The Last Starfighter/Craig Safan

January 22, 2015

last starfighter 001


Centauri Into Space

This expanded release from Intrada is a re-release from 1995 with a lot of new material from the multi-track masters giving it better sound than their previous release which came from the 1/4″ master given to the composer and the previous source used by Southern Cross and Intrada. Although digital recordings have improved (check out SACD) the sound is still pretty good quality. The release of this soundtrack coincided with the release of the blu ray.

The plot of the story involves a teenager Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) who as a result of defeating an arcade game starfighter is visited by another galaxy Centauri (Robert “Music Man” Preston) to fight for real. The Nick Castle film also featured Barbara Bosson and Dan O’Herlihy. The Lorimar production was one of the first films to use computer graphics and had some success at the box office.

“Main Title,” the opening track, has the sound of  a Star Wars movie but Safan approached his theme differently as explained in the liner notes written by Jon Takis. Talking about the main theme Safan said “What’s nice is it could be used for heroic moments and then could also be used for romantic moments.” While John Williams used the classical piece The Planets by Gustav Holst as an inspiration Safan turned to the Finnish composer Sibelius. It begins with a loud fanfare  from the brass section featuring the trombones with synthesizer harmony all an introduction to the strings of a 100 piece orchestra bringing us the melody. At the end of the track we hear the main theme again this time the softer romantic version. Both styles are featured and are the centerpiece for the soundtrack. “Record Breaker” begins with romantic theme but quickly changes gears and we’re given a nice trombone motif with the sliding effect. A danger sounding motif is a prelude to the EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) which is the motif for Centauri. Safan calls it a snake charmer sound and the cue is also intertwined with more synthesizer coming across like a quack quack of ducks. This soundtrack, which was the case at the time had no dubbing tracks. The synthesizer played right along with the orchestra. Also included in the track are more brass fanfares and a variation of the romantic theme at the end of the track. Since this is my favorite track I’m including it as an audio clip. Pay close attention and listen to a few bars about three minutes into the track. It reminds me of Star Wars. “Krill,” a character in the film played by Dan Mason offers much in the way of classical influence with nods to Stravinsky and the irregular rhythm (noteworthy percussion) and a definite nod to Holst and his work The Planets. It begins in a very low register dark and mysterious with notes from a contrabassoon. This is the premiere offering of this track and my second favorite on the soundtrack.  “Into the Starscape” the finale and end credits is of course filled with the centerpiece of the score, the main title, in both romantic and heroic version. If you wanted a track to go into one of your compilations this would be the track that you would choose as you get a full treatment of brass and the entire symhony orchestra.

A nice release and one that has no limited editions placed on it. This is a nice addition to your science fiction/fantasy collection.

Track listing

1. Main Title (02:31)
2. Alex Dreams (01:44)
3. Record Breaker (02:28)
4. Centauri Into Space (05:59)
5. Rylos (02:01)
6. Beta Transforms (00:44)
7. Gunstars (00:39)
8. Victory Or Death (00:54)
9. Zur (02:30)
10. Krill (04:25)
11. Slap (00:30)
12. Hit Beast (00:54)
13. Centauri Dies (06:53)
14. Target Practice (02:20)
15. Alex’s First Test (02:53)
16. Alex Decides (02:50)
17. Beta’s Sacrifice (03:47)
18. Good Luck Starfighter (00:44)
19. Death Blossom, Ultimate Weapon (04:46)
20. Big Victory March (02:15)
21. Alex Returns (03:28)
22. Into The Starscape (07:21)

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