Scifi
The Last Starfighter
.
Dir: Nick Castle
Star: Lance Guest, Dan O'Herlihy, Norman Snow, Robert Preston
Cert / Year: PG / 1984
Format: DVD R1
'

Video games are only training for real life in this pioneering sci-fi movie.

Alex Rogan's (Guest) life stinks. About to leave high school he works as a general dogsbody and Mr fix-it in the trailer park in which he lives. His dream of getting away and going to a good college looks like being ruined as he can't get a grant. His only escape is the Starfighter arcade game in the park shop, which after a really bad day he beats. A mysterious stranger called Centauri (Preston) arrives and whisks Alex away, far away. Centauri is a alien who has been using the video game to unwittingly recruit starfighter pilots for a galactic war against the traitor Xur (Snow) and the Kodan Armada. On finding this out Alex demands to be taken home, only to find his place has been taken by a exact duplicate robot. Things go from bad to worse when all of the other Starfighters are killed by Xur, and hit men (hit aliens) are sent to kill Alex. Calling Centauri Alex returns to face the whole armada with only his alien navigator Grig (O'Herlihy) for help. He is the last Starfighter.

The Last Starfighter is an important milestone in movie history (I bet you didn't know that). Why? because it was the first movie in which CGI special effects were used to render all of the spaceships. Tron was the first to use CGI to create a computer environment, The Last Starfighter was the next step to use the effects mixed in with the real world. Did it work? At the time it would have been very impressive, now it does look very dated. However as a piece of movie history it is fascinating (it took a massive Cray super computer weeks to produce to the effects).

The film itself is great fun. It's not a grand space opera like Star Wars. This is a light hearted, entertaining and safe family viewing story of boy meets universe. It is the humour that really lightens the script up, and maintains the sense of fun. Occasionally the whole thing may feel like your watching a giant arcade game, but just go with the flow.

A set of good performances were provided by the cast. With special mention for veteran actor Robert Preston (The Music Man) in one of his final performances as Centauri the intergalactic con man. Also credit must go to Dan O'Herlihy (Robocop) who is great, even with the encumbrance of the alien makeup.

The Last Starfighter is not a classic, but it is a good family movie. The children will enjoy the action and effects, and the adults can enjoy the humour. On a different note it is worth giving this movie a chance just to view the first steps of the CGI revolution.

Quotes

"Welcome Starfighter you have been recruited to defend the frontier against Xur and the Kodan armada."

Rating: 4 out of 5

DVD
Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic The picture is good for a film this old.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Great new 5.1 mix.
Features Commentary track by director and effects supervisor
Production notes
Excellent making of documentary looking into the making of the film and its groundbreaking special effects
Trailer
Verdict Good presentation of an old film, this collectors edition is a must.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Theme Back Top Home