The Last Starfighter (1984)

Pretend you are a kid in a trailer park, what is your biggest desire? Probably it has to do with getting out of the dingy little dust trap and finding bigger and better opportunities elsewhere in the world. But if you are Alex then it has to do with “getting out” all the way to space and participating in an intergalactic war which has precious little to do with you.

Enter: The Last Starfighter; a science fiction movie where young Alex is thrust into a battle of life and death. After reaching the high score on a video game he is recruited by the powerful Star League to fight against the evil Kodan Armada. While fighting in space, aided by an assortment of aliens, a clone or Beta Unit tries humorously to fill the void left by him in his absence.  Concluding with a thunderous bang and some nice action the plot is both well written and fun to view.

Whatever the case, the plot thrills as much as it delivers on its epic premise. To this extent the whole movie is one of the better examples of movie-making done right; while made during the early 80s the special effects are superbly crafted. Though still antiquated by todays pre-rendered beauty it holds up well. Not only this but the soundtrack is memorable, the acting inspired, and the direction and writing wonderful with more than a few laugh-out-loud one-liners.

In short The Last Starfighter is one of those “tween” sci-fi films which were able to transcend its narrow cliché and become something of a cult-icon. It harkens back to a time where the public clamored for anything space related yet was bound by the technology at hand. Though it is not the big-budget block-buster of today, I can say with a high degree of honesty that despite the limitation this journey is one to remember.


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