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The Last Starfighter Blu-ray Review

“The Last Starfighter” is an 80’s sci-fi classic.

Directed by Nick Castle (yes the actor who portrayed Michael Myers in the original “Halloween”), 1984’s “The Last Starfighter” revolves around a young man named Alex who is stuck in a tight-knit trailer park. Even though the love of his life (Maggie) is there, he dreams of escaping the park and seeing what’s out there. While in the park, he frequently plays an arcade game (Starfighter). He becomes so good at it, in fact, that he is approached by an alien named Centauri. It turns out the world within the game is real and that Alex is desired as a recruit to help the League defeat Xor and the Ko-Dan Armada in outer space. Reluctant and freaked out at first, Alex eventually embraces his new destiny. The other key storyline here involves a robotic Beta who essentially becomes Alex while he is off in space. Alas, Beta is being targeted by assassins as Xor thinks Alex is on Earth.

The Jonathan Betuel scripted “The Last Starfighter” can be seen as a “Star Wars” wannabe to be sure, but this 80’s gem does stand on its own. In many ways, it was ahead of its time with its game changing CGI and the fact that it treats video game culture with respect before it essentially took over the entertainment world as it has now. More than though, it’s just a delightful space adventure that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Sure, the stakes are high but it never loses its sense of fun. In an era where everything is too serious or dark, it’s refreshing to see that kind of feel good entertainment again (or relive it if you will). Hopefully, if we ever see a sequel or reboot (which is long overdue), it won’t forget that tone.

The cast here is aces. Lance Guest is perfectly cast as the young, skilled, kind hearted hero Alex. Robert Preston steals the movie as the fast talking schemster Centauri. Catherine Mary Stewart (who should have been a bigger star) shines as Maggie. Chris Hebert is hilarious as Alex’s kid brother Louis. Last but not least there’s Dan O’Herlihy who is completely charismatic as the alien navigator Grig.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.39:1 1080p. How does it look? The film has been restored from a 4K scan and the results are the best looking version of the film on home video thus far. Yes, there are grain, lines and dirt specs here and there, but the level of clarity is impressive. 

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA, 2.0 Stereo, and a 4.1 mix. How do they sound? You can’t go wrong with any of these tracks, but the 5.1 track is the most immersive.


Extras:
* A mini-poster
* A booklet featuring credits, photos, an essay by Amanda Reyes, and an article by Greg Bear.
* Image galleries for the cast, Starfighter arcade game, Starfighter command, the starcar, the Gunstar, Ko-Dan Armada, the alternate ending, anatomy of a starfighter CGI and promotion and merchandise.
* Theatrical and teaser trailer for “The Last Starfighter.”
* 3 commentary tracks. one by Lance and Jackson Guest, one by Nick Castle and Ron Cobb and the other by Mike White.
* New interviews with actress Catherine Mary Stewart, composer Craig Safan, writer Jonathan Betuel, special effects supervisor Kevin Pike, author Greg Bear (who talks about the Digital Productions CGI), and arcade game collector Estil Vance (who talks about “Starfighter”).
* “Heroes Of The Screen”- An archival featurette about the people who made this movie come to life.
* “Crossing The Frontier: Making The Last Starfighter”- An archival 32 minute documentary hosted by Lance Guest.

November 10, 2020 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , ,

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