Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ron Cobb Shines in 'The Last Starfighter' 25th Anniversay Edition [Review]

Thursday, November 17, 2011 - by Maurice Mitchell 0

Note: This is a review of the quality of the special features and not the movie itself.

The Last Starfighter (25th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] is a good DVD with memorable interviews with production designer Ron Cobb.

The Last Starfighter (1984) has been one of my guilty pleasures since I was a kid. It's not a great movie by any means, but the break-through special effects and the heart-warming story of a video game junkie that becomes a fighter pilot always warmed my heart. It seems unfair that the Blu-Ray is less than $15 and the DVD is in the $5 bin. I know it's not great, but it's better than it's shelf mate Popeye.

Description
"Greetings, Starfighter! You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Kodan Armada.” So begins an adventure of galactic proportions in The Last Starfighter. After Earthling Alex (Lance Guest) conquers the Starfighter video game, he is recruited by alien Centauri (Robert Preston) to be part of an elite legion of fighters. Leaving behind his trailer park home for the outer regions of space, Alex becomes the last hope for the beleaguered Star League and hundreds of worlds – including Earth. Loaded with out-of-this-world bonus features and digitally remastered for optimum picture quality, The Last Starfighter 25th Anniversary Edition is the ultimate video game fantasy come true"

Special Features Review
Heroes of the Screen
A making of featurette that covered a lot of the same ground as the the later video "Crossing the Frontier". Most of the footage is the same with one noteable exception: Paul Power the storyboard artist. They even do a time-lapse of his starting a storyboard and talking about his philosophy.

Crossing the Frontier: Making The Last Starfighter
In the 32-minute making of featurette, “Crossing the Frontier: Making the Last Starfighter” key members of the crew are brought back to talk about the making of the movie and it's mind-blowing. From one scene where the technical director does the math on a chalkboard and tells them they should use models to stories about sleeping on Cray computers it really makes you appreciate how much work it took for the film.

The highlight for me was watching Ron Cobb. The guy is humble and honest talking about the development. Part of the feature focuses on how they took advantage of his drafting skills to plot every single line of the ships he designed. They basically scanned them into the computer and ran with it. Besides designing the vehicles he also designed Xur's scepter.

Image Gallery
An extensive Image Gallery has numerous production and promotional photos on the characters, ships, merchandise. The gallery shows concept art and drawings for the Starcar, Starfighter and Starfighter landing bay.

Overall, it would have been nice to see some more designs, but the interviews with the great Ron Cobb more than made up for it.

You can see more amazing storyboards from Paul Power at his website http://www.paulpower.com/
Maybe one day Cobb will finish his website http://roncobb.net/ 

Stars: 3.5 out of 5

About the Author

Maurice Mitchell
Lover of science fiction and art.

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