Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Last Starfighter: Star Light, Star Bright

I just watched The Last Starfighter again tonight (on blu ray), I've viewed the movie a lot of times. But I still feel like a kid every time I watch it. Who wouldn't?

Released in 1984, from Universal. The Last Starfighter was directed by Nick Castle and written by Jonathan Betuel, who also wrote My Science Project (another favorite of mine). The film is the first to use CGI in the space battles, and although crude it doesn't take away from the film

Its the story about a kid named Alex Rogan, who feels trapped in the small trailer park in California (Though, I'm not sure the movie states a location) that his mother manages. He has big dreams, (we all do at a young age), but his only achievement thus far is breaking the record score of a video game called Starfighter. 

Alex has a girlfriend, Maggie, who loves him, and because of him beating the top record of said video game, she knows her boyfriend is marked for greatness. Little does anyone know however, that the video game was a test, the sword in the stone, if you will, searching for a great pilot and gunner to help fight a galactic war and defend the Star League against Xur and the Kodan armada.

Alas, Alex's dreams are dashed when he is not excepted to the college of his choice. Depressed, he meets Centauri, who introduces himself as a person from the company that made the Satrfighter game.

Before Alex really knows what is happening he is on the ride of his life in a "car" flying through space. Chosen to take the skills he showed on the video game into real combat to protect the galaxy from an invasion. 

That's the basic story line, though there is much more to it. (I think I spoiled it enough.)

The Last Starfighter was released in what many considered, the greatest year for movies. 
With such films like:
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
The Terminator
The Karate Kid
Beverly Hills Cop
Police Academy

It wouldn't be a surprise if the Last Starfighter got lost in the mix, but it held its own at the box office, with a budget 15 Million, the filmed grossed just shy of 29 million, respectable for 1984.

The Last Starfighter is lighthearted fun, that tugs at the heartstrings, right up till the end when Alex comes back to Earth to collect Maggie, his one true love to go with him to the stars.

When I was younger, I always hoped for a sequel. But over the years I feel the story stands alone, it doesn't need to be marred in a forced story for a continuation. Many have tried to remake the film, but the writer, Jonathan Betuel retains the rights to his story, and refuses it to be remade, and I salute him for his choice. The Last Starfighter stands up after thirty-three years, and although the CGI is dated, the film harks back a simpler time, when science fiction wasn't weighed down with doom and gloom. If you haven't watched the Last Starfighter, pop yourself some popcorn, get some cold coke and have fun watching it. 


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