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le 8 novembre 2002
I remember seeing this film when it came out in 1984 and enjoying it. I liked it then, and I liked it again when I saw it recently on DVD. There are two reasons why you might enjoy The Last Starfighter:
(1) You are looking for a movie to watch with kids aged 8 to 14. This movie has a simple, straightforward storyline that holds attention and enjoyment for its 101 minutes. My daughters (10 and 12) loved it, though they noted that the special effects were a bit obvious (see also reason (2)). It was a nice family treat.
(2) You want to see a bit of film history; this one has two attractions. It was the first full-length motion picture to rely entirely on computer-generated graphics for its special effects, arguably blazing the way for the CGI industry of a decade later. From the perspective of 18 years later, these effects are pretty obvious, but they are not primitive. They work well. And they were done on computers that were less powerful than the laptop I'm typing this review on.
The second bit of film history in this movie is that it was one of the last films to co-star Robert Preston, in a role that is deliberately modeled on one his most famous (and enjoyable roles), that of the outrageous flim-flam man of The Music Man. "Centuri" (Preston) is the reincarnation of Professor Harold Hill in outer space. If you are a fan of Robert Preston, you'll enjoy his performance in this movie. It is obvious that he enjoyed doing it.
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le 27 mars 2012
This film is populated by stock characters. The hero, a senior teen, wants to get away from the trailer park where he lives with his mother and is the de facto handyman. His girlfriend is a sweet person whose chief concern besides the the hero is her "granny". The hero's little brother about age eleven has a collection of Playboy magazines and is kept in line by the threat of disclosure. The chief nasty, who chews the scenery, has joined forces with a powerful alien race which wants to conquer the chief nasty's confederation of planets where the scenery-chewer wishes to rule.
What brings the two sides together is an arcade starfighter game which the hero learns to use so well he breaks the record. On the heels of that success comes an alien, a galactic headhunter, drawn there by the hero's success. Eventually , the hero trained by the arcade game as a gunner is teamed with a reptilian mercinary pilot, to whom the hero refer as a "gung ho iguana". Through circumstances, the pair become all that is left of the defence force.
What separates this plot and its characters from a rejected Star Trek episode is Centauri, the headhunter, played with great gusto by Robert Preston in his best Prof. Harold Hill voice and manner from The Music Man. He lights up the sky and the film.
The special effects are primitive but adequate; the aliens interesting enough. For all its limitations, the film is a pleasant enough evening's entertainment.
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le 31 août 2001
One of the first science fiction films I saw and still one of the best (defintly the most underatted). Lance Guest stars as Alex Grogan a teenager who dreams of one day leaving his trailer park home with his girlfriend Maggy (Caterine Mary Stewart) and becoming someone successful, despite the insults from his so-called friends. His chance comes when he breaks the record on a Starfighter video game. He is then whisked away to a far off planet, thanks to help of Centauri (an alien talent scout), played brilliantly by Robert Preston. He discovers the Starfighter game is more like a training simulation and that the story the 'game' centers on is real and brought to life in a distant galaxy.
Okay the special effects look seriously dated compared to todays standards but Lance Guest is wonderful as the young teenager who must switch between being a regular guy and Han Solo type gunfighter. Robert Preston stands out as the supporting act, totally convincing as a wise-cracking money grabber. The bad guys take the form of monstrous creatures led by the annoying, somewhat hammy Zur. But there is a good distinction between them and the good guys, Star League. Somewhat like Star Wars, the enemies aren't too evil just bad enough to boo and hiss at.
The film moves at a steady pace and there are some great moments featuring Alex's clone while the real Alex saves the universe.
The Last Starfighter is a science fiction classic waiting to be rediscovered and remastered.
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le 1 juillet 2004
One of the fondest memories of my childhood was watching this movie while eating a Chef-Boy-Ardee sausage pizza. (remember those?) Many hot summer days were spent enjoying the adventure of Alex Rogan travelling to Rylos and realizing his dreams and his destiny as a Starfighter with his navigator, Grigg. This is one of those inexplicably optimistic films that popped up in the 80's. Despite the fact that the special effects may look dated now, the story is timeless and well written for this genre. The video presentation on this DVD is rather crisp and clear but the audio could be a "little" better. Still, this is a wonderful film for kids and nostalgic adults alike. Oh, the extras are nice as well. I hadn't seen the "Making of" documentary since it appeared on HBO when I was a kid. This is a wonderful film.
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le 10 janvier 2004
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.
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le 6 juillet 2002
18 year old Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) wants some excitement to come his way. He is tired of living in a trailer park, and having nothing to look forward to, except beating his own score on his favorite arcade game. Then one day, adventure finally beckons, when an alien named Centauri (Robert Preston) comes to Earth. Centauri wants to recruit Alex to help fight the evil KO-DAN and keep them from destroying The Star League Of Planets. Starfighters are being called to duty from every corner of space. Alex will represent the last starfighter of earth...He accepts the mission.
THE LAST STARFIGHTER is an enjoyable space fantasy from director Nick Castle from 1984. The film has a cult film following, thanks to fine performances from Guest, Preston, and Dan O'Herlihy as Grig. The film was made just as CGI was being launched, which helped to emphasize the other worldly aspects. Sure, by today's standards, the FX may seem quaint, but that only adds to the film's appeal. For me, the film works, due to its likeable characters and story, rather than just its FX. If you have ne never seen the film before, do yourself a favor, and check it out.
The Collector's Edition DVD has a good commentary track with Castle and Production Designer Ron Cobb that is light and informative. The 35 minute retrospective pretty good too, but at times, rather redundant to the commentary. There are production photos, cast/crew info, and 2 theatrical trailers. All in all a solid disc for an often over-looked cult favorite. Recommended
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le 25 mars 2002
I first stumbled onto this movie some fifteen years ago on VHS at the age of 45 and have viewed it at least 20 times since. It is STILL a pleasure. Great acting - the incomparable Robert Preston as Centauri, Dan O'Herlihy as Grig. Numerous minor simpatico actors as well, e.g., several of the trailer park denizens. A musical soundtrack that sweeps you along. Some snappy dialogue. Rich and cute humor. Delicious little scenic embellishments here and there - the hound dog, the cat atop the video game machine, the hypnotic trailer park sign, Granny with her shotgun, etc. It all adds up to a rip-snortin' rootin' tootin' space horse opera. FUN! And you actually come to care about some of the characters. Even the schmaltzy ending, which is hokey to the nines, is so well done (including the music) as to evoke some emotion.
As for the DVD, the video quality stinks. Little or no better than VHS, although the wide-screen aspect does let you see more. The musical soundtrack though is great -- crystal clear and with very deep but not artificially exaggerated low bass. Your subwoofer will love this one. The extras are educational and entertaining. They include a homage to the then-exotic Cray supercomputer, which is pictured. It resembles a modernistic Stonehenge, several towers in a circle, an object almost of veneration, which is how it is described and indeed looks.
A great little movie and a flawed but still worthwhile DVD, which I wish had included the solo musical soundtrack.
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le 14 mars 2002
Alright, there's no real use in going into the plot of the movie here because everyone should have seen this by now and if you haven't, there are plenty of other places to find reviews on the plot, characters, etc. Let's just say that this is a very charming and fun science fiction film from the 80's that I loved from the very first time that I saw it.
Now, let's talk about why you should or should not buy this in it's DVD reincarnation. First off, the picture quality and sound are not fantastic, but it's important to note that they never were. This movie is old! However, they're not horrible by any stretch. The computer animated sequences have fantastic detail. It's in the widescreen format, which is slightly annoying. The top and bottom margins are very wide. I think they should have taken less room for that, but I'm not sure if there's a standard format for widescreen movies. I'm watching it on a 27" TV, so I'm guessing that's fairly average for the size of a TV. Watching it on much less would be like having no picture at all since a good 35% of the screen isn't used. Still, I did enjoy it very much and I only noticed it a couple of times. It's just a warning for those who have smaller TV's. The infamous "extras" actually turn out to be truly extra in this case. There's great documentary-type footage on the making of the film, which goes into great detail about the trailblazing effects that went into making this great movie. Lance Guest, the star of the film, actually hosts this as well, which is a nice bonus. They've also included the movie trailer, which is pretty standard.
All in all, I highly recommend this be added to your DVD collection. It's a great movie that can still be enjoyed today, almost 20 years after its initial release. It's definitely something that you should see if you have not done so before.
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le 27 janvier 2002
This apparently was a reasonably low budget science fiction film from 1984. Its budget may have been small but it does not have the look or feel of a low budget movie. The premise and structure of the film is also interesting.
The plot device is that a decent but broke kid is growing up in a trailor park. He dreams the dream of such kids but is surrounded by poverty. This however does not seem to affect him at all, he emerges as someone free of the complexs that this can sometimes cause.
By mistake a video game has been installed in the trailor park. This game is actually not meant to be so much a game, but a means by which an alien civilisation can recruit army personell of a certain level of talent. This game was meant to have been dropped into a bigger town but is placed in the trailer park by mistake. The hero shows his talent and is recruited to a distant war in another solar system.
In the end he saves the world but there is also a complicated sub plot about what happens at home while he is away.
An unrelentingly nice and pleasant film which was a surprise hit when released.
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le 29 janvier 2001
The Last Starfighter a movie by director Nick Castle (Major Payne). It is a story about Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) who dreams of a better life outside the humble trailer park in which he lives. Breaking the record on an innocent looking video game, which take him on an adventure well outside the confines of the trailer park.
This movie should go down in history as being the first movie to start using complex computer generated graphics. Tron, which was the first movie to use computer animation, The Last Starfighter takes one step further by using more than simple vector animation.
The actors choosen for the role were superbly cast. Lance Guest as Alex Rogan, Dan O'Herlihy as Grig and Robert Preston as Centauri. Each actor cast stamped their style to the character. In Robert Preston's last feature presentation it was a intergalactic reprise of his character in the Music Man in which Preston stamps his style to his role and to the movie.
Nick Castle did a superb job in capturing the humble life of the trailer park and the complex war torn planet of Rylos. Along with Production Designer Ron Cobb the created not only an entertaining story about a boy and his dreams but showing detail well beyond what was available at the time.
The DVD version of this movie definitely does it justice, with a remixed soundtrack, now in Dolby™ Digital 5.1. The soundtrack isn't a complete remix as many of the scenes that used to use Dolby Surround still give this ambient quality to it, there is the superior clarity that the digital track offers and music wonderfully scored by Craig Safan also has been remixed nicely in Dolby™ Digital.
Picture Quality is possibly the best I have seen for this movie. But still contains many of the flaws that were possibly present in the source for remastering. With the DVD version the computer generated scenes have never looked better.
This is my favourite movie of all time, I enjoy all aspects of the movie and admire the work that Nick Castle and Ron Cobb put into this movie.
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