The Last Starfighter (Collector’s Edition 4K Ultra HD Review)

The 1980s produced some of Science Fiction’s most memorable films. A time where special effects were making tremendous strides, the era had a wonderful balance of Sci-fi movies that were fantastical enough for children to watch, like 1982’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, but also scary enough to bend genres, like 1986’s Aliens. With so many entries throughout the decade, one that still stands out in the hearts of fans is 1984’s The Last Starfighter.

Directed by Nick Castle (co-writer of 1981’s Escape from New York, plus director of films such as 1993’s Dennis the Menace), and released in July of ’84, the film had a decent amount of success. Going up against other box office hits during that summer such as Conan the Destroyer or The Karate Kid, which were released a few weeks prior, The Last Starfighter cost around $14,000,000 to make and grossed around $29,000,000. Not all too bad considering the competition, the longevity of The Last Starfighter is truly its legacy though. Becoming a cult classic in many aspects, perhaps the most enduring quality is the film’s fantastic sense of positivity and fun.

For those who have yet to see the film, it is really quite simple – Alex Rogan (Lance Guest: Halloween II 1981, Jaws: The Revenge 1987) is a teenager preparing to make his next move in life, but feeling skeptical about himself. Deciding whether or not to go off to college, but also torn between his family and his sweetheart, Maggie Gordon (Catherine Mary Stewart: Night of the Comet 1984, Weekend at Bernie’s 1989), Alex is a character many can relate with. Lacking self-confidence or purpose, he is however quite good at an arcade game called Starfighter. To the average person this is really nothing special, however, little does Alex know that the game is from another world looking to scout the next great starfighter to defend the galaxy. Soon finding out, Alex is taken to a world beyond the stars where he is asked to save a plethora of planets from enslavement and destruction. Can one teenager really save the world… or will his own inequities stop him?

That is the gist of the story, and in truth, is really quite inspiring. Why? Because we can all doubt ourselves in life… and these doubts can be the difference between reaching our full potential or not. What The Last Starfighter really boils down to is that it was crafted in a way that a larger audience can enjoy it. In fact, it is perfect for children of all ages because there is really nothing too harsh amidst the opening and ending credits.

All these factors in mind, just a year shy of The Last Starfighter’s 40th anniversary, Arrow Video has decided to offer it in a special Collector’s Edition 4K Ultra HD format. Released May 30, 2023, the single disc Blu-ray is newly restored from a 4K scan of the original film negatives and features a 4.1 mix originally created for the film’s 70mm release. Adding to it all, this release features a ton of extra features including a really nice collector’s booklet, plus archrival bonus features such as interviews.

Quite nicely put together, the true selling point of this release is how impeccable the 4K transfer is. Crystal clear and brighter, the transfer offers new details to the viewing experience that is really quite exciting. In fact, the transfer is so impressive that it stands up there with some of the best recently released to the public. So, if you are looking to escape this world and launch off into one beyond, The Last Starfighter Collector’s Edition 4K Ultra HD release is absolutely worth picking up. A must have for fans of ‘80s Science Fiction, Cryptic Rock gives this 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Last Starfighter / Arrow Video (2023)

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