The Last Starfighter (HD DVD) (1984)
PG Dir: Nick Castle | Universal | 101 min.

Review By: Fusion3600 | January 28th, 2012

Plot: What’s it about?

Alex (Lance Guest), a teen trapped in his trailer park environment, dreams of escaping to a better place. A video game console appears, and Alex is a natural to demolish the high score. With the rest of the town watching, he does just that. Afterwards, a mysterious car appears, driven by Centauri (Robert Preston), who offers Alex the chance to help save the universe, and the opportunity to leave the trailer park behind, in favor of bright star-scapes and the unknown. Aligned with “people” from all planets and backgrounds, Alex races into space to make a difference, but does a young man from the Starlight, Starbright mobile home community have what it takes?

While it may seem too campy or corny at first glance, this movie really delivers on high flying scenes and even humorous moments. Alex’s co-pilot, Grig, is a sight to behold, as he looks like he just stepped off the set of Star Wars. Speaking of Star Wars, this movie draws a lot of heat for being similar, but don’t let the talk turn you off, they are really far from similar. The comparisons end with space travel scenes. A back story brews between Alex and his girlfriend (Catherine Mary Stewart), which reaches highly amusing status when Alex is replaced during his space trip by an android replicant, who is not as smooth as Alex himself, to say the least. If you want brain-busting sci/fi, look elsewhere. But if you’re after a exciting night with a feel-good, kind of romantic movie, this is one you should check out. Universal’s HD-DVD looks terrific and has most of the supplements, so an upgrade is recommended.

Video: How does it look?

The Last Starfighter is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a nice upgrade, with a clearer overall image and a step up in detail depth. Of course, the added clarity and detail do make some of the less impressive special effects stand out, but even so, the crisper, more refined image is terrific. This isn’t a massive improvement, but the image is sharper and I think fans will be pleased. As far as colors, the hues look bold and show no errors, while contrast performs well too. So while not a revelation, this new transfer is a welcome improvement.

Audio: How does it sound?

A nice Dolby TrueHD 5.1 option is on deck, but don’t expect the world here. I do think there is more presence here than on the DVD, but the difference isn’t sizable. The action driven scenes have more punch and surround presence, which is great, but the rest of the movie sounds about the same. The music gets a slight boost also, so that is good news. The lower key scenes sound good, but not memorable, while dialogue is clear and crisp throughout. This disc also includes a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 option, as well as subtitles in English and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Most of the same goods from the Collector’s Edition DVD are back, but no new supplements have been added. We’ll start with a very revealing documentary “Crossing The Frontier: The Making of The Last Starfighter”. This featurette shows a lot of behind the scenes goings-on, and tells the scoop on casting, why they got cast, who else was considered, good stuff. Also included is a fantastic full length running commentary by director Nick Castle and production designer Ron Cobb. This audio track also tells alot about the making of the film, unlike many commentaries, and gives an insight into production. So only two extras, but at least both are rather substantial.

Disc Features
  • (2.35:1) Aspect Ratio
  • Video Codec: VC-1
  • Audio: Dolby Digital
  • Audio: Dolby TrueHD
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scene(s)
  • Featurette
  • Documentary
  • Digital Copy
  • 1 Disc Set
The Last Starfighter (HD DVD)

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Extras