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The Last Starfighter: Collector's Edition

The Last Starfighter, upon its release in 1984, was a popular film with many people, full of adolescent-male fantasies and computer-generated special effects, but it hasn't worn well. Young trailer-park denizen Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) dreams of leaving his blue-collar surroundings and heading out in the world to "do something," but with no money to go to college and only a single-minded interest in an arcade video-game, his prospects are dim. But when he is abducted one night by a charming stranger (Robert Preston), he learns that his beloved space-game is actually an extraterrestrial plant, designed to find skilled "Starfighters" from around the galaxy so that they may be recruited into defending a peaceful planet from invading forces. Writer/director Nick Castle, along with his backers Lorimar and Universal, may have had Disney's live-action children's films in mind as their competition, but unlike many kid flicks that also entertain adults, Starfighter doesn't have the crossover quality that makes for a classic. The lead characters are pleasant-but-paper-thin personas, the villain of the piece is ineffective and rarely seen, and many of the attempts at humor are executed with no interest in subtlety or the double-entendré of more sophisticated Disney fare. Even the CGI effects, ambitious for the day, are startlingly primitive by current standards, and detract from the film more than they contribute. For children (and children-at-heart) only. Also starring Dan O'Herlihy, Catherine Mary Stewart, and Barbara Bosson. Good transfer, DD 5.1. Collector's Edition supplements include a 40-minute "making-of" documentary and a commentary track with Castle.

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