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|Index||144 reviews in total|
This is a lost gem of a movie from the generation of "E.T.", Indiana
Star Wars, etc...
When a friend showed it to me on VHS in 1984 I loved it for its originality, warmth & humor, as well as being impressed with the first-time computer-generated special effects for this kind of sci-fi film.
When I saw the 'special edition' DVD in Widescreen I snatched it right up and found that I enjoyed it as much as I did 20 years ago! The movie's special effects still looked good to me, especially the "Star Car" (my personal favorite).
But the special effects are not the centerpiece of this film. It has plenty of charm of its own to offer in plot, story, warmth, humor & good performances. Craig Safan's music score for this film is one of my all-time favorites. It almost outsizes this movie but it fits just the same.
"Starfighter" is a real gem from the 80's I will treasure in my movie collection.
The story is simple and has probably been retold in every heroic
setting possible. It's also a bit of wish fulfillment for those of us
that grew up pumping quarters into arcade video games.
In my opinion the acting is above average for a movie like this. It is much helped by veteran actors Robert Preston and Dan O'Herlihy. Lance Guest does a great turn as Alex as well.
The effects were not appreciated at the time, I think, but hold up fairly well. They were drawn on that Holy Grail of computers to us children of the 80's; a Kray Supercomputer.
The score is well done, the humor timed well and the overall good feeling I get from watching it never fades. You can't go wrong with this gem.
None of the other reviews of this film (at least those that I have
seen) understand what makes this movie so wonderful. This is one of the
few movies I can recall that treat teenagers with some respect, instead
of as cartoon characters. Alex has the same kinds of dreams and
problems we all had at the age of 18, but he really does try to do the
right thing, even when it goes against his desires. The film does not
show the generation gap as a battlefield, but as a fact of life that
Alex has to live with, and not one that is entirely negative.
This film is totally driven by the characters. The plot, and even the CGI, while groundbreaking for the day, are not the real magic here. It is the characters.
I love THE LAST STARFIGHTER... it's a good, fun movie. A matinee type of film. It's not as great as Star Wars or some of the big budget movies of the time... (hmmm, where there any big budget Sci Fi movies other than Star Wars at the time?) The acting, though not great was charming. Lance Guest (brillantly playing Alex and the very naive Beta), Greg O'Herlihy (sp) playing the loveable Lizard creature Grig and of course.... Robert Preston as rascalous Centauri. And something that I forgot for a long time (until I saw it at a local store and had to buy it on DVD) was that this was one, if not THE, first movie to utilize CGI. Yeah, it's a far cry from what filmakers can do now with Apple Rendering software. But when I saw the movie in the Theater, I was impressed and thought that if Computer Graphics were this good in the this first movie... how much it will grow. It's a movie well worth having in your library. And as I'm watching it right now, I'm glad that I have it in mine.
Granted, I'm a child of the 80s, so there's some nostalgia at work here, but I'm surprised at how interesting and enjoyable this movie is. It sounds like a turkey when you read the main plot line, but it's very well-done and charming for what it is. Sure, it has its problems, but it never claims to be anything other than teenage sci-fi. A good ride.
If you run through the end credits you will see names like Jeffery Okun
(Independence Day) and Jim Rygiel (Lord of the Rings and Starship
Troopers) as well as several other people for whom this might have been
their first film- It is certainly the first feature length film with a
lot of CGI... Considering that the Macintosh had not even been invented
yet, and the only PC was the IBM PC/XT, it is an incredible feat of CGI
for the time, this was a time when "computer" did not mean a PC with XP
or Vista installed, it meant a Box with Plugs, and you had to buy
peripherals and hook them up, and some computers did not even have a
monitor, the Printers just echoed what you typed on the keyboard- Hence
the term in a DOS "Autoexec.Bat" file- "Echo On" which was the command
to tell the PC to "print" what you typed onto the printer, which was
likely a huge Dot-matrix monstrosity.
When you think of the State of the Art in 1983 and the SOA Now... It is amazing that the special effects department ever was able to get this done. At that time, there were not even any Hard Disk Drives for storage medium. So it is not surprising at all that they had to borrow a Cray for this.
This is a very fine film... I rented it from Von's back in 1984 on a beta tape and watched it with my mom, and she liked it as well. She really liked the characters of Grig and Centauri.
Just to make a comment here about the look of the "aliens" - Which look like Minbari from Babylon-5. But if you look close, you can virtually detect pieces of set that ended up in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and in Star Trek: The Next Generatiion. I refer to the Table on the Command ship around which the commanders are clustered, and also, in the Starfighter base, there is a little gizmo that lies on it's side, with two long glass tubes through which Ruby laser is being fed- This was part of Beverly Crusher's Apparatus on the Enterprise D. So in a way, if this film had not been made, a lot of the look of some of the places in ST:TNG would have been different, including Engineering in ST:TNG, which ended up with that Table from the Command Ship. I would know those set pieces anywhere... And if anyone has seen "Bladerunner: Dangerous Days" They would see that indeed, lots of pieces made for other films end up in unlikely places, and in Bladerunner, whenever the Spinners fly over a city scene, if you look carefully you can see, The Millennium Falcon, pointed upright.
The non-cgi parts of this story are filmed just as well as any of the scifi fare of the day... The only weakness in my opinion is the blending of the CGI shots to the filmed stock. It is amazing the the CGI work was done on a Cray Supercomputer- And it is far from the hero work on LOTR, King Kong, Iron Man... But for its time, it was great. I remember when I first saw it, I actually liked the look... If you think about it, the stark CGI look of the starfighters, and the Frontier, and the base, and the command ship: It is all very much like a video game, and so this fits in very well with the plot of an alien man parking a "Starfighter Test" disguised as a video game in a trailer park in order to find Starfighters for this little episode.
It is as if Alex's whole POV is as if the video game has been expanded to a much larger scale. I immensely enjoyed the "Death Blossom" gag, it had humor and class. The HUD probably was influential for games like Descent Freespace and Mech Warrior 2.
The idea of having a personal robot to take ones place in uncomfortable circumstances is explored in this film, much to Alex's chagrin with his girlfriend.
I find the character actors in this well chosen, including Meg Wylie (One of the Talosians from the Pilot Star Trek Episode "The Cage") as Maggie's Grandmother, who at the end of the film gives a kind of "Salute" from Trek to Starfighter- Of you look close for it.
It would please me, and a large amount of fans no end to have a new "Special Effects" version of this film where the CGI could be run through a few things to give it a bit more realism, but that may spoil the FPS (First Person Shooter) effect of the film.
Another film from my youth and fabulous. A kid from a trailer park is recruited to fight in an intergalactic battle against an evil madman and his unstoppable armada in a star fight to the death. And he doesn't want the job. I really got into this one it's totally enjoyable. There is a lot of humor and action mixed quite well. Robert Preston is like butter he's good no matter what. He delivers the quips and jokes with just the right amount of wit and energy. And he warms your heart. I miss that guy I was very sorry to find out he had passed on. I remember him from many films like Beau Geste and the Music Man. I simply cherish this film and many other people do too.
This video game/ STAR WARS inspired space opera epic is more fun than it probably has any right to be. While there is an instant or two where the film suffers greatly from a case of the "cutes", the great casting here makes this one remain worthwhile. In particular Dan O' Herlihy, with his performance as Alex Rogan's alien friend Grig, absolutely steals this movie and gets to deliver most of the best lines. And when he's not stealing the picture, another veteran character actor named Robert Preston (Centauri) is. Good stuff especially suitable for teenage sci-fi fans but even as an adult I cannot help but have a soft spot for this cast...even Lance Guest and Catherine Mary Stuart do alright here.
With the original "Star Wars" trilogy still fresh in the public's mind in 1984, "The Last Starfighter" was produced. Commercially the film did only fairly well at the box office, but that is not saying that this is not a more than adequate little science fiction entry. High-schooler Lance Guest is approached by a couple of aliens (Robert Preston and an unrecognizable Dan O'Herlihy) to go to a galaxy far, far away and fight an evil empire. Sound familiar? He is recruited for his mission via an arcade game of all things. Catherine Mary Stewart shines as Guest's love interest. Nothing spectacular and somewhat dated, but still a pleasant surprise that you will not regret watching. 4 stars out of 5.
Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) lives in a trailer park with his mother Jane
Rogan (Barbara Bosson) and his younger brother Louis (Chris Hebert).
Alex is a handyman that helps his neighbors in small tasks and he is
waiting for a loan to go to the university and move from the camp with
his girlfriend Maggie Gordon (Catherine Mary Stewart) to the city.
However, Alex receives a letter informing that his request of loan had
been denied for his great deception.
When Alex breaks the record of the Starfighter video game, he is visited by a man called Centauri (Robert Preston) that tells him that he works in the company that manufactures the game and invites him to a ride in his car. Sooner Alex learns that Centauri's car is a spacecraft and the Starfighter game is actually a test to find skilled warriors to protect the Star League frontier against Xur (Normam Snow) and Kodan (George McDaniel) armada. Alex arrives in the planet Rylos but he refuses the invitation. Alex returns to his house and finds that he is hunted by alien agents sent by Xur to kill him. He summons Centauri and learns that all the starfighters have been murdered in a treacherous attack to the Rylos' base. Now, Alex and his partner Grig (Dan O'Herlihy) are the last chance to avoid the invasion of the cruel Xur.
"The Last Starfighter" is one of my favorite cult-movies of the 80's. The artless special effects are very poor in the present day but who cares? The delightful story of a teenager that dreams on going away from the trailer camp where he lives and becomes the savior of the universe is highly entertaining and also funny, since the situation of the Beta Alex with Maggie is hilarious. Unfortunately this film has only been released on VHS in Brazil. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "O Último Guerreiro das Estrelas" ("The Last Warrior from the Stars")
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