and Penny. Ron Cobb discusses the film's primitive digital effects, and the challenges involved in creating procedures that are easy to perform today via a laptop computer. As we get near to the end of the film especially when the rocket lands in the parking area of the trailer park and Alex walks towards his girlfriend Maggie to reveal himself, here Nick Castle comments by saying, “and this I think what makes the film’s storyline charming, where the boy has made good and comes home to tell his folks, his friends and the girlfriend that he has done good, especially in the big universe.” As the credits roll up the screen, Nick Castles mentions that he felt originally the film would never have gotten made or get finished because of the first time of computer technology, as it was a complete leap into the dark and never had been used before for this type of sci-fi film, but with the help of Ron Cobb, we knew we could get the job done, but Nick Castle also wondered if they could also get the film out on time and the get the film inside the budget,, but most of all, could they get the job done. So ends another fascinating audio commentary, where Nick Castle and Ron Cobb were very engaging, a joy to listen to, straightforward but never dull, this again was a very engaging audio commentary that matches the film's laid-back tone, that you get a very warm glow of enjoyment and was a joy to listen to and should not be missed.

BONUS: BD-LIVE: Basic Download Centre: Here you get a link to Universal Pictures online portal, but there's no exclusive content relating to ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER.' But you do get to explore more bonus features where you can access even more through your Internet-connected player to watch exclusive content, the latest trailer and even more! Powered by BD-LIVE!

BONUS: USER GUIDE: BD-LIVE CENTER: Here you get video information presentation about the different extra facilities you get on your Blu-ray disc, which includes: MY SCENE; EXTRAS; U-CONTROL; BD-LIVE and USER GUIDE.

Finally, what's truly amazing about ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER’ is that it's not just a test vehicle for a radical new breed of visual effects that would transform Hollywood forever. The filmmakers smartly told a story well worth telling and worked their magic into the story, rather than simply tacking a story with add on special effects as a mere afterthought. ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER’ is a great sci-fi film, and would have been equally great had it used models and miniatures or had it been made in the past several years where near-seamless effects now find their way into most any Science Fiction picture. Exciting, emotional, well-written, wonderfully acted, and boasting one of the finest scores of the past several decades, ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER’ is simply one of the best of its kind that comes personally with a recommendation solely on the strength and historical importance of the sci-fi film, so fans should make their upgrade decision accordingly. Still, the 1080p transfer beats standard DVD by a mile, and should please the legions of diehard fans for which this 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray disc is tailor-made for them and also for people who have never seen this sci-fi film before. This is a fantasy and I really love. ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER’ will always cheer me up anytime I feel down and I hope it does the same for you. This sci-fi film was way ahead of its time. The computer graphics alone show the statement to be true. But on top of being an effects sci-fi film, ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER’ delivers a really good plot and fantastic actors. This may be something Hollywood should look into, for most modern films will give up on plot and characters when the film has special effects over the top budget. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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