Rating: PG (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Action & Adventure , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By: Nick Castle
Written By: Jonathan Betuel
In Theaters: Jul 13, 1984 wide
On DVD: Jun 8, 1999 Runtime: 101 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures
(Rotten Tomatoes 2016)
This is a classic tale of a teenager living out his fantasy. Which one of us does not want to have our fantasies turn into reality? Especially when this fantasy is a video game. This movie should appeal to the gamer in all of us. However, if you are a gamer, this should hit closer to home.
The Last Starfighter is about Alex Rogan (played by Lance Guest) a teenager that lives in a trailer park (Rotten Tomatoes 2016). Although he has hopes that one day he could leave his life behind, he is overwhelm by everything he does for everyone in the trailer park. Unable to leave, between fixing antennas and un-plugging toilets, Alex finds no time for himself. His only escape is an Arcade game called “Starfighter”.
Alex has become so good at this game that he is the attraction of the entire trailer park when he surpasses the game record. However, he is unaware that the arcade game is in fact a simulator, tasked with the mission of finding real Starfighters. The individuals discovered to be Starfighters by the arcade game receive an offer to join the Star League, an elite legion of Starfighters from planet Rylos. These Starfighters will protect hundreds of worlds (including Earth) from Xur and the Kodan Armada.
Once the Star League found out that Alex broke the Arcade record, Centauri (played by Robert Preston) shows up with an offer for him (Rotten Tomatoes 2016). Centauri took Alex to Rylos without him knowing what everything was all about or what was going on. Meanwhile at the trailer park, folks were unaware that Alex was gone because Centauri left a Beta unit to replace Alex. The Beta unit took the appearance of Alex and immediately started doing all Alex’s Jobs.
On Rylos, Alex’s first mission as a Starfighter is to go to war with his navigator Grig (played by Dan O’Herlihy) (Rotten Tomatoes 2016). It is during this mission that the entire Star Fighter squadron is killed, except for Alex and Grig. This made Alex “The Last Starfighter”. Since it is one Starfighter against an entire armada and Alex did not want to die, he decided to go home.
Once home, Alex found out that his beta unit has been fighting an assassin sent by Xur to kill him. The Beta unit told Alex that these assassins would not stop coming for him until he gets rid of Xur. He then decides that it was better to go back to Rylos and called Centauri. On his way back to pick up Alex, the assassin shot Centauri.
Alex barely makes it back to Rylos because of Centauri’s injuries, only to see Centauri die in the hangar. Among the destruction of the Rylos base, Alex and Grig go back into their ship to fight Xur. Expecting to die in the fight, since it is one Starfighter against the entire Zodan armada, Alex and Grig take off. In the end, thanks to a strategy Alex learned in the arcade, he had the idea that turned out to work in defeating Xur and the Kodan Armada.
Turned into a hero, Alex returns home to say goodbye to his friends and family. However, before he leaves he asks his girlfriend Maggie (played Catherine Mary Stewart) if she want to go with him (Rotten Tomatoes 2016). After saying no, and in the last minute, Maggie changes her mind and decides to go with Alex.
My rating: 5
This movie has all the classic elements of a typical nice wholesome story. The protagonist has a boring unappealing life, and then becomes a hero due to a dormant talent. That dormant talent turns the protagonist into a hero. The hero wins the war, gets the girl, and flights into the sunset (or in in this case the flights into the stars).
I know that some might not like these kinds of stories, but for me these stories are my favorites. Because these types of movies are a refreshing vacation from our daily lives. Between all the trouble and stress in our average day, it is nice to be able watch a nice pick-me-up movie like this one. This is the type of movie that inspires us to become better at what we do, hoping that we shine in the future.
There are also some unrealistic parts to this movie but these scenes still do not take away the charm of the movie. One example is when Centauri picked up Alex after beating the Arcade game’s record. This is a classic Stanger-Danger scenario. Strange person says I have an offer but first get into my van with no windows (or in in this case my car).
I will also have to talk about the special effects. Even if you are familiar with the special effects of 80’s sci-fi movies, the special effects on this movie might turn you off. This is because the effect in “The Last Starfighter” look fake and made up, as if it made in a low-end computer. However, I feel this is part of the charm of this movie.
In the end, If you like to watch a nice wholesome sci-fi story, then this is the movie for you.
Look at the trailer below.
Copyright © 1983 by Universal/Lorimar (YouTube 2008)
What do you think about this movie? Rate it below.