Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Movie Review: The Last Starfighter (1984)

The Last Starfighter - 1984 - USA - SciFi - Rated PG
Directed by Nick Castle
Stars Lance Guest, Robert Preston, Kay E. Kuter, Dan Mason, Dan O'Herlihy, Catherine Mary Stewart, Barbara Bosson

An action-packed onscreen realization of many a young child's fantasy to be a hero is presented with bravado in a touching story too.

Alex lives in a trailer park his mother manages and with a close-knit bunch of neighbors much like an extended family. He has dreams of going to college, but put on hold by being turned down for a student loan. His one activity that he is really good at is playing a video game machine at the park. But playing games really isn't going to get him out of the park now is it? Little does anybody realize but that video game is a recruiting device for starfighters to defend the galaxy, and Alex's services are needed. Playing a video game may make him the last hope of the universe.

How many kids have not dreamt of being a fighter pilot shooting down enemy planes or a starfighter shooting alien invaders and saving the day? The Last Starfighter takes a childhood dream and runs with it, all the way to the ends of the galaxy. What makes Alex so appealing is his simple roots of living in a trailer park with close-knit neighbors and being the all around good guy, but with an unfulfilled ambition that is a heartbreaker. Yet, with a recreation so many have popped quarters into he excels at least at something. He is the every boy, the one with unfulfilled dreams that connects with the audience.

The Last Starfighter is obviously an action movie with aliens and space battles, but it is also a story about a young man and the people in his life and those who will come into his life. It builds up the character of Alex and gives the audience a way to connect with something beyond just saving the galaxy, not that saving the galaxy is not important. But his girl and his family and friends, they are what's worth fighting for and what gives his mission more importance than fighting for bits of light scattered in a distant universe of worlds nobody will ever see. The Last Starfighter connects the audience to the story with its mundane roots and yet soars into the vastness of the universe with the action of space battles and aliens, and does so in a very fun and touching manner.

My Rating: 4 Fingers

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