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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wu6Nymps5WA
The Last Starfighter
Lorimar/Universal Pictures, 1984
Directed by Nick Castle (Major Payne, Mr. Wrong)

Running Time: 101 minutes
Rated PG for violence and strong language.

Cast
Lance Guest (Jimmy in Halloween II, Michael in Jaws: The Revenge) as Alex Rogan/Beta Unit "Alex"
Dan O'Herlihy (1919-2005) (The Old Man in RoboCop, Franklin D. Roosevelt in MacArthur) as Grig
Catherine Mary Stewart :wub: (Gwen in Weekend at Bernie's) as Maggie Gordon
Robert Preston (1918-1987) (Harold Hill in The Music Man) as Centauri
Norman Snow (Springfield in Manhunter, Torin in Star Trek: The Next Generation) as Xur
Dan Mason as Lord Kril
Kay E. Kuter (1925-2003) as Enduran
Barbara Bosson (Fay in Hill Street Blues) as Jane Rogan
Chris Hebert as Louis Rogan
Vernon Washington (1927-1988) (Rev. Mills in Roots: The Next Generations) as Otis
Heather Locklear (Tommy Lee and Richie Sambora's ex) as a Rylan indoctrinator (uncredited)
Wil Wheaton (Wesley in Star Trek: The Next Generation) as Louis' friend (deleted scene)

"Greetings, Starfighter. You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier against Xur and the Kodan Armada." - Starfighter Videogame Introduction

Synopsis
Alex Rogan is a normal teenager who has dreams of getting out of his trailer park neighborhood and achieving long-term success. But all of that is put on hold when his dream college rejects his request for admission. Then one night, after achieving a record-breaking score on a videogame machine called "Starfighter," he is paid a visit from Centauri - an elderly man who invented the game. Alex reluctantly steps into Centauri's car and is brought to the distant planet of Rylos. To his surprise, Alex has been recruited by the Star League as a gunner for the force's Gunstar units.

Alex turns down the offer and requests to return to Earth, not knowing that the evil Xur and the Kodan Armada launch an attack on the Star League headquarters on his way home. He returns to the decimated base and teams up with ace pilot Grig to commandeer Gunstar-1 - an advanced version of the Star League's fighter. But with the Star League defenseless and the Kodan Armada on the move to conquer the Frontier, does Alex have what it takes to be The Last Starfighter?

"Things change. Always do. You'll get your chance! Important thing is, when it comes, you've got to grab with both hands, and hold on tight!" - Otis

Lowdown
When it comes to science fiction, many people first think of Star Wars or Star Trek, as they both revolutionized the genre in the 20th century with their intricate storytelling and groundbreaking special effects. But in 1984, there was one movie that dared to challenge both film franchises with a down-to-earth plot and special effects that no one had ever seen.

"I must congratulate you on your virtuoso performance, my boy. Centauri is impressed. I've seen 'em come, and I've seen 'em go, but you're the best, my boy. Dazzling! Light years ahead of the competition! Centauri's got a little proposition for you. Are ya interested?" - Centauri

Inspired by the videogame craze mixed with T.H. White's classic story The Once and Future King, The Last Starfighter takes the basic concept of space opera and an unlikely hero and adds a slice of Americana to it. Instead of a distant desert planet, the main character is just a plain guy living in a trailer park on the hills of Santa Clarita, CA. As a result, you have a Luke Skywalker that just about anyone can identify with. While Lance Guest does a superb performance playing Alex, it's the late Robert Preston who steals the show as the alien con artist Centauri, with his non-stop wit and humor. Sometimes, you have the urge to tell him to shut up, but you just can't help but listen to and sometimes laugh at his memorable quotes. And they really stick to your head.

"The amusing thing about this, it's all a big mistake. That particular Starfighter game was supposed to be delivered to Vegas, not some flea-speck trailer park in the middle of tumbleweeds and tarantulas. So it must be fate, destiny, blind chance, luck even, that brings us together. And as the poet said, the rest is history." - Centauri

For every sci-fi film, there's a hero to cheer for and villains to hate. The villain of this film is Xur, the former son of Star League leader Enduran who has turned his back on the federation and joined the Kodan Armada. The band of villains are what you may normally find in every sci-fi movie, but where else can you find a second-in-command with a mechanical eyepiece?

"Well, you may have thought it was a game, but it was also a test. Aha, a test! Sent out across the galaxy to find those with the potential to be Starfighters. And here you are, my boy! Here you are!" - Centauri

If Star Wars has the X-Wing Fighter, The Last Starfighter has the Gunstar-1 - a fast and powerful spacecraft armed to the teeth with lasers, missiles...and two words: Death Blossom. If only someone made a model kit of this...

Grig: "Remember, Death Blossom delivers only one massive volley at close range...theoretically."
Alex: "What do you mean, 'theoretically?'"
Grig: "After all, D.B. has never been tested. It might overload the systems, blow up the ship!"
Alex: "What are you worried about, Grig? Theoretically, we should already be dead!"


As for the special effects, The Last Starfighter caught everyone by surprise with its high-quality computer-generated action scenes. Using the powerful Cray supercomputer, Digital Productions produced realistic, mind-blowing effects at a lower budget than using animatronics and miniatures. It didn't introduce CG (TRON and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan experimented with it two years earlier), but it made audiences and filmmakers aware of the full potential of computer graphics. Today, nearly every sci-fi show or movie relies heavily on CG for their effects. And you have The Last Starfighter to thank for that.

Craig Safan (Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins) is no John Williams, but his soundtrack captures the essence of the film. You can't help but hum to the movie's main theme, as it's just as memorable as Williams' theme for Star Wars.

"Death is a primitive concept; I prefer to think of them as battling evil - in another dimension!" - Grig

Overall, The Last Starfighter is one of the best science fiction films ever made. Highly recommended for movie buffs who want a piece of late 20th century sci-fi nostalgia.

Rating: A

"Teriffic. I'm about to get killed a million miles from nowhere with a gung-ho iguana who tells me to relax." - Alex Rogan



DVD Extras: A+
To celebrate the film's 15th anniversary, Universal Pictures threw everything and the kitchen sink into their 1999 DVD release of The Last Starfighter. The movie has been perfectly remastered in an anamorphic widescreen format with crisp Dolby 5.1 surround. In addition, the disc has an exclusive special on the making of The Last Starfighter, hosted by Lance Guest. You get to see how computer-generated special effects evolved from a niche medium to a mandatory standard in today's science fiction features.

If you don't have this DVD yet, pick it up now. The Last Starfighter is a sci-fi masterpiece in its own right.

"Victory or Death!" - Star League Battle Cry

Reference
The Internet Movie Database
SF Movie Data Bank: The Last Starfighter (Japanese/English) Edited by areaseven
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The Last Starfighter is a wonderful sci-fi faery tale. If one goes into it looking for some kind of 'mature', taking-itself-too-seriously sci-fi movie, disappointment is bound to happen. It's whimsical, basic, and tells a very warm hearted story (despite the war backdrop). I picked up the DVD awhile back out of nostalgia and love of it as a kid and found myself enjoying it all over again...perhaps on a different level, or perhaps on the same level with just more realization as to why.

Yes, the special effects are horribly, horribly dated (at least in Tron, one can pretend it's just the way things look in the computer world), but one still has to appreciate that someone decided to use CGI to represent real world objects in a movie. It did do a little trailblazing down the path that has led to Lucas' prequel effects and Gollum. Although I generally hate the concept of going back and redoing parts of movies, it would have been nice if one could go back and redo TLS's CGI scenes. The designs of the models (the Gunstar in particular....on paper the thing is full of details) cry out for at least some good texture mapping. It would be a great movie for kids today if they weren't so spoiled by Saturday morning CGI which doesn 't even have a tenth of the effort put in that the guys who did this movie ages ago did.

Personally, I also like how they stuck a little closer to real space physics than most action sci-fi (the Gunstar having vectoring thrusters in various places) and still managed to make the battles enjoyable to watch.

Hey! No dissing the Grig-meister, btw! Any Pachycephalosaurus-like alien that can pilot a starfighter is good by me. :D And I thought Dan O'Herlihy (Robocop's 'Old Man') did a wonderful job throwing some personality behind the mask.

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A kid plays video games and ends up saving the universe...

I said it then and I'll say it now, it's a crappy version of Ender's Game with no depth whatsoever.

But I love it as a kid. ;)

Thanks for a much needed shot of nostalgia, A7.

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Well, I guess I will be the first one to come out "against" this movie.

Sorry, but IMHO, one of the gayest, lamest films of all time, with a close second being Enemy Mine. Maybe I just don't like guys in lizard suits, but meh....

That's OK, everyone's allowed to have their own opinion...

... even if it's wrong.

:D

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I loved The Last Starfighter. One of my favorite movies and actualy of the few movies that my entire family(mom, dad, and sister) actually end up watching together. It came on Stars or HBO over the Thanksgiving break and that's what we did when it came on. Its not serious scifi but its very enjoyable. My dad and I were even talking about the graphics, while it was made some time ago, certain scenes actually hold up well. I didn't know it was released on DVD though, this is something I have to look for next time at BestBuy or maybe just order it online.

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You missed my favourite quote of all:

"One Gunstar? Against the whole Amarda? It'll be a slaughter!"

"Thats the spirit!"

"No, MY slaughter!"

Oh, and:

"I've always wanted to fight a desperate battle against incredible odds."

Not a great movie, but a memorable one!

Don't forget:

"If you don't go back to bed, I'll tell mom about your Playboys."

:lol:

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I wouldn't buy this film on DVD, but I admit it did totally immerse my imagination as a child. The CG effects were lots of fun and I remember the work fondly. I still appreciate that early CG stuff, even if today, the movie isn't to my liking as an adult.

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I wouldn't buy this film on DVD, but I admit it did totally immerse my imagination as a child.  The CG effects were lots of fun and I remember the work fondly.  I still appreciate that early CG stuff, even if today, the movie isn't to my liking as an adult.

Yes it is true, the meat once enjoyed in one's youth, a man can not endure in his old age ;)

Edited by GobotFool
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I remember this movie. I loved it. Best line ever:

*Following lines will vary*

Grunt 1: Sir we're about to crash into the planet! What do we do?

Guy with the eyepiece: *eyepiece moves into position over eye*... We die.

Great movie, even if it has it's cheese, the lines more than make up for it.

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I remember this movie. I loved it. Best line ever:

*Following lines will vary*

Grunt 1: Sir we're about to crash into the planet! What do we do?

Guy with the eyepiece: *eyepiece moves into position over eye*... We die.

Great movie, even if it has it's cheese, the lines more than make up for it.

that eyepiece rocked.

in fact, I use something similar to moderate this forum

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I remember this movie. I loved it. Best line ever:

*Following lines will vary*

Grunt 1: Sir we're about to crash into the planet! What do we do?

Guy with the eyepiece: *eyepiece moves into position over eye*... We die.

Great movie, even if it has it's cheese, the lines more than make up for it.

I was about to post exactly that!

That eyepiece was the awesomest thing.

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Great review A7! This is one of my favorite SF movies of all time... I remember building Gunstars out of Legos when I was a kid....

Enemy Mine is another great film, though I've never seen it on DVD...

You can find a review of the TM Lindsey Gunstar resin kit here.... Not the same kit as in that eBay auction, but looks pretty good on it's own... a lot smaller, though.

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And for a guy whose Lego Gunstar would have absolutely destroyed the ones I made, look here.

Damn! That is impressive work. I always loved the gunstar, a awesome, awesome ship.

One thing I was never compleatly clear on, was Alex the actual pilot, or was he just the gunner?

Who here would buy a last starfighter game? With all this 80's revival stuff going on, really the idea isn't so far fetched.

Edited by GobotFool
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