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The Last Starfighter (1984)

Old 11-24-18, 01:57 PM
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The Last Starfighter (1984)

Anyone seen this or a fan? Opinions on it?



Just found out about this movie. The poster art was pretty cool, and the premise sounded like Star Wars meets Tron.

After starting this film, I want to like it, but it's difficult.
The main character and supporting cast are not that interesting but likable enough.
But when Alex is playing the arcade game, about to beat the high score, the entire trailer park made a big deal about it and gathered around him to watch it. I found that a little unbelievable that a community that skews senior citizen age would get that hyped up over someone playing a video game in 1984.
And then when Alex finds out aliens are real, Starfighter is real, and he's flying through outer space, he takes it remarkably well. It doesn't seem like quite the big deal that it should be.
But then I guess it's hard to be in awe when you have aliens that clearly look like people in rubber suits.
The Rylans look like some extras from a 1970s sci-fi film.

Maybe I'm letting my own expectations ruin the film.
I thought this movie was going to be a familiar story about a dreamer, who has his head in the clouds and stuck in escapist fantasy like video games, only to find out it's real. Like Justin Long's nerdy character in Galaxy Quest when he Jason Nesmith tells him it's all real. "Oh my God! I knew it!"

But no. It's like the opposite. He has serious, realistic aspirations, and is like screw community college, I'm trying to go to a four-year, and his community acts like he won the lottery because he got a high score on an arcade game.

I guess sci-fi fantasy stuff like The Empire Strikes Back, which came out 4 years earlier, spoiled me as far as special effects go.
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Old 11-24-18, 02:00 PM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

i liked it as a kid, always have. haven't seen in a long while and is pretty dated, but i think i would still like it...
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Old 11-24-18, 02:06 PM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

I liked it as a kid but watched it a few years ago and it really doesn’t hold up.

That said, Catherine Mary Stewart was super hot and I still love the theme music!
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Old 11-24-18, 02:23 PM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

I have the special edition DVD, but haven't seen this movie is many years.

I recall liking it, but I don't think technology-wise it holds up very well. I think this is a movie that could benefit from a 21st century reboot.

I did originally see this on VHS as a rental circa 1985-ish.
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Old 11-24-18, 02:35 PM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

It was a favorite as a kid, but I haven’t seen it quite some time. I do recall that it is a product of the 80s ... if you can watch it and accept that, you will love it. If you can’t get past it being dated, you probably won’t like it.

Wasn’t there talk of a remake a while back? This would be ripe for a TV series these days.
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Old 11-24-18, 03:15 PM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

You’re writing like the movie came out today. The 80s were all about people being way into BMX tournaments or skiing competitions or breakdancing to save the community center. It was just the 80s.
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Old 11-24-18, 03:53 PM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

Originally Posted by DJariya View Post
I have the special edition DVD, but haven't seen this movie is many years.

I recall liking it, but I don't think technology-wise it holds up very well. I think this is a movie that could benefit from a 21st century reboot.
I remember this rendering discussion from the commentary.
Jeffery Okun, Visual Effects Coordinator, did the math at the outset. They had a certain amount of frames to create with a certain of polygons (all of which takes quite a bit of time to render) and a six-month deadline. His calculations told him that this would take 17 months. He went as far as going to Producer Gary Adelson and pleading to fire Digital Productions, and hire a modeling company that he had standing by. Adelson refused, and Digital Productions forged ahead.

In the end, some of the scenes didn't turn out exactly how they were supposed to, according to the DVD commentary. In the scene where Alex, in the Gunstar, hides in an asteroid Ron Cobb, the production designer, complains that it looks like "melted ice cream." Apparently this scene didn't render correctly, and though the technology to do it correctly existed, due to the overwhelming amount of work there was neither the time nor the money to redo it.
https://io9.gizmodo.com/everything-y...tar-1602703884

It's still a fun movie for me. Dan O'Herlihy and Robert Preston are great and of course this resignation by Lord Kril at the end:
She won't answer the helm! We're locked into the moon's gravitational pull. What do we do?



We die.
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Old 11-24-18, 04:10 PM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

I like the movie a lot as a kid, saw it at the theatre a couple of times. The white "yogurt man" clone under the bedsheets really freaked me out.

I hadn't seen it since then, so I was surprised when I saw some clips last year, and realized how dated the special effects look. I remembered the movie being really slick, as good Star Wars



Siskel and Ebert review The Last Starfighter around the 4 minute 20 second mark.





I also think it's cool The Last Starfighter is directed by the guy who played Michael Myers in the original Halloween.

Last edited by Crocker Jarmen; 11-24-18 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 11-24-18, 04:36 PM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

it was a good movie but as mentioned, its a bit a dated

interesting character(s) and with unique plot to the movie

they had a few item(s) as like a arcade stand up game and a gaming cartridge ( as in for nintendo i think )
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Old 11-24-18, 04:38 PM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

Originally Posted by Draven View Post
You’re writing like the movie came out today.
Not really.
I compare it to two other movies, one from the 80s and one from the 90s.

The 80s were all about people being way into BMX tournaments or skiing competitions or breakdancing to save the community center. It was just the 80s.
So because it came out in the 80s...it can't be critiqued? Like there weren't movies from that era of varying quality?

Back to the Future = The Garbage Pail Kids ?

I like lots of stuff from that era that might be considered cheesy today. I saw My Bodyguard (1980) for the first time and thought it was a fun movie. And I finally understood that one scene in Drillbit Taylor.
The Last Dragon? Awesome movie. It was campy and Taimak and Vanity weren't going to win any oscars, but it worked really well within the confines of its tone.

@Crocker Jarmen
That's pretty cool.

Looking up info for this movie, I found out that Atari was going to make a tie-in game for it, which would have been awesome on some meta-level.

Last edited by brayzie; 11-24-18 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 11-24-18, 05:16 PM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

Want to feel old if you grew up during this movie's hey day?

Catherine Mary Stewart turns 60 next April.

This is her from 2015. Still looks pretty good.

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Old 11-25-18, 07:51 AM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

Liked this one as a teenager, haven't seen in probably 30 years. Bought it on Blu a couple of BFs ago for $4, still sealed in the watch pile. Maybe someday.
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Old 11-25-18, 09:10 AM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

I saw it for the first time a little while back. I liked it. It was fun.
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Old 11-25-18, 07:19 PM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

Originally Posted by DJariya View Post
I have the special edition DVD, but haven't seen this movie is many years.
I gave my copy to my sister she enjoys it much more.

----------------

I wasn't too greatly fond of the movie but I did watch it from beginning to end so I took it as sort of fun at times.
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Old 11-26-18, 11:02 AM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

nintendo also came out w/ a cartridge
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Old 11-26-18, 11:26 AM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

I rented this a couple of times on VHS many years ago, liked it enough to buy it on DVD. Whether or not I double dip for the BD remains to be seen.
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Old 11-26-18, 12:04 PM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

Loved the movie as a kid, but when I bought it on DVD and watched it again as an adult, it was good/fun as I sort of expected. The Special Effects do not hold up well (but after watching the DVD Documentary they purposely wanted them to look like a video game to reflect the premise of the movie, so they weren't going for the realism effects like Star Wars at the time).

It's still a feel good 80's movie with good guys and bad guys (something I truly miss in this age of grey characters all around). There is something comforting about 80's movies that had good characters, a good message, and a crowd pleasing ending. Yes, it may seem cheesy now but you just don't see that type of stuff anymore in the post 9/11 world.
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Old 11-26-18, 12:45 PM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

There was a recent screening with Lance doing a Q&A.

This was the film that justified all my hours spent in an arcade.
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Old 11-26-18, 06:10 PM
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Re: The Last Starfighter (1984)

So, I finished the film.

Yeah, I still feel like the way the film handled the arcade cabinet was a missed opportunity.
If everyone around Alex would have been indifferent and even mocked his video gaming hobby, the pay off that the Starfighter arcade game was actually a real life flight simulator meant to train and test potential, elite pilots, would have been much better.

The ending would have been more significant too. The whole community that was dismissive to Alex, would have been eating their words when they see Grill and Alex arrive in a gunstar.
Instead, from the start, his community acts like he's someone special, as if he's already a hero.

I was also disappointed with the flight scenes. I didn't know the budget or even see the trailer before watching this film, so I thought the dog fight scenes would have been closer to what was seen in the original Star Wars.
I get why they used the early CGI. It makes the battles depicted in the arcade cabinet seamless with the actual battles, which helps audiences buy the idea that Alex could actually pilot a starship just by playing a video game.
I don't mind the early CGI. Some of it looks good when used to give scale to the armadas, other times it hurts the fantasy element.

I thought it was funny how the film and characters like Centauri were stressing how Alex has this rare and unique talent and how he's special, but he's not.
Alex asks why his robotic duplicate, Beta Unit, can't go in his place.
"Because simuloids aren't allowed."
"Then pretend you're me," Alex says. The film conveniently cuts to another scene right away before Beta Unit can respond.

So it's not that the robot duplicate doesn't have the same abilities or talent that Alex has to be a starfighter, it's just that he's not allowed to be a starfighter.
Maybe Alex isn't so special.

The overall film did have some charm, but I thought it would be better, even with the budget limitations..

Last edited by brayzie; 11-26-18 at 06:46 PM.
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