Musings About Music In Film

The Last Starfighter

By Karol Krok TheLastStarfigher_600b

Score: The Last Starfighter

Composer: Craig Safan

The Film: One of the 1980’s classics. The Last Starfighter tells a story of a boy who becomes one of the best players in s-f arcade game and is then transported into the planet that this game depicts in order to fight a real battle. One of the first films to use extensive CG animation and a charming one at that.

The Score: Craig Safan delivers a full symphonic score that is supposed to rival those of many great composers. He took inspirations from many Scandinavian composers  (like Sibelius) to put his own stamp on the space opera music that was popular at the time. This music became a defining work in his career.

Distinguishing Features: The score is dominated by the catchy classic main theme which receives countless statements within the body of this score – from the ‘Main Title’ to the phenomenal ‘Into the Starspace’. The melody is very malleable and serves both heroic struggles and a love story in equal measure. ‘Alex’s First Test’ is a terrific scherzo that can stand alongside the classic pieces from Star Wars as examples of classically symphonic approach to scoring. Safan also uses synthesisers alongside live players. Those colours are blended well enough so that they don’t date the score too much (‘Centauri Into Space’ , ‘Zur’). And there’s also some comic relief (‘Rylos’).

Final Thoughts: The Last Starfighter is yet another splendid release from Intrada (or re-release, rather). Improved sound quality and complete presentation are major attraction. This extremely enjoyable score (with a kick-ass main theme) shouldn’t be missed by anyone.

The Last Starfighter is out now from Intrada Records