12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I remember watching this on VHS - it must have been around 1985 / 86 and I absolutely loved it.
Revisiting it on Bluray was a real treat after re-aquainting myself with the film on lovefilm. If you're not familiar with the story it's about a young guy, Alex Rogan, who is trapped by circumstance working as the maintenance man on the trailer park his mum manages. The one outlet he has away from the drudgery of his life is a video game outside the convenience store which he eventually beats prompting the arrival of "Centauri" who convinces Alex to come along with him and be a real life star fighter.
When Alex realises the enormity of the situation he asks to be taken back home, at which point the starfighter base is attacked and nearly destroyed completely. After being hunted down on earth by an alien hit-man Alex is convinced by Centauri to return to Starfighter command and pilot the one remaining Gunstar and defeat the Ko-Dan empire.
At it's heart the film is really about seizing opportunities. As Otis says in the film about grabbing on with both hands and holding on tight. It's also a coming of age story about accepting responsibility for your life and having the courage to make it what you want. It may seem a bit sentimental but in the conext of this film it works really well and I found it's message sincere.
The film was a pioneer in the use of early computer graphics for the special FX and at the time was truly ground breaking. Some of the effects look dated today but I have to say the Gunstar still looks awesome! The dated effects only add to the overall charm, much like watching the original Tron. In fact it's amazing comparing those 2 films. With Starfighter coming just 2 years after Tron the improvement in the effects was astounding. The film was made a time when video gaming was nowhere near as popular (or sophisticated) as it is today but it's a perfect product of its time. Remember also that It was up against sc-fi films with bigger production budgets and Star Wars was reaching it's climax with Jedi but this film does offer something genuinely different to those films.
Picture quality is decent (remember it's 30 years old!) - It's the best looking version you will see for the home versions without doubt. Sound is also excellent with a lossless HD track.
The music is also really good!
For a UK buyer be aware that the bluray works fine but the DVD is region 1 and the digital copy won't download because that's also only for American buyers.
Brings back very fond memories of carefree Saturday afternoons watching films!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 20 October 2009
For me this movie was a pivotal point in my life long pursuit of all things science fiction, like Tron when I was a younger man (41 now) I loved this movie and went back to the cinema several times to see it prior to it's release on to beta-max (ask your parents what that was) and now of course DVD.
Put along side such block buster films in it's era like Star Wars (the first 3) it did not take a fraction of the box office takings that they did, but it stood apart for me as a simple yet touching take on all things sci-fi. This film had an innocence all of it's own, set in a backwater trailer park "Star bright" Alex (Lance Guest) played the character of a video game addict who innocently passed the recruitment test of Centauri (Robert Preston) by achieving the high score on the planted video game machine. Having passed the test by winning the game, Centaurie comes to earth to whisk Alex away to help fight in the ongoing battle that rages between the good people of Centurie's home world Rhylos and the evil "Xur and the Kodan armada" The computer graphics are I suppose laughable like Tron is today in comparison to the current HD offerings in action packed sci-fi like S.G.U. SO there you have it my two cents worth. If you liked his film you may also want to pick up a copy of another film I love called "Battle Beyond The Stars" Released in 1980 it also offered an hour and a half of escapism featuring now famous actors like Richard Thomas who played John-Boy in the Waltons (ask your parents) George Peppard, Robert Vaughn. Telling the story of a band of diverse heroes in outer space are assembled to defend a planet of peaceful colonists from an armada of aggressors (Sador of the Malmori) Anyways, Peace to all. "Live long and prosper" as a certain Vulcan would say
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 26 December 2011
I've always loved this film, and they have done an amazing job with the blu-ray version. The picture quality is superb! All of the cgi space fighters, the barrier & laser stuff looks exactly as a 1984 film with computer generated images should look, with no Lucas revisionism.
The extra material is good as well, something I generally never look at. Some nice material from the cast, the technical guys and the Cray X-MP.
The dvd is definitely region 1.
The blu-ray while it is described as "A" on the website (Region: Region A/1), I played the blu-ray disc on "B" region locked (Australia) players, a Soniq & a Sony with no problems, And there is no mention on the blu-ray or the blu-ray package of any blu-ray region locking. So I suspect the blu-ray is region free.
Also note, I wasn't allowed to download a digital copy as I wasn't in an allowed country which really doesn't bother me.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2007
Not having a Region 2 version is a travesty, this is a classic that set the trend using CGI on a Cray Supercomputer instead of plastic models.
I have just bought the Region 1, which plays on my PC. I am about to buy a Region Free DVD player just for this film!
A sci-fi film that the whole family can enjoy, cheesy but it doesn't take itself seriously and there are some great one-liners.
A forgotten gem crying out for Region 2 release.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 30 January 2015
IF YOU LOVE THIS FILM BUT ARE WORRIED ABOUT BUYING ON BLU RAY " DON'T PANIC " AS IT ISN'T AVAILABLE AS A UK REGION B (2) DISC ! THE USA IMPORT IS NOT A REGION A DISC IT'S REGION O (CODE FREE) SO IT WILL PLAY ON ANY BLU RAY PLAYER ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.
SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY " EXTORTIONATE FEES " TO HAVE YOUR BLU RAY PLAYER CHIPPED !
(WHAT A CON)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Last Starfighter is directed by Nick Castle and written by Jonathan R. Betuel. It stars Lance Guest, Robert Preston, Catherine Mary Stewart, Dan O'Herlihy and Norman Snow. Music is by Craig Safan and cinematography by King Baggot. Story sees Guest as Alex Rogan, an everyday teenage boy who upon breaking the high-score record on a trailer park arcade game, suddenly finds himself recruited by an alien defence unit to fight an evil army out in space.
The advancements of computers and all their devilish electronic off shoots have rendered many of the pioneering effects films of yesteryear as rudimentary antiques. Where once films like Tron and The Last Starfighter blazed the trail that many would follow over the years, now they seem, if you believe the multitude of new era reviews for them, to hold only nostalgia value to video game players who were still at school in the early 1980's. That's something of a disservice, for although they do indeed rely in the main on effects work and razzle dazzle 80's cred, the stories are enjoyably fantastical and not without thought and merit.
The Last Starfighter is one of the better ones because it manages to be both an exciting and sweet picture, one that is completely disarming. Certainly it marries Spielberg homespun values with George Lucas operatics, but in the form of its teen protagonist it also dots the fantasy canvas with angsty worth. So much so that now when one revisits the film with older eyes, we can appreciate more fully that young Alex is in a rut, the crossroads of his life, a life he's struggling to make sense of. Also more appreciation can now be made of the relationship Alex has with Grig (O'Herlihy), his flight navigator up in the galaxy, someone whom he calls a gung-ho iguana! This relationship is nicely drawn, here is where Alex finds not only his friend, but also his father figure, something he doesn't have the privilege of down on Earth.
Whilst up there fighting an intergalactic battle, Alex on Earth has been replaced by a replicant Beta model to ensure he is not missed. Here is where much of the film's fun is gleaned from. Interesting to note that originally this arc in the film wasn't to be that huge, but test screenings encouraged director Castle into a rethink. And the film is the better for it as the Beta tries to keep the flame going with the girlfriend (Stewart adorable girl next door type) and ensure he's not found out by any Ko-Dan spies! Here Guest earns his corn, it's a very good duel performance from the youngster and it's a shame his career never really took off post the films release.
However, none of this means the film is full of depth, it still remains a very simple story full of fantastical incredulities. But the underlying message of improving oneself, not settling for second best, is rich and puts some potency in the narrative. Still, it's safe to say that most tuning into The Last Starfighter want whiz bang space adventure frolics, which thankfully we do get. The effects are of course variable, though not as cheap looking in High Definition as one expected, while the action is nicely constructed by Castle and his team. The villains led by a po-faced Norman Snow make their mark, while Robert Preston, a legend to western and film noir fans in the 40's and 50's, gives a wonderfully sweet and affecting turn as Centauri, the game inventor who whisks Alex away to the planet Rylos for his life changing challenge.
More than just a film for nostalgists and gamer types, Last Starfighter is pretty solid entertainment from its core to its outer layers. 7/10
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 April 2009
If you like The Goonies, Back To The Future and The Explorers then this fits in perfectly with the movies of that era (the 80's), which by far was the best era for adventure and sci-fi movies.
When wathing the dvd at first you will think the special effects are quite poor but then you have to realise that this movie started C.G.I. and once that clicks then this movie is very engaging and you'll get lost in its amazing story, took me straight back to my youth.
You will not regret purchasing this dvd especially if it's for a child of around 10 yrs or somebody born early 80's who may remember it, enjoy... i did.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2007
This is one on my list of many movies I enjoyed when I was a kid this movie is great for the whole family to enjoy though some bits are a bit freaky! Region 1? Why? this is totally unfair when this movie kicks ass and makes family films today (Family films? do they still make those or is it all gone Harry Potter?) look like cheapo pieces of crud. So many compare this to Star Wars but really its not, it is a great film in its own right with a great original story...nay sayers really need to watch this again. Buy this even if it means buying a region free player!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 June 2013
Having purchased this, I had no problems with the Blu Ray playing and it was great, but I just tried to play the DVD to find out that the one included in the pack is in fact region 1 coded and not region free as stated in the adverts for this product, also the digital copy has expired before anyone who buys it now will have chance to download it.
If all your interested in is the Blu Ray copy then you will have no problem, but it is misleading advertising to state that this is the and I will quote from the advert " The Region Free USA version".
It should be reworded to state that only the Blu Ray is region free and that in fact the DVD and the digital copy will not work in the UK or Region 2 areas at all!!!
Luckily for myself I only paid a reduce price for this including the postage, and I am very happy to own the blu ray version. A little annoyed that I cannot now enjoy the film on the go either on my laptop or any of my portable players or digitally either.
Very Misleading advert!!!
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
"Greetings, Starfighter," says the mechanical voice of the video game. "You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xun and the Ko-dan armada."
Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) is a teenager who lives in a desert trailer park "in the middle of tumbleweeds and tarantulas." He's reasonably smart, has a nice girlfriend and is a little shy. One evening he manages to set a world record on the flashy game set on the porch of the trailer park's ramshackle store. He soon finds out every word of the video game is true. Within hours he's been picked up by Centauri (Robert Preston), who takes him on an intergalactic visit to Star Fleet command. He learns the video game's purpose was to recruit potential Starfighters who have the skill and reflexes to take on the invading Ko-dan fleet. In fact, these Starfighters are all that stand between the Star League with it's mission of galactic peace and, in the words of Ambassador Enduran, "the black terror of the Ko-dan."
Alex is having none of this, even after he meets his lizard navigator, Grig (Dan O'Herlihy). Centauri reluctantly returns him to earth and tries to change his mind. "Alex! Alex!" he says, "you're walking away from history! History, Alex! Did Chris Columbus stay home? Nooooo. What if the Wright Brothers thought that only birds should fly? And did Galoka think that the Ulus were too ugly to save?" "Who's Galoka?" Alex asks. "Never mind." "Listen, Centauri," Alex says, "I'm not any of those guys. I'm a kid from a trailer park." Centauri looks at him and shakes his head. "If that's what you think," he tells Alex, "then that's all you'll ever be." Meanwhile the Ko-dan, aided by the traitor Xun, son of Enduran, break through the defense shield and destroy Starbase, the gunfighters and their pilots. Alex finally decides to return and reunites with Grig. They prepare to join the fight. Then something occurs to Alex. "So...how many Starfighters are left?" he asks Grig. "Including you? One."
Well, what would you do next? Alex decides to save the universe. That's what I would have done, too.
The Last Starfighter, in my opinion, is a sweet-natured story of a kid up to his neck in a situation he knows can't be true, and then finds out it is. And he rises to the occasion. Lance Guest makes a very sympathetic young hero. Even better are the the older cast members who back him up (the actors playing the residents in the trailer park and people -- things, I guess -- at Starbase) or who try to bring him down (the actors playing Xun and the evil Ko-dan.) Robert Preston as Centauri is a stand-out, all larceny with a heart, a fast-talker who does the right things in spite of himse -- itself. Best of all is Dan O'Herlihy as Grig in full lizard skin and make-up. He manages to show humor, compassion, roaring enthusiasm, courage...you name it...just with his voice, his body language and his eyes. Without him, the movie would lack far too much.
The film also has an amusing, affectionate script and special effects that, to my eye, still look good even with all the advances in Computer Generated Overkill. For shy kids who've ever secretly dreamed of doing something wildly heroic and then receiving everyone's praise, this movie probably has a lot of meaning. I'd think most adults might remember those days, themselves, and get a kick from it.
The DVD picture looks fine to me. There are a few extras including a "making of" documentary and a commentary by director Nick Castle and production designed Ron Cobb.