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The Last Starfighter
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Product Description

Contains: feature commentary with director nick castle crossing the frontier: the making of the last starfighter documentary with a look at the groundbreaking computer generated visual effects plus behind-the-scenes footage and production photographs. Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 08/12/2003 Starring: Lance Guest Kay E. Kuter Run time: 101 minutes Rating: Pg Director: Nick Castle

At the time of its original release in 1984, this modestly budgeted sci-fi excursion had the distinction of offering some of the first examples of purely computer-generated animation, an apt (and frugal) special-effects solution for a movie with a plot line rooted in computer games. Both the computer-generated visuals and the arcade game now look quaint, but writer-director Nick Castle's affable, good- hearted adventure holds up nicely, thanks to a clever premise--the title game is actually a test for prospective starship pilots, planted by embattled aliens under siege from an evil invader. When a restless teenager (Lance Guest) racks up an impressive score, he finds himself spirited away to the besieged planet and thrust into the midst of an intergalactic war. Apart from Castle's skill at contrasting his extraterrestrial settings with the mundane details of his hero's earthbound life, the movie gets lift-off from two thorough pros, Robert Preston, who makes the alien recruiter, Centauri, a planet-hopping cousin to The Music Man's Harold Hill, and Dan O'Herlihy, the alien copilot, who suggests a scaly Walter Brennan. Older fans will snicker, but kids and young teens will find this rite of passage absorbing, while their folks will savor Preston's brash charm. --Sam Sutherland

Customer Reviews:

  • Great movie when young
    I'm glad to have grown up with this great fantasy movie. I loved the story that you could actually be called up into the reality that the game is just hinting at. This even has a liking to Ender's Game in that regard. A fun video....more info
  • GREAT!
    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....more info
  • "I'm not here for cigarettes or bubblegum, my boy."
    Ahhh, the early to mid 80's...seemed like there was a video game arcade on nearly every corner, filled with kids with sweaty palms, pockets full of quarters, and calluses on their hands from excessive joystick manipulation. Sure we had home systems back then, but if you really wanted the full-on audiovisual experience, you had to go with coin-op machines as the home consoles were good, but they couldn't match what was in the arcades. Why am I talking about video arcade games? Well, if you've seen The Last Starfighter (1984), you'll know the crux of the story revolves around the main characters affinity for one such game. Written by Jonathan R. Betuel (My Science Project) and directed by Nick Castle (Delivering Milo), the film stars Lance Guest (Halloween II, Jaws: The Revenge), Catherine Mary Stewart (Night of the Comet, Mischief), and Dan O'Herlihy, who recently passed in February 2005, but many probably know as `The Old Man' from the Robocop movies but whose actually had a lengthy film career dating all the way back until the late 40's. Also appearing is Barbara `Fay Furillo' Bosson (Hill Street Blues), Norman Snow (Manhunter), Chris Hebert (Invaders from Mars - the 1986 version), and Robert Preston (The Sundowners, The Music Man).

    As the film begins we meet Alex Rogan (Guest), a somewhat typical soon to be out of high school kid with lots of ambition for traveling and seeing far away places, but not a lot of hope of leaving the `flea-speck trailer park in the middle of tumbleweeds and tarantulas' Alex, his mother (Bosson), his brother Louis (Herbert), and his girlfriend Maggie (Stewart) call home....that is until Alex breaks the record on a video arcade game which is actually a recruiting tool used by an alien called Centauri (Preston). Turns out there is a war going on across the universe, one between the peaceful planet of Rylos and aggressors called the Ko-dan. At first Alex balks at the `opportunity', but eventually accepts the offer to pilot a `Gunstar' (that's what they call the high tech alien ships) with the aide of his reptilian navigator Grig (O'Herlihy). Turns out, due to a initial attack by the Ko-dan armada, all the other pilots have been killed, and now Alex is the last of the starfighters, hence the title of the film. Will Alex be able to stop the advancing Ko-dans, or will all beings that yearn to be free suffer under the yoke of Ko-dan tyranny? I think, at least for Alex, this possibly falls under the category of `be careful what you wish for, as you just may get it'...

    Okay, the first thing I want to know is how in the world did they ever get Dan O'Herlihy, who was pushing 65 at the time, to don all that `alien' prosthetic material to create reptilian character of Grig? That old man must have been sweating bullets the entire time...well, it should be know that this was the first film to exclusively use computer generated special effects with the exception of the make-up and a few other minor elements. Being the very early days of CGI, this gives the spaceships and such a sort of unreal feel, but this was state of the art at the time, so I think one can afford a little leeway in judgment. While the CGI visuals may seem a little phony, the real glue that holds this entertaining film together is the combination of a decent story, better than average acting, and slick direction. I thought most all the actors did very well and seemed cast about as well as anyone could, especially Robert Preston as the slick, schmoozing, scheming Centauri. His character is very much like that of his Harold Hill character from the film The Music Man (1962). I also thought the direction very strong as Castle keeps things moving along relatively well and played of the serious nature of the story well with a good dose of humor, a lot of it supplied by Guest himself playing the dual role of not only Alex, but also the beta unit, or `simuloid' left on Earth to cover for Alex's absence. As far as the non-CGI effects, the aliens looked really cool, featuring more animation within the prosthetics that I would have thought. I would have liked to seen a more extensive battle sequence at the end (was it me, or did the makers of the film introduce the `Death Blossom' element a little too soon in the story?), but I figure the CGI work was probably pretty expensive and ate up a lot of the modest budget of the film. Also, I think the soundtrack is worth mentioning as it felt really appropriate, if not familiar (sort of a mix between Superman and Star Wars). All in all, everything adds up to a humdinger of an sci-fi adventure/fantasy film worth watching more than once.

    The picture, presented on this DVD in widescreen anamorphic (2.35:1), looks pretty good, but I did notice some minor flaws and the clarity wasn't as crystal clear as I would have thought. The audio fares much better in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. As far as extras, there is a documentary titled Crossing the Frontier: The Making of the Last Starfighter (32 minutes), cast and crew bios, a commentary track featuring the director Nick Castle and production designer Ron Cobb, production photos and notes, am insert booklet, and a teaser and theatrical trailer.


    By the way, I learned Wil Wheaton, of Star Trek: The Next Generation, was in the film playing a character cast a Louis' friend (Alex's little brother), but those scenes involving his character were removed, probably in a effort to reduce the running time and maintain a more effecting pacing throughout...even though he doesn't appear in the final cut, his name is still listed in the would have been cool to see those scenes in a deleted scenes feature, but perhaps they weren't available.
    ...more info
  • The Last Starfighter on HD-DVD
    This is a great quality version of the awesome film I remember watching in the 80's. Ask yourself what would happen if you beat an arcade game and all of a sudden you are wisked away to defeat a real threat that the video game trained you for? The Last Starfighter one of the Icons and the Greatest movies to come out of the 80's. This movie is way ahead of it's time and the HD-DVD gives high resolution to the dawning age of computer graphics in movies. ...more info
  • Starlight Starbright - Interstellar
    The Music Man and his video game - but it's more, just a test ! Pre Star Trek spinoffs are stale this is the beginning, straight " country boy does good" plot extended to the stars. Yeah - I've done time in "Trailer Parks " ( Caravan Parks in Aussie ) and I wanted out and up too ! I lost my video game edge when I got specs, but watching this flick is 'living a dream' - escapism. Just enough woman trouble to fill in the touchy feely side of the universe too ! I must admit they stole the mask for the Friendly alien Grigg - and reused it as the Grinch ! OK for fun, escapism, and lots of wishful dreaming - watch it !...more info
  • Great movie!
    My older children love this movie! The younger ones have had difficulty with the "aliens". This is one of my favorites!...more info
  • Worlds not Suited to Be Our Equals
    The Star League of Planets defends the 150 planets of the Star League with the Great Frontier built by the advanced technology of the Planet Rylos. War is not their passion. Earth is not mature enough yet to be approached and granted permission to join the Star League. But nonetheless, the Rylons will also defend Earth until it matures. Fighting wars is not what the Rylons are about; they recruit Starfighters who have "the gift", "the gift" amongst the billions of inhabitants from the different planets in the Star League. Now, the Rylons key spy has been captured and caught, and the secret of the Great Frontier lays in the hands of the evil Ko-dan who are the Rylons' enemy, and who are also being helped by the evil son (Zur) of the Emperor of Rylos. One group of about ten Starfighters against the whole Armada? Yes, that is "the gift", the chance of becoming a Starfighter and held in high esteem by all the Planets and billions of inhabitants of the Star League.
    Those who have "the gift" are the only warriors in the Star League.

    I thoroughly enjoy this movie for its charm, and I now enjoy the DVD, originally having the movie on Beta, when it first came out on tape. The tape is worn, but the movie is a classic!

    Recruiting from a non-member planet like Earth is forbidden, and highly unususal. But this Earthling passed the test, ah the test, and has "the gift". "And afterall Earth is in danger too" quips Centauri (Robert Preston). This is the premis of the movie, taken a college-bound human, living a not so normal I'm the fix-it man of the trailer park under the alien Centauri's wings, so to speak. But Alex (Lance Guest) does not want to go to the community college, and wants to go away to college if his loan is approved.
    The loan however is not approved, but his mother (Barbara Bossen) states that he can still go to community college with his friends, even if that won't amount to much. But Alex wanted to have big plans to pursue his love (Catherine Mary Stewart) who he grew up with in the broken down trailer park. Alex wanted a new life, but a Starfighter? His mother always thought that Alex would go away someday, but to another Planet?

    I still enjoy watching this movie, from the first scene to the last. An alien abduction, out in a trailer park in the middle of nowhere, that turns out good. Even if people watch this movie over and over again, as I have, usually one will never tire of this movie, even knowing what scenes are coming next in the movie. A fun movie, encompassing total unreal expectations, with humans from Planet Earth being thrust far into the future of what is considered science fiction as far as humans in a trailer park are concerned, made real!
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  • Nostalgia hits
    The Last Starfighter came in the mail. Still holds up after all these years. Some of the special effects look like they were done in crayon when compared to todays stuff.

    I still like the turtle guy the best. Good price for a good rainy day movie,...more info
  • A modern fairy tale.
    A fairy tale for the latter half of the 20th century, I bought this as I remembered how charming it was as a science fantasy fable and for its (at the time) leading edge use of CGI for the starship effects. Although by today's standards everything looks very "shiny" it stands up remarkably well and for the most part was as entertaining and fun as I remembered....more info
  • times gone by
    I have no intention of doing away with my dvd collection in favor of buying all those titles again with HD DVD or BluRay discs, but a few dvd's in the collection are worth replacing, and this is one of them. With so much in this movie that is completely cheesy (the scene where the robot clone becomes Alex, covered in some kind of cosmic snot no less, as a case in point), there is still an 80's magic that tugs at my heart and makes me want to share it with the 4 kids I have now. It's a simple story, told before in many different ways in a bevy of genres, with special effects that could have been done on a Mac (it seems like to me)--but I think it is that simplicity in an old fashioned hero's story that makes it attractive as a movie to share with my tweens (if only they can get over themselves and just accept the movie for what it was and is--a reflection of times gone by). I hope they like it as much as I did, even though the bass from the subs in the pickup of Alex's buddy in once scene must be from good ole Spark-O-Matic 5 X 9's instead of the 18" subs the kids are putting in their spare tire sections of their cars today! ...more info
  • The Last Starfighter
    I had this movie on beta. I loved it then and I love it now. If you like a cute, alien based, fantasy, comical movie this is it....more info
  • Classic Sci-Fi
    Despite the "now" laughable special effects of the space station and starship battles in part of the movie, it still holds your attention.

    The premise of video games as training and recruiting tools for pilots is ingenious and makes you wonder a little about the the possibilities for internet gaming.

    The parallel story of the main character's experience in space and his double's experiences on earth are fasinating.

    In a similar vein to Star Wars it gives viewers another chance to vicariously pretend to be a herioc star pilot like Luke Skywalker.

    Well worth a viewing or two....more info
  • The Last Starfighter
    The other reviews on this site cover most of what I want to say. But I would like to add that with all the sci-fi films that have been made, most on vastly superior budgets, none have brought me the sense of joy this film engenders. Certainly the CGI sequences (all space scenes were CGI - in 1984! - making this a ground-breaking film, as it was the first film to fully exploit CGI) are a bit quaint to our modern eyes. But many modern directors have become so enamoured with CGI that they forget about little items like plot, acting, etc.
    This film has a straight-forward but well-balanced plot, full of subtleties and humour, a coherent script written by someone who understands the English language, good acting (Robert Preston nearly steals the show) and is well directed.
    I couldn't estimate how many times I have watched the DVD (I initially had it on video as soon as it was released, one of the first with Hi Fi sound) - certainly more times than anything else in my collection - but I think this DVD is one of the most enjoyable sci-fi films ever made. I am 60, and I enjoy some of the classic films in the genre from the 50s (despite the terrible 'rocket' ships and flying saucers) right through to some of the better films being made now. (I'll let you into a secret - I like some of the bad ones too, just for the fun of it). But the Last Starfighter deserves to be remembered for what it achieved at its time in the history of sci-fi films; and for the sheer joy and warmth anyone can experience on watching it....more info
  • Great fun to watch over and over
    This space fantasy offers action, adventure, humor, great characters, and many memorable scenes. Robert Preston's character Centauri is a wonderful parody of his famous portrayal of Professor Harold Hill in "The Music Man." Dan O'Herlihy plays the wise and lovable alien pilot Grig and manages to convey an amazing amount of facial expression through his full-head prosthetic makeup. Catherine Mary Stewart is incredibly appealing as Maggie, the girlfriend next door. Lance Guest does a great job as our hero, the talented, ambitious, but frustrated Alex Rogan who finds himself whisked to another part of the galaxy to join a battle against an evil force that he had thought only existed in a video game. But as Alex learns, Earth's in danger too.
    Using computer-generated imagery for all the space scenes was a pioneering move in the mid-1980s when most studios were still using models. Yes, we've come a long way in digital animation since then, but the quality is good enough so that it still holds up well, never detracting from the storytelling. Besides, they never could have used Death Blossom in the battle scene if they had stayed with physical models. (You'll understand when you see it.)
    Underneath it all is a dynamic musical score that can stand proudly next to the other space classics. The only thing this movie lacks is a sequel. It leaves you wondering what Alex's next adventure will be....more info
  • Put a little cheese in your sci-fi
    'The Last Starfighter' is a 1980's cheesy Sci-Fi movie that manages to overcome the cheap special effects with its charming and enjoyable storyline. Alex (Lance Guest) lives in a community oriented trailer park with his mother. Girlfriend Maggie (Catherine Mary Stewart) lives in another trailer with her grandmother. Life is a dead end here at the Starlight/Starbright trailer park, and Alex wants out. But Alex is thinking college, not space.

    When Alex achieves a perfect score on the Starfighter video game outside the local store, alien Centauri (the amazing Robert Preston) shows up to make him a proposition. Alex, after a trip to Rylos with Centauri, discovers the proposition is to become a real life Starfighter. He tries to bag out but realizes its impossible after Zan-Do-Zan assassins come after him and the Beta unit left behind by Centauri. With newfound friend Grig (played by expressive Dan O'Herlihy), a man sized lizard, Alex decides to fight for Rylos. Unfortunately, bad guy Xur has already attacked the starbase and killed all the other Starfighters. Alex really is The Last Starfighter, and only he can stop Xur.

    'The Last Starfighter' is a cheesy but fun movie for the entire family. Some of the acting is wooden and the FX are cheaper than a gumball machine ring, but it still manages to pull itself off as an enjoyable movie. Sometimes cheese is good for your film diet. There's some good acting from Robert Preston, some comedy to make you giggle, and a bit of tension waiting to see if Alex can step into shoes bigger than he thought he'd ever wear. Watch for a very young Wil Wheaton (from Star Trek) who plays one of younger brother Louis's friends.

    So go ahead, relax, put out some cheese and crackers, and watch this 80's Sci-Fi classic. Enjoy!
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  • Great 80's Movie
    Loved the movie when I was a kid and love it as an adult. If you like the 80's style space movies buy it today....more info
  • "Last Starfighter" still dazzles
    One of the unexpected joys of the 1980s was a "little" film that packed a huge entertainment wallop.

    "The Last Starfighter" broke new ground in computer graphics, but it was much more than that for many of its fans.

    This is a genuinely good story, beautifully acted, sensitively directed by Nick Castle and lovingly crafted by all the technicians who worked on it.

    What makes this film work so well from the opening frames are the small touches director Nick Castle adds -- a rural landscape, a trailer park...and small things like a bird feeder and a sleeping dog, plus noises coming from each of the trailers, as well as voices calling out as a new day begins.

    Every relationship in this film rings true. And the main character -- Alex Rogan -- is perfectly portrayed by Lance Guest (who introduces one of the DVD's special features).

    Among the great joys of the film are Robert Preston's "Centauri", the alien being who invented the Starfighter video game (and spread them across the galaxy in hopes of finding candidates for becoming real starfighters), and Dan O'Herlihy's "Grig", who created a most believable, lovable character underneath his reptilian makeup.

    It also has one of the best music scores written for any movie. Craig Safan enthralled movie fans of all ages with an heroic theme which is interwoven throughout the film -- from the quiet moments, to the romantic scenes, to the space thrills and to the ultimate jubliation of victory over Zur's armada. It's a tour-de-force musical creation and one of the great scores of all time.

    Because of the film's human strengths, it holds up extremely well despite major advances made with digital computer graphics over the past 20 years. During my first viewing of the DVD, I wondered if Castle had ever been approached about updating those sequences, since most of the blue-screen elements probably still exist. But we'll leave that sort of revisionism to George Lucas.

    This film stands tall as it is.

    ...more info
  • And Cuuuut !
    I Was wondering if anyone noticed the sceens that are missing from the movie that i did. like when the robot is sent to impersonate the star in the movie he makes a pass at his girlfriend and she slaps him. or when they are at the lake with friends sitting on a log smoking pot. why do they cut movies up when they go to tapes or dvd ?...more info
  • Another teen classic from the 80's
    I introduced this movie to our boys recently and it was a big hit. Some movies are timeless and this is one of them. It is a true 80's classic that can be ranked with The Goonies, The Lost Boys, The Explorers, and Space Camp. Our boys enjoyed it just as much as we did as teens when it first came out and have added it to their favorite old movie collection soncisiting of some of the titles I mentioned above. It's great to be able to sit back and share things from our generation with our kids and see it through new eyes....more info
  • A Hero story based in space
    The acting is passable, the effects are old school, and you know that the hero is going to win the day and get the girl. All this and I still like the whole thing. Great to watch with kids. Robert Preston steals all the scenes that hes in, what a bargain for your entertainment dollar. ...more info
  • Classic Family Sci-Fi
    [[ASIN:ASIN The Last Starfighter]]

    This is classic science fiction for the whole family. The tale of how an ordinary teenager becomes an intersteller Texas Ranger. I highly recommend it for all ages....more info
  • My memories...
    I always watched that movie in old video tapes. Couldn t see much but the sure thing is that i always enjoy it. This HD DVD brought this great movie in a perfect quality....more info
  • Great family action/adventure
    This is a great family space adventure about a young man who has nothing to look forward to in his future, except going to City College and living in a trailer park forever. Alex Rogan's only joy is his girlfriend Maggie and the 'Starfighter' arcade game at the trailer park general store. After he breaks the record on the game, a mysterious visitor from the stars shows up at the trailer park to bring Alex to Starfighter Command. Alex soon leanrs that everything that was depicted in the game was real. There is a Starfighter contingent and the enemy portrayed in the game is real. When a sneak attack destroys part of the the base and all the current Starfighters, Alex reluctantly decides to help. He and his navigator are the only things standing in the way of a full on invasion of Starfighter Command and the planet they protect. This was the first film to use CG instead of models for all the spaceship sequences. It looks great, especially in the DVD remastering. This is one of the films that is a classic and will always remain one....more info
  • *A Great Family Movie*
    This is a great movie.One of the best of its kind for an 80's movie.I highly recommend it for everyone....more info
  • The Last Starfighter
    A campy classic from the 80's. Lots of fun for folks from that generation. I don't think many of today's kids will appreciate the "old" CG animation. It's very dated, and doesn't go at the pace of an MTV video, so I don't think many from this generation will be able to sit through it without getting ants in thier pants. But for anyone from my generation, you know, the 80's. When were wore more clothing than we needed too, and actually feared pissing off our parents. You'll enjoy it, as long as you're a SCI FI fan, and just enjoy what it is....more info
  • YOU DON'T HAVE THIS?!?!?!?!
    Good Lord, run right out and get it. If you love the 80's and the glorious fun movies of a gone era. Great story and a true classic. Not too hokey kind of in the guise of Cloke and Dagger and War Games. Good acting, "From the Humans". Truely a rightous movie for the Uber collector!...more info
  • It's in the stars ....
    This was a beloved movie on my part, for it's sweet, childlike innocence and wonderful sense of accomplishment. Being this was made in the 80s, several movies following Star Wars had a sci fi theme, were aimed at kids 14 and under, incorporated new technologies (in this case, videogames), and had a happy ending.

    Alex is a kid from a trailer park. He is ernest, dependable and hard working, and (talk about science fiction) not white trash in the slightest. His fellow trailer park residents are also, amazingly, not trashy and more like a charming small town of characters. His only escape from his mundane existence, besides his girlfriend Maggie, is his love of the one and only arcade videogame, Starfighter. Because of his agility with the joystick, one day an intergalactic con man named Centari comes to earth and offers him an opportunity to become a starfighter. He leaves a beta unit (a carbon copy of Alex) in his place, and off they go into outerspace. Alex, however, chickens out. He says he doesn't want to be a starfighter, he's not important enough, he's not worthy, etc. And Centari said something that I thought was a bit jeuvenile, but in the recent past I have been shown time and time again that truth is in the simplicity of : "If that's what you think, that's all you'll ever be".

    And that is true. You CAN do anything you want. Climb the mountain, travel to distant lands, even save the universe with a videogame. If you want something bad enough, if you work hard, if you put anything and everything you have into whatever it is you want, you'll get it. How many people have I seen not get what they want because they just gave up? They chicken out because they don't have someone else to attempt it with them or because they can't go it alone? Cowardice is always far safer, as Alex shows us, but heroics bring glory, as he later shows us.

    The special effects were cutting edge at the time, and now they look silly. But, in a period piece such as this, it's not without it's charm to know that it's just a guy in a rubber mask or primative computer graphics programs. And the comedy antics are always fun, with the Beta Unit's bumbling fish out of water attitude and being clumbsy on earth, as well as Alex's awkwardness while in space. This takes me back to a happy time....more info