View Full Version : The Last starfighter - an interesting read for CG buffs

03 March 2006, 02:56 PM
After reminiscing about the film, i found this via the gift of google:

Explains how it looked so damn good at the time!

03 March 2006, 03:00 PM
Awesome article!


03 March 2006, 03:44 PM
This article is from one of the first Cinefantastique mags I ever bought, and itīs great.

Actually, itīs also one of the reasons I work with CGI today... :)

Thanks for the memories!

03 March 2006, 03:52 PM
After reminiscing about the film

it was on TV over the weekend, channel 5 was having a sci fi day or somthing...anyway, its was kinda scary (nostalgia can be)..1st its actualy quite a good film, and 2nd I still remember all the lines from the last time I watched it. (about 15 years ago)

03 March 2006, 04:33 PM
Fancy being a Starfighter? ( :thumbsup:

03 March 2006, 04:38 PM
The boom in computer images is just beginning.

And what a "boom" it was (and is)!

Wickedly awesome article. Thanks for finding & sharing! :thumbsup:

03 March 2006, 04:58 PM
Cool article. John Whitney Jr. of course being the son of the man who invented techniques like motion control and slit-scan. Quite an amazing family.

03 March 2006, 05:46 PM
Yeah I watched the film on Ch5 over the weekend, it was nice to reminisce, I always like to catch my childhood films of the 80's, I think it was seeing these things at the cinema that enthused me about 3d art in the first place.

Looking back the effects didn't seem nearly as impressive as I'd remembered them, but these things never do, I know it was bleeding edge at the time but I did have to chuckle when I read in the article that they felt they had almost nailed photorealistic rendering in some of the shots, and here we are 20 years down the line and we're still not there yet.

03 March 2006, 07:32 PM
Awesome article. It certainly was close to photorealism back then, but I think our idea of what is photoreal has definitely changed, as it will continue to change over time as well. The closest, at this current stage in CGI work, that I've seen in a movie has gotta be work from War of the Worlds and Kong. Some of those shots of Kong were just down right incredible, as were some of the shots from WotW. I'm sure 10 years from now they won't look so photoreal either heh.

03 March 2006, 08:45 PM
And the end of the story goes like this.

"In late 1984 or early 1985, the expenses of running the company, including the high cost of running the Cray, resulted in the need to discontinue the lease on the Cray, and DP was forced to purchase it outright for $17M. Later in 1985, CDC and Ramtek were both suffering financial woes, and they began to look for ways to get out of the movie making business. In June of 1986, they agreed to terms, and DP was bought in a hostile takeover by Omnibus Computer Graphics from Canada. Whitney and Demos sued Ramtek for part of the sale proceeds, and were subsequently locked out of their offices in July and a counter suit was filed alleging that W/D started a competing company (Whitney/Demos Productions) and hired away employees. Omnibus changed the Digital Scene Simulation concept to Omnibus Simulation. They also took over Able and Associates that year, and the entire venture fell apart in 1987."

03 March 2006, 12:06 AM
I am not sure if the DVD has this but I know the laserdisc (might be the criterion collection) does..... A behind the scenes look at The Last Starfighter. Talks about the effects and compurter graphics involved. I think there was something about a bunch of people that worked on the ship sequences went to Dennis Muren during Star Wars and showed off computer generated space battles. He told them that computers weren't the answer and will never pan out in special effects. Can't remember how it went, was a bunch of years ago. Sonded something like that though.

03 March 2006, 01:57 AM
Ah, The Last Starfighter... my favourite film of yesteryear. :)

03 March 2006, 02:40 AM
A great article about one of my favorite films of all time!

Shanks for sharing! :beer:

03 March 2006, 02:43 AM
never heard of this movie before, the article was an interesting read. is this a good movie besides the vfx?


03 March 2006, 04:14 AM
never heard of this movie before, the article was an interesting read. is this a good movie besides the vfx?

It was good in its day. Extraordinarily cheesy by today's standards.
It's still one of those movies that you just have to see, though. Just... because. ;)

03 March 2006, 06:28 AM
I'm dating myself here, but yeah, I own that issue. And yeah it totally inspired me. I was lusting after that digitizing puck for the next 10 years or so, back in the day when Computer Graphics World was mostly a CAD/CAM mag. And it was a thick mag too. Oh, to be on an SGI running Thompson Digital...

The gunstar is still one of the most beautiful fictional spaceships EVER. Right up there with the Falcon and Serenity.

03 March 2006, 04:10 PM
I remember when this movie was new there was a lot of buzz about it. I even remember there being an article about it in, I think, Go-bots magazine. I doubt I read much into it then, but wow, it's interesting to read just how much work and money was put in to make that flick. I'm kinda glad I don't feel old after reading that.

03 March 2006, 04:34 PM
never heard of this movie before, the article was an interesting read. is this a good movie besides the vfx?


If anything it's worth seeing just for the line where the main character explains to his co-pilot what a mobile home was. :D

Well, that and Robert Preston's hair.

03 March 2006, 07:38 PM
oh that's sweeet! One of my favorite movies, awesome article. I've got the soundtrack sitting around here somewhere- I remember the theme was pretty good too.
I like the part when the bad guy's ship is going down and the crew asks "what do we do?" and the main baddie goes "we die". classic

03 March 2006, 11:13 PM
Oh man, thanks for posting this. I remember going to see this because I saw an ad for it in a comic book. Thought it was the coolest movie for years. Especially because it soooo gave me the hots for Catherine Mary Stewart for the entire span of my teen years. God, I can't believe it's been over TWENTY years since this came out. Dammit, how old am I???? Is this thing available on DVD?

03 March 2006, 11:26 PM
Thanks for the article Andy... much apreciated and a great insight into the early days..
did anyone else see this on beta as a kid? better yet anyone remember beta? aaah sweet memorys
yeap its on DVD now, the dvd can be grabbed from amazon for $9.99

03 March 2006, 02:14 AM
Ah yes, 7th grade memories. Ironically, the thing I remember most about this film was walking away from the theater every time saying "Man, I can't wait until video games look like that!"

Flat shaded polygons...bahahaha!

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