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.