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The Last Starfighter

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    92
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Arrow's 4K UHD restoration of The Last Starfighter wows with detail, extras; a must-have for fans.

    The Last Starfighter 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

    True 4K
    HDR10
    Dolby Vision
    DTS-HD MA
  • Video
    92
  • The Last Starfighter's Ultra HD release dazzles with vibrant colors, improved detail, and Dolby Vision HDR, offering a definitive viewing experience.

  • Audio
    93
  • Diverse DTS-HD audio options (2.0, 4.1, 5.1) enrich The Last Starfighter with detailed clarity & immersive experiences, favoring the vintage essence of the original score and effects.

  • Extra
    93
  • This release offers a comprehensive collection of The Last Starfighter bonuses, including interviews exploring its revolutionary CGI, memorable score, and creation, plus three insightful audio commentaries and engaging featurettes.

  • Movie
    85
  • Through an arcade game, Alex is recruited for space war in 'The Last Starfighter,' a pioneering CGI film with enduring appeal, despite missed Oscar nods for Preston.

    Video: 92

    The Last Starfighter," a seminal piece from the 80s, has been given a new lease on life with its Ultra HD Blu-ray release by Arrow Video. This release represents a significant leap in video quality, especially when considering it has been sourced from a meticulously restored 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negatives. The restoration work, undertaken by Arrow Films, involved grading in HDR10 and Dolby Vision, bringing out the richness and vibrancy of the film’s palette more so than ever before. Enhanced by a choice of audio mixes, including an original 4.1 mix created for its 70mm exhibition, the film's presentation maintains its nostalgic essence while embracing the benefits of modern technology.

    The 2160p HEVC/H.265 encoded transfer, showcasing a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, exhibits substantial improvements over previous home video releases. From the cleaner and finer grain texture to the deeper, more vivid swatches of color, the detail is impeccable. Especially noticeable are the heightened blacks and shadow details which lend a new dimension to the visuals. Furthermore, despite some limitations inherent to the original CGI effects now more pronounced at higher resolution, Arrow’s handling preserves the film’s groundbreaking visuals without letting these anomalies detract from the overall clarity and depth.

    In comparison to its previous Blu-ray iteration, this upgrade underlines Arrow’s commitment to presenting “The Last Starfighter” in its best possible light. The HDR grading, notably with the inclusion of Dolby Vision, enriches every frame with strikingly vibrant colors and deep contrast levels. While the newer presentation emphasizes some of the quaintness of the film’s practical and special effects, it simultaneously celebrates them with enhanced detail and definition. Arrow Video's release not only honors but elevates "The Last Starfighter," rendering it a definitive edition for both newcomers and longtime fans.

    Audio: 93

    The audio presentation of "The Last Starfighter" on 4K UHD Blu-ray grants viewers a trilogy of DTS-HD Master Audio options: 5.1, 4.1, and the classic 2.0 mix. With an array of choices at their disposal, audiophiles can curate their viewing experience to match their preferences, acknowledging that while the 5.1 mix delivers a broader soundstage, the 4.1 track—originating from the 70mm theatrical mix—presents a particularly nostalgic charm. This is further underscored by its more pronounced low-frequency effects, enriching the cinematic ambiance with the rumble of spacecraft and the depth of Craig Safan’s engaging score. Despite its age, the audio offers an acceptable level of dynamism and fidelity, though it might not reach the heights of auditory flamboyance found in more recent science fiction spectacles.

    Distinct nuances between the mixes demonstrate a variety of listening experiences; the 5.1 option marginally expands discrete effects yet lacks a specific music cue around the 28:40 mark, a minor blip that enthusiasts of the Universal release might recognize. Alternatively, the 4.1 mix shines with its staging prowess and a slightly more authentic sound palette, enhancing both spatiality and the impact of Safan’s compositions in the soundscape. Dialogue remains crisply intelligible across all tracks, ensuring that narrative clarity is never compromised amidst the array of sonic elements.

    The inclusion of the original stereo track, while admittedly less immersive, extends a comprehensive auditory celebration that complements the visual restoration marvelously. Each mix is meticulously managed to maximize fidelity and encapsulate listeners in a nostalgic yet invigorated auditory experience. Vibrations from the depths of space to the intricate layers of Safan’s score are captured with finesse, offering a sound design that, regardless of its vintage roots, provides an enveloping and detailed universe for fans and newcomers alike to dive into. Subtle ambient effects and a keen blend of dialogue and music foster an atmosphere that respects its origins while flourishing within modern home theater environments.

    Extra: 93

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "The Last Starfighter" encompasses a comprehensive suite of extras that not only honors the film’s legacy but also provides a deep dive into its creation, from conceptualization to the groundbreaking use of CGI. Fans are treated to a trio of engaging audio commentaries, giving personal and professional insights into the making and impact of the film. Highlight interviews with key figures such as Catherine Mary Stewart, Craig Safan, Jonathan Betuel, Kevin Pike, and sci-fi author Greg Bear offer rich perspectives on their respective contributions. The included archival documentaries and featurettes, along with detailed explorations into the special effects, the iconic score, and the vintage arcade game, round out an exhaustive package that respects both the film’s historical significance and its standing as a beloved piece of sci-fi cinema. Arrow Video ensures that this edition is a must-have for collectors, packing it with high-quality extras that both newcomers and long-time fans will appreciate.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio commentary with Lance Guest and Jackson Guest
    • Audio commentary with Mike White of The Projection Booth podcast
    • Archival Audio Commentary with Nick Castle and Ron Cobb
    • Maggie's Memories: Revisiting The Last Starfighter
    • Into the Starscape: Composing The Last Starfighter
    • Incredible Odds: Writing The Last Starfighter
    • Interstellar Hit-Beast: Creating the Special Effects
    • Excalibur Test: Inside Digital Productions
    • Greetings Starfighter! Inside the Arcade Game
    • Heroes of the Screen
    • Crossing the Frontier: The Making of The Last Starfighter
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • Teaser Trailer
    • Image Galleries

    Movie: 85

    The Last Starfighter, a cult classic that emerged from the shadows of the summer of 1984, finds its way into the 21st century with a meticulously remastered 4K UHD presentation by Arrow Video. Diving into the heart of the movie, we explore the journey of Alex Rogan (Lance Guest), a teen whisked away to fight an intergalactic war after mastering an arcade game, a narrative beautifully grounded by Lance Guest's earnest portrayal and Robert Preston's charmingly engaging performance as Centauri. The direction under Nick Castle and conceptual art by Ron Cobb enhances this space opera, turning it into a treasured piece for those who admire the fusion of early CGI with storytelling.

    Preserving the integrity of its original cinema magic, the 4K upgrade accentuates the pioneering computer-generated graphics that made The Last Starfighter ahead of its time. Despite being a product of its era with its straightforward plot and undeveloped potential in character depth, the technical execution allows a re-appreciation for its craft. Scenes shot in Santa Clarita doubled for cosmic landscapes, while practical effects and early digital artistry bring a nostalgic texture that benefits greatly from the enhanced resolution and color grading offered in this release. The visual effects, particularly those CGI moments that felt groundbreaking in the '80s, now reveal a delightful vintage charm when experienced in 4K, proving how forward-thinking the film was in terms of technological ambition.

    The movie's theme, blending day-to-day life with grand sci-fi adventure, gets a new lease of life, ensuring that each frame from Earth to Rylos is richly detailed and vibrant. The home video market allowed The Last Starfighter to thrive post-theatrical release, securing its status as an essential sci-fi flick of its time. With Arrow Video's stand-alone 4K UHD release, this film not only celebrates its historical context within the genre but also offers an enhanced viewing experience that respects and revitalizes its original vision for new and returning fans alike.

    Total: 92

    The Last Starfighter," an esteemed 1980s sci-fi adventure, secures its legacy within the genre through Arrow Video's ultramodern 4K UHD restoration. This upgrade not only enhances the film's visual fidelity with a new 2160p presentation complemented by Dolby Vision HDR but also retains its charm, blending old-school effects and early computer animation within this higher resolution format. Although the improved details and enriched color palette might spotlight the film's now-retro technological aspects, these elements contribute to its nostalgic appeal. Included in this single-disc release are fan-centric supplements and a collectible booklet, enriching the overall package.

    Critics and fans alike have observed that while "The Last Starfighter" may not burst with the spectacular visuals expected of today's sci-fi epics, its warm and positive spirit, encapsulated within the improved video quality, offers a comforting throwback to the dawn of the video game era. Arrow's commitment to preserving and enhancing this film for longtime admirers and new viewers alike is evident through not only the technical upgrades but also through a thoughtful assembly of both new and existing extras that complement the main feature.

    In conclusion, Arrow Video's 4K UHD release of "The Last Starfighter" is a commendable achievement that skillfully marries enhanced visual presentation with the intrinsic value of the original film. It stands as a beacon for enthusiasts seeking an enriched viewing experience without sacrificing the essence that originally endeared this movie to its audience. With its blend of improved resolution, faithful color rendition, and a suite of engaging supplements, this release not only comes recommended but is positioned as a must-have for collectors and fans, ensuring that this quintessential 80s adventure continues to inspire and entertain across generations.