Posts Tagged ‘Blu-Ray’

It All Began (AGAIN) Here

Twenty years ago, a resurgence of Star Wars began not on the big screen but on the printed page.  Back in 1991, the franchise itself was in danger of becoming obsolete and forgotten.  It had been 8 years since Return of the Jedi ( long before the Special Editions and bloody prequels came along).  Enter Lucasfilm Publishing who got the ball rolling and eventually leading to Timothy Zahn penning a three volume series chronicling the further adventures of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and all the rest following the events of the final film.

Yesterday, I finally received my copy of the 20th Anniversary edition of said novel: Heir to the Empire.  It has been sometime since I have checked the novel out from the library.  The book itself is gorgeous featuring a silver-colored dustcover with the New Republic emblem prominently displayed.  Underneath the cover is a rendering of the original cover.  Inside in the introductory remarks, the author and his editor provide insight into the story behind the new trilogy.  Something new in the meat of the book is annotations by Zahn providing insight into the development of characters and events.  Names of friends, acquaintances, and contest winners became a part of the Expanded Universe!  I have not yet begun to read the story itself but was captivated by the anecdotes including some flack from fans the author took for introducing such “Earthly” items as hot chocolate into the SW universe.  Also a well-known Trek term was given some highlight but was quickly defended.

I must say that I am throughly enjoying the book and I haven’t even started it yet!

Ok… ok… should I or shouldn’t I comment on the OTHER big Star Wars event that happened yesterday.  All right I will.  For the first time, the entire cinematic saga (Episodes I-VI) are available on Blu-Ray.  Personally, I have no problem with the release itself.  I just grow weary of George Lucas changing the movies for each new release.  I accepted the Special Edition releases of the original films prior to the much-inferior (IMHO) prequels.  Now it seems that he adds pointless bits every 10 years or so.  I agree with those who state that they are his movies and can do what he likes with them but do not like the “inclusion for the sake of inclusion.”  Aliens being included via the wonder of CGI that were not there before.  And the most awful inclusion of all:

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Greetings Starfighter!

You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan armada.

Thus begins Alex Rogan’s adventures. In the beginning of The Last Starfighter, the teenager who dreams of escaping the dismal world of the Starlight Starbright trailer park finds freedom in the Starfighter video game. Little does he realize that the game is much more than your average quarter muncher. After breaking the high score on the box, a mysterious, fast talking man drives up in a futuristic car and whisks Alex off to the stars to play the game for real. So much for thinking escape meant going anywhere but city college.

Has it really been 25 years since I sat in a Dallas, Texas multiplex with my brother to watch this extremely cool movie? I have been searching for a long time for this lost gem from 1984 and until Tuesday have met with disappointment. I received an email announcing the release of a 25th Anniversary edition but nothing on a regular DVD (ok, so it is available on DVD, just was not at the store I was in). Last night, I introduced my niece and nephew to one of my childhood favorites (ok, so I was in double digits when it was released). Noah and Elizabeth really enjoyed it. Noah totally ignored his still playing Nintendo DS. At first, Elizabeth wanted to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but I convinced her that this is much better.

The space battle scenes look just like those of an 80’s video game which is part of the movie’s charm. Although the story of the young man longing for something more closely resembles that of Luke Skywalker, The Last Starfighter does not try to become the next great sci-fi franchise (this was a year following the release of Return of the Jedi).. No huge name actors and none that I can think of that became everyday names: Lance Guest? Catherine Mary Stewart? The only name that is immediately recognizable (to me, anyway) is Robert Preston who plays the brilliant Centauri. Of course when I was 11 years old, I had no idea that he originated the role of Professor Harold Hill. I still would rather watch him in this even if the roles are similar in most respects: smooth talking traveling salesmen.  Plus, the musical score for the movie is just great as any good sci-fi movie must have.  A big, brassy fanfare plus heroic moments full of romance that get the adrenaline flowing.

I would say this is very family-friendly except for a few expletives spouted off by Alex’s younger brother Louis. And it looks and sounds even better on Blu-Ray. I had to look to find that another lowlight of Lance Guest’s career was Jaws: The Revenge. Not one I will be looking for anytime soon.