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Directed by Nick Castle in 1984, THE LAST STARFIGHTER is an entertaining sci fi romp that can be described as a fantasy for every budding video game enthusiast, by this I mean it would be every gamers dream come true to be whisked away into the out reaches of the galaxy to become a real Starfighter and fight off the evil forces that supposedly lurk in this area plotting to destroy our planet and others. Although a fairly low budget affair compared with other sci fi pics such as STAR WARS and STAR TREK, STARFIGHTER did receive acclaim for its pioneering use of the CGI effects that the filmmakers employed in the space exteriors and also made greater use of them in the battle scenes for the movie. There are also some good performances from Lance Guest as the confused and bemused teenager Alex Rogan and also the title role character, Catherine Mary Stewart as his girlfriend with Dan O Herlihy (under latex) as Alex’s co pilot who is a reptilian looking individual by the name of Grig. Plus there is also vintage actor Robert Preston in the role of the mysterious and somewhat oddball character Centauri (who if you will forgive me seems a little out of place). One of the films most notable qualities was its rousing symphonic score by composer Craig Safan, I suppose you could say that the composer took his cue from films such as STAR WARS (1977) and even STAR TREK(1979) or BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS (1980) when writing the music for STARFIGHTER, it is rousing, powerful and dramatic but also contains beautifully sweeping and lush melodies that combine with the Korngold like brass flourishes and the exhilarating and driving action themed music to create a score that is now referred to as being a classic soundtrack by many collectors and critics alike. Being a low budget movie the composer could have so easily opted to go with a fully synthesized score which was in vogue at the time of the films release. Thankfully he did not and what we were presented with and treated too was a work of great quality brimming to overflowing with stirring, martial, rhythmic and pulsating themes which are supported and embellished by a handful of cues that are intimate and at times purvey a mood of fragility, melancholy and vulnerability, of course the composer does employ electronic support within the score but it seamlessly fuses with the orchestral parts of the soundtrack, adding dynamic and tantalizing effects to the score. THE LAST STARFIGHTER was a fun movie, something that one could watch and not really have to think about it but at the same time it was a wonderful piece of escapism that had the audience rooting for the heroes and almost hissing the villains. Even now when I catch it occasionally on TV it has stood the test of time and remains an entertaining picture.
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Craig Safan’s score too still hits all the right spots and is in my opinion an essential purchase for any film music collector. It is a robust work and also one which underlines and punctuates the action all the way through, giving the movie and its story-line a greater impact and also actually becomes part of the action that is unfolding upon screen. Growling brass, thundering percussion,busy sounding woodwind and flyaway strings are its main attributes and yes of course a rousing and memorable theme. Available now on the Intrada label, Go buy it…