War in the Stars
“There’s not much depth to The Last Starfighter. That too pairs to gaming, where subtext was secondary to high scores. Upon arriving on planet Rylos, Rogan never questions his enemy. He just goes along with what he’s told. For all he knows, he’s fighting FOR Space Nazis. But who cares if even the olds fancy his digital flying skills?”
Copy everything said about the gloriously beautiful Blu-ray, but then add a rich, dazzling Dolby Vision pass on top of it. Color makes the most gains. Shots of the actual Starfighter game show incredible vividness. Surrounding environments bring dense, natural greens, and flesh tone accuracy (with an occasional warm push brought on via lighting) is unreal. Splendid contrast amps up, while black levels effectively mirror the Blu-ray; there’s only so much true black to achieve.
Grain reproduction isn’t perfect, but not far from it. Spikes in the source’s grain structure can introduce noise, if limited. Mostly, Last Starfighter maintains the filmic look, untouched by digitally introduced flubs. In that case, resolution can produce superlative sharpness, and detail pops in close. Medium shots look just as elegant in their definition.
Is it worth the upgrade? For a videophile, unquestionably. For more casual viewers, since the Blu-ray is identical in every way other than video quality, it’s a release for Last Starfighter super fans only.
Options come in triplicate, all DTS-HD, same as the Blu-ray. Stereo, 4.1, and 5.1 cram into the sound selection menu. Any of those three produce well managed audio. Fidelity between them doesn’t present any striking difference, although the score’s boomy low-end is better captured by the surround tracks, logically so. Explosions rarely rattle anything (although engines nicely rumble as they pass).
Rear channels pan things around as needed, also offering ambiance. Listen for a hearbeat-like effect in Xur’s command center. Craig Safan’s awesome score spread outward, making full use of the soundstage. There’s slightly better discrete work in the modern 5.1 track, but it’s a negligible upgrade.
Arrow copies their recent Blu-ray. First up in the menu is an interview with Catherine Mary Stewart, running for just under 10-minutes. Composer Craig Safan speaks for 12-minutes. Jonathan Betuel takes the hot seat to speak about his script for a bit past nine minutes. SE Supervisor Kevin Pike adds his thoughts over 10-minutes. A feature on Digital Productions, who handled the groundbreaking CG, runs shy of eight minutes. Collector Estil Vance is pulled in to talk about the arcade game. A great retrospective reaches 24-minutes. Next is a 32-minute making of, definitely older compared to the latter extra. Image galleries and trailers follow.
Head into the audio menu for a triple commentary, the first with Lance and his son Jackson Guest. Second involves director Nick Castle and production designer Ron Cobb, the third bringing in podcaster Mike White.
Full disclosure: This UHD was provided by the label for review. This has not materially affected DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit DoBlu’s about us page.
The Last Starfighter
The Last Starfighter perfectly captures the cultural zeitgeist of the early videogame era.
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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 56 full resolution, uncompressed 4K screen shots ripped directly from the UHD: