What do you get when you mix together video games, aliens, spaceships, interstellar wars, and one lonely teenage boy? You get The Last Starfighter, one of my favorite movies of all time. I practically grew up on it and every time I saw it on television I just had to watch it. It made me forget all my problems and become someone else for at least ninety minutes. It sounds strange when I say I’ve been watching for a quarter of a century now and it’s just as good as it has been the first time I saw it. This is a tastefully done space opera with just the right amount of melodrama and action. Plus, the story is very authentic and creative.
The Last Starfighter in many ways transcends its script and creates a universe of its own. Something that most movies from the eighties could do effortlessly. Back then they had a knack for creating that special vibe in the movie, making you love and remember it for the rest of your life. I think we all remember Goonies, Back to the Future, or The Flight of the Navigator just to name a few. They showed ordinary kids, with ordinary problems, but then something extraordinary happens. And somehow they matter and change their life around, giving children hope and something to dream about. Nowadays everything is predetermined and you already have all these abilities, so you do not have to work or practice. You are just fucking born with it and things will pick up…
Alex Rogan lives in a trailer park with his mother and spends most of his days playing the video game Starfighter, living a quite boring and dull life (although he has a quite hot girlfriend). He dreams about leaving the park and living a more fulfilling and interesting life… When he breaks the record of the game he will be visited by a strange man called Centauri offering him a chance to join something that he could never imagine.
What a fucking plot! Just imagine how relatable it is today with so many people playing video games. The Last Starfighter was in many ways ahead of its time. It even features freaking CGI rendered on a Cray X-MP computer. That was the fastest computer in the world for two whole years with an unbelievable quad-processor system performance of 800 MFLOPS! Your microwave now has more computing power, so you can imagine how powerful your mobile phone is. However, the special effects here are quite good and they stood the test of time.
This movie not only has an exciting atmosphere and epic story but also likable characters. From wise-cracking alien Grig to smooth operator Centauri, they are all very charming and fun. Granted, Lance Guest was a bit moody as Alex Rogan, but I guess that’s just the original teen experience. I also don’t need to tell you who had a huge crush on beautiful Catherine Mary Stewart. You might wanna check out Night of the Comet if you liked her here. Finally, I just wanted to let you know that a reboot of this awesome movie is on the way. We don’t know the details yet but judging from the people involved, it should be a good one.
Director: Nick Castle
Writer: Jonathan R. Betuel
Cast: Lance Guest, Dan O’Herlihy, Catherine Mary Stewart, Robert Preston, Norman Snow, Barbara Bosson
Fun Facts: The “Star Car” that Centauri drives is based on the DeLorean automobile, including its gull wing doors and its stainless steel construction.