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The Last Starfighter (Widescreen Collector's

A movie directed by Nick Castle

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When I Grow Up I Want to Be a Starfighter!

  • Nov 24, 2004
Rating:
+3
THE LAST STARFIGHTER is definitely a product of the 1980s. The hair, some of the clothes, the video arcades, the cars, etc. Despite the time period in which it is set, it does a wonderful job of tying in to everything that's great about youth and the optimism of coming of age.

The movie tells the story of Alex Rogan (Lance Guest). Alex is a young kid living in a trailer park who dreams of bigger things and unlike many of those at home, is trying to pursue those dreams. He wants to go to college away from home and begin a new life. Only thing is, he gets rejected from the school he applies to. So Alex starts playing the arade. The trailer park has one arcade game outside of its little country store and Alex is a pro at it. The game is called Starfighter and one night Alex ends up beating the game and achieving an all time new high score. The next day a man named Centauri who claims to be a representative of the company who invented the game shows up to meet with Alex. Turns out, Centauri is an alien who invented the game to find new recruits to join the Star League, an elite group of starfighters who keep the peace throughout the galaxy. Centauri takes Alex to Star League command and he is given a whirlwind tour. The situation is overwhelming for the lad and he requests to be sent home. He does, but by then things have gotten way out of hand and before Alex can say Beta, he finds out that he's the last starfighter.

The acting in the movie is good, especially for a cheesy 1980s sci-fi, boy in space picture. Robert Preston made his final motion picture performance in THE LAST STARFIGHTER and watching some of the behind the scenes stuff on the DVD it's clear that the man was much more talented than many people ever gave him credit for. The special effects in THE LAST STARFIGHTER might seem lame by todays standards but they really aren't all that bad. TRON is recognized as being the first movie to use CGI, but it was THE LAST STARFIGHTER that first used CGI for all its special effects. The effects were produed by the now-ancient Cray Super Computer.

The movie actually is a joy to watch. It's got some snappy dialogue, some interesting concepts (the whole Beta thing), and the first feature length CGI effects in a major motion picture. The film isn't going to change anyone's life, but it is a great movie to sit back and watch at home with a cool Dr Pepper and a bucket full of buttered popcorn. A delightful piece of mind candy that speaks to child in all of us.

The DVD special features include the director commentary, a behind the scenes featurette, production photos and info, and theatrical trailers.

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April 12, 2011
as for your review headline....me too!!
 
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More The Last Starfighter reviews
review by . April 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
How the universe was saved, with a great lizard performed by Dan O'Herlihy
"Greetings, Starfighter," says the mechanical voice of the video game. "You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-dan armada."       In The Last Starfighter Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) is a teenager who lives in a desert trailer park "in the middle of tumbleweeds and tarantulas." He's reasonably smart, has a nice girlfriend and is a little shy. One evening he manages to set a world record on the …
review by . October 31, 2008
The Last Starfighter
'The Last Starfighter' is a 1980's cheesy Sci-Fi movie that manages to overcome the cheap special effects with its charming and enjoyable storyline. Alex (Lance Guest) lives in a community oriented trailer park with his mother. Girlfriend Maggie (Catherine Mary Stewart) lives in another trailer with her grandmother. Life is a dead end here at the Starlight/Starbright trailer park, and Alex wants out. But Alex is thinking college, not space.     When Alex achieves a perfect score …
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About this movie

Wiki

At the time of its original release in 1984, this modestly budgeted sci-fi excursion had the distinction of offering some of the first examples of purely computer-generated animation, an apt (and frugal) special-effects solution for a movie with a plot line rooted in computer games. Both the computer-generated visuals and the arcade game now look quaint, but writer-director Nick Castle's affable, good- hearted adventure holds up nicely, thanks to a clever premise--the title game is actually a test for prospective starship pilots, planted by embattled aliens under siege from an evil invader. When a restless teenager (Lance Guest) racks up an impressive score, he finds himself spirited away to the besieged planet and thrust into the midst of an intergalactic war. Apart from Castle's skill at contrasting his extraterrestrial settings with the mundane details of his hero's earthbound life, the movie gets lift-off from two thorough pros, Robert Preston, who makes the alien recruiter, Centauri, a planet-hopping cousin toThe Music Man's Harold Hill, and Dan O'Herlihy, the alien copilot, who suggests a scaly Walter Brennan. Older fans will snicker, but kids and young teens will find this rite of passage absorbing, while their folks will savor Preston's brash charm.--Sam Sutherland
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Details

Director: Nick Castle
Release Date: January 1, 1984
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: Jonathan R. Betuel
DVD Release Date: June 8, 1999
Runtime: 101 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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