Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Last Starfighter |
Actors: Lance Guest, Robert Preston, Dan O'Herlihy, Catherine Mary Stewart, Barbara Bosson
Director: Nick Castle
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Universal The Last Starfighter (HD-DVD) — Millions of light-years ago, a great frontier was constructed in the universe to protect the Syar League of Planets from its enemy, the evil Ko-dan. But now a defectorhas given the ... more »
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"You have been recruited by the Star League!"
M. Hart | USA | 01/10/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Transfer of classic movie with average PQ and AQ on Blu-ray
Darren Harrison | Washington D.C. | 08/06/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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 rhe 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 touring 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 oddjobs 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 :)"
Blu-Ray even looks better than previous HD-DVD release
SRFireside | Houston, TX United States | 08/18/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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."
A good film and presented better than ever on DVD.
SRFireside | 09/25/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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."