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A "gem" from the 80's
dirvine-213 January 2004
This is a lost gem of a movie from the generation of "E.T.", Indiana Jones, Star Wars, etc...

When a friend showed it to me on VHS in 1984 I loved it for its originality, warmth & humor, as well as being impressed with the first-time computer-generated special effects for this kind of sci-fi film.

When I saw the 'special edition' DVD in Widescreen I snatched it right up and found that I enjoyed it as much as I did 20 years ago! The movie's special effects still looked good to me, especially the "Star Car" (my personal favorite).

But the special effects are not the centerpiece of this film. It has plenty of charm of its own to offer in plot, story, warmth, humor & good performances. Craig Safan's music score for this film is one of my all-time favorites. It almost outsizes this movie but it fits just the same.

"Starfighter" is a real gem from the 80's I will treasure in my movie collection.
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Its not the plot or effects, its the characters that work...
davehawk-17 November 2006
None of the other reviews of this film (at least those that I have seen) understand what makes this movie so wonderful. This is one of the few movies I can recall that treat teenagers with some respect, instead of as cartoon characters. Alex has the same kinds of dreams and problems we all had at the age of 18, but he really does try to do the right thing, even when it goes against his desires. The film does not show the generation gap as a battlefield, but as a fact of life that Alex has to live with, and not one that is entirely negative.

This film is totally driven by the characters. The plot, and even the CGI, while groundbreaking for the day, are not the real magic here. It is the characters.
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Cool really cool
arthurclay8 June 2005
Another film from my youth and fabulous. A kid from a trailer park is recruited to fight in an intergalactic battle against an evil madman and his unstoppable armada in a star fight to the death. And he doesn't want the job. I really got into this one it's totally enjoyable. There is a lot of humor and action mixed quite well. Robert Preston is like butter he's good no matter what. He delivers the quips and jokes with just the right amount of wit and energy. And he warms your heart. I miss that guy I was very sorry to find out he had passed on. I remember him from many films like Beau Geste and the Music Man. I simply cherish this film and many other people do too.
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Fantastic Sci-Fi Movie that captures the spirit of 80's Cinema
Sean B23 June 2005
The story is simple and has probably been retold in every heroic setting possible. It's also a bit of wish fulfillment for those of us that grew up pumping quarters into arcade video games.

In my opinion the acting is above average for a movie like this. It is much helped by veteran actors Robert Preston and Dan O'Herlihy. Lance Guest does a great turn as Alex as well.

The effects were not appreciated at the time, I think, but hold up fairly well. They were drawn on that Holy Grail of computers to us children of the 80's; a Kray Supercomputer.

The score is well done, the humor timed well and the overall good feeling I get from watching it never fades. You can't go wrong with this gem.
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The Father of all CGI movies
XweAponX25 January 2009
If you run through the end credits you will see names like Jeffery Okun (Independence Day) and Jim Rygiel (Lord of the Rings and Starship Troopers) as well as several other people for whom this might have been their first film- It is certainly the first feature length film with a lot of CGI... Considering that the Macintosh had not even been invented yet, and the only PC was the IBM PC/XT, it is an incredible feat of CGI for the time, this was a time when "computer" did not mean a PC with XP or Vista installed, it meant a Box with Plugs, and you had to buy peripherals and hook them up, and some computers did not even have a monitor, the Printers just echoed what you typed on the keyboard- Hence the term in a DOS "Autoexec.Bat" file- "Echo On" which was the command to tell the PC to "print" what you typed onto the printer, which was likely a huge Dot-matrix monstrosity.

When you think of the State of the Art in 1983 and the SOA Now... It is amazing that the special effects department ever was able to get this done. At that time, there were not even any Hard Disk Drives for storage medium. So it is not surprising at all that they had to borrow a Cray for this.

This is a very fine film... I rented it from Von's back in 1984 on a beta tape and watched it with my mom, and she liked it as well. She really liked the characters of Grig and Centauri.

Just to make a comment here about the look of the "aliens" - Which look like Minbari from Babylon-5. But if you look close, you can virtually detect pieces of set that ended up in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and in Star Trek: The Next Generatiion. I refer to the Table on the Command ship around which the commanders are clustered, and also, in the Starfighter base, there is a little gizmo that lies on it's side, with two long glass tubes through which Ruby laser is being fed- This was part of Beverly Crusher's Apparatus on the Enterprise D. So in a way, if this film had not been made, a lot of the look of some of the places in ST:TNG would have been different, including Engineering in ST:TNG, which ended up with that Table from the Command Ship. I would know those set pieces anywhere... And if anyone has seen "Bladerunner: Dangerous Days" They would see that indeed, lots of pieces made for other films end up in unlikely places, and in Bladerunner, whenever the Spinners fly over a city scene, if you look carefully you can see, The Millennium Falcon, pointed upright.

The non-cgi parts of this story are filmed just as well as any of the scifi fare of the day... The only weakness in my opinion is the blending of the CGI shots to the filmed stock. It is amazing the the CGI work was done on a Cray Supercomputer- And it is far from the hero work on LOTR, King Kong, Iron Man... But for its time, it was great. I remember when I first saw it, I actually liked the look... If you think about it, the stark CGI look of the starfighters, and the Frontier, and the base, and the command ship: It is all very much like a video game, and so this fits in very well with the plot of an alien man parking a "Starfighter Test" disguised as a video game in a trailer park in order to find Starfighters for this little episode.

It is as if Alex's whole POV is as if the video game has been expanded to a much larger scale. I immensely enjoyed the "Death Blossom" gag, it had humor and class. The HUD probably was influential for games like Descent Freespace and Mech Warrior 2.

The idea of having a personal robot to take ones place in uncomfortable circumstances is explored in this film, much to Alex's chagrin with his girlfriend.

I find the character actors in this well chosen, including Meg Wylie (One of the Talosians from the Pilot Star Trek Episode "The Cage") as Maggie's Grandmother, who at the end of the film gives a kind of "Salute" from Trek to Starfighter- Of you look close for it.

It would please me, and a large amount of fans no end to have a new "Special Effects" version of this film where the CGI could be run through a few things to give it a bit more realism, but that may spoil the FPS (First Person Shooter) effect of the film.
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A fun movie and... hey in it's own way... Legendary
radiopal21 January 2004
I love THE LAST STARFIGHTER... it's a good, fun movie. A matinee type of film. It's not as great as Star Wars or some of the big budget movies of the time... (hmmm, where there any big budget Sci Fi movies other than Star Wars at the time?) The acting, though not great was charming. Lance Guest (brillantly playing Alex and the very naive Beta), Greg O'Herlihy (sp) playing the loveable Lizard creature Grig and of course.... Robert Preston as rascalous Centauri. And something that I forgot for a long time (until I saw it at a local store and had to buy it on DVD) was that this was one, if not THE, first movie to utilize CGI. Yeah, it's a far cry from what filmakers can do now with Apple Rendering software. But when I saw the movie in the Theater, I was impressed and thought that if Computer Graphics were this good in the this first movie... how much it will grow. It's a movie well worth having in your library. And as I'm watching it right now, I'm glad that I have it in mine.
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Silly, enjoyable, fun
stills-618 September 1999
Granted, I'm a child of the 80s, so there's some nostalgia at work here, but I'm surprised at how interesting and enjoyable this movie is. It sounds like a turkey when you read the main plot line, but it's very well-done and charming for what it is. Sure, it has its problems, but it never claims to be anything other than teenage sci-fi. A good ride.
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One of My Favorite Cult-Movies of the 80's
Claudio Carvalho29 January 2012
Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) lives in a trailer park with his mother Jane Rogan (Barbara Bosson) and his younger brother Louis (Chris Hebert). Alex is a handyman that helps his neighbors in small tasks and he is waiting for a loan to go to the university and move from the camp with his girlfriend Maggie Gordon (Catherine Mary Stewart) to the city. However, Alex receives a letter informing that his request of loan had been denied for his great deception.

When Alex breaks the record of the Starfighter video game, he is visited by a man called Centauri (Robert Preston) that tells him that he works in the company that manufactures the game and invites him to a ride in his car. Sooner Alex learns that Centauri's car is a spacecraft and the Starfighter game is actually a test to find skilled warriors to protect the Star League frontier against Xur (Normam Snow) and Kodan (George McDaniel) armada. Alex arrives in the planet Rylos but he refuses the invitation. Alex returns to his house and finds that he is hunted by alien agents sent by Xur to kill him. He summons Centauri and learns that all the starfighters have been murdered in a treacherous attack to the Rylos' base. Now, Alex and his partner Grig (Dan O'Herlihy) are the last chance to avoid the invasion of the cruel Xur.

"The Last Starfighter" is one of my favorite cult-movies of the 80's. The artless special effects are very poor in the present day but who cares? The delightful story of a teenager that dreams on going away from the trailer camp where he lives and becomes the savior of the universe is highly entertaining and also funny, since the situation of the Beta Alex with Maggie is hilarious. Unfortunately this film has only been released on VHS in Brazil. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "O Último Guerreiro das Estrelas" ("The Last Warrior from the Stars")
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Juvenile Space Opera Fun
Space_Mafune19 August 2003
This video game/ STAR WARS inspired space opera epic is more fun than it probably has any right to be. While there is an instant or two where the film suffers greatly from a case of the "cutes", the great casting here makes this one remain worthwhile. In particular Dan O' Herlihy, with his performance as Alex Rogan's alien friend Grig, absolutely steals this movie and gets to deliver most of the best lines. And when he's not stealing the picture, another veteran character actor named Robert Preston (Centauri) is. Good stuff especially suitable for teenage sci-fi fans but even as an adult I cannot help but have a soft spot for this cast...even Lance Guest and Catherine Mary Stuart do alright here.
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War Beyond the Stars.
tfrizzell23 May 2005
With the original "Star Wars" trilogy still fresh in the public's mind in 1984, "The Last Starfighter" was produced. Commercially the film did only fairly well at the box office, but that is not saying that this is not a more than adequate little science fiction entry. High-schooler Lance Guest is approached by a couple of aliens (Robert Preston and an unrecognizable Dan O'Herlihy) to go to a galaxy far, far away and fight an evil empire. Sound familiar? He is recruited for his mission via an arcade game of all things. Catherine Mary Stewart shines as Guest's love interest. Nothing spectacular and somewhat dated, but still a pleasant surprise that you will not regret watching. 4 stars out of 5.
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This movie rocks.
Snap Dad26 April 1999
When I was a young lad, my parents saw this movie in a bargain bin for about $5, and bought it for me. I must have seen it about a thousand times, and I know all the dialogue by heart (even the parts I didn't understand when i was a kid). This movie is about an unlikely hero, who is picked to fight an intergalactic battle, and how was he found? Well this guy made a video game simulation of the battle that was taking place in outer space, and sent it across the universe. Of course this kid just happened to have the skills needed to defeat the video game, and kill the virtual bad guys. When a guy in a flying car (this is literally where Back to the Future Prt II got it from) he is told that the game is not only a video simulation, but also a test, and now he must leave his family and join the Star League and become a 'Starfighter'.

I enjoyed this movie immensely when I was a kid. For me it holds the same cult status as 'The Blues Brothers', and now when I watch it, it seems as good today as it did 15 years ago.

When compared to today's high-quality graphics and effects, this movie may seem a little lame, and it is, but when I consider that this movie was one of the first to use complete computer graphical effects, it makes me think "Wow, that was a great movie".

So if you see it now, you may not think it's as great as I have made it out to be... but your kids are gonna love it.
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Fun film about a youngster who is recruited to help save a far planet under attack
ma-cortes9 October 2011
This is a hybrid of Sci-Fi/fantasy/ and comedy ; dealing with a video-gaming boy, seemingly doomed to remain at his trailer park home all his existence , finds himself enlisted as a gunner for an alien defense force. He is named Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) who lives in a remote trailer court where his mummy (Barbara Bosson) is manager and everyone is like a big extended family and along with his enjoyable girlfriend (Catherine Mary Stewart) . Meantime, Alex turns the top player of Starfighter, a stand-up arcade game where the player guards "the frontier" from "Xur and the Kodan armada" in a space battle ,after getting video game prowess it makes him the main objective from extraterrestrial forces as good aliens as bad aliens. After achieving his best score, he is approached by the Arcade game's inventor, named Centauri (old Robert Preston's last movie). In his wildest dreams Alex never suspected that tonight he would become...The Last Starfighter , a gunner from outland and all sorts of bizarre things begin to happen . Stepping into Centauri's vehicle, he is seemingly doomed to stay at his roulette all in his life ; however ,he soon finds himself recruited as prime pilot for an alien defense force (commanded by Daniel O'Herlihy) to do battle in outer space and take on arch-villains.

This agreeable comedy/Sci-Fi film packs action , comic dialog ,hilarious situations, thrills , a love story and is pretty entertaining . Passable computer generator FX , though nowadays dated , with spectacular dogfighting and innovative by that time of the 80s. Very good and rousing musical score by Craig Safan in John Williams style .

Likable Lance Guest as a videogaming boy living in a trailer park home who undertakes a risked adventure , a gorgeous and enjoyable Catherine Mary Stewart and Dan O'Herlihy who's unrecognizable in lizard-like makeup ; of course , excellent, as always, veteran Robert Preston as Centauri who actually is a disguised alien who whisks him off to another planet . The motion picture is professionally directed by Nick Castle . He is a prestigious writer and filmmaker as ¨The boy who could fly , ¨Tag : assassination game¨ , ¨Delivering Milo¨ , ¨Dennis the menace¨, ¨Major Payne¨ and ¨Tap¨. It's viewing delight and amusing though toothless entertainment that benefits greatly from sympathetic acting and rudimentary but effective special effects.
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Cool movie.
Peach-22 January 1999
If you enjoy a Star Wars-type science fiction film, then you will probably enjoy The Last Starfighter. The special effects are very interesting and the story is very cool. I liked this movie quite a bit and really enjoyed Robert Preston's performance. A little trivia for you guys, Nick Castle,the director, played The Shape in John Carpenter's original Halloween.
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stuff that wakes up the hero in you!
phdgmourey26 April 2009
What makes the true quality of a movie is ...did it leave a long lasting positive message in people's mind? This movie did! it is clean fun,got a great adventure but also reminds us that one person can make a difference and not a small one...simple message but true! We must nowadays remind ourselves that when something is good,to take it for what it is and enjoy it,instead of trying to find faults with it. this movie is a must for inspiration because the music alone will make you dream and a sense of noble act will follow...

Enjoy that movie again because at the end of the day,from its music score to the story,it will make you feel empowered for the day for sure! And if I am French and can dig that (I spent more than twelve years in the USA) then I know you will too.
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Still a fun movie over 20 years on
andyjcox4 January 2007
I have not watched this film since I was a young boy and I had fond memories of it. I am now 32 and it was on UK TV today I thought I will watch it but I was sure it would ruin the fond images I had of this film.

I was mistaken although over 23 years old this film is a classic and still stands the tests of time. The special effects have a charm of their own and over all this is a fun enjoyable movie with a great story.

It is an honest film that although has some violence it is suitable for the whole family.

I am still waiting for the game of this film to come out they could do it perfectly now days!
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A vastly underrated gem that stands the test of time
moviefan1725-19 September 2006
Today's audiences will rarely see a movie that doesn't contain some sort of CGI effects. But back 1984 they were just taking the first steps into this age of effects. Both The Last Starfighter and Tron took the leap, and both made the most of it. While the effects of Starfighter are certainly dated, the movie isn't. Simply because it doesn't make the mistake that so many effects-heavy movies never loses sight of character. The characters and the story are the most important elements here, and that's what makes timeless. Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) is a young man that, like Luke Skywalker, dreams of his life becoming more than what it seems he is destined for. In Star Wars, you can feel the dreams that Luke has as he looks out over the Tatooine desert at the twin sunset. There is a similar moment in Starfighter when Alex sits in his room, and stares at the mobile of the solar system on his bedroom ceiling being blown about by the wind coming through the window. When he breaks the record on the Starfighter game, he is recruited by a mysterious visitor named Centauri (Robert Preston), who is in fact an alien that reveals to him that the Starfighter game is a test sent out across the universe to find the few with the "gift" to become true Starfighters. Whisked away to the planet Rylos, Alex finds that he is needed to defend the universe against the villains he defeated in the game. Back on earth, Alex is replaced by a "simuloid" called Beta who looks like Alex, but has no idea on how to be him. Especially when it comes to matters of the heart with Alex's girlfriend Maggie (the stunning Catherine Mary Stewart). But heart is what this movie has in abundance. It's light hearted, exciting, funny, and moving. It's literally the kind of movie you don't see anymore, and that's a shame. In today's age, the characters in movies similar to this, are as phony as the CGI worlds they inhabit. But Starfighter never lets us forget that no matter how spectacular a visual effect is, it's an empty thing without people to care about. Another element that cannot be ignored is the musical score by Craig Safan. It's one of the best of the 80's. Similar to John Williams' Star Wars and Superman themes, it change in tempo can make it exciting or romantic. I really wish I could find it on CD. I saw this movie for the first time in 1984, and today I shared it for the first time with my two kids, ages 9 and 7. They LOVED it. My son wanted to know if there was a REAL video game for it, or if there were action figures for it. It was really special to share this movie with them. It proves it's multi-generational, and worthy of a place in movie history, for more reasons than just it's ground breaking visual effects. A classic.
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80's Sci-Fi at it's best
chvylvr8014 October 2003
Being a child of the eighties, I can remember this movie fondly and with a lot of nostalgia for a time when movies that are corny now were just pretty damn cool then. The Last Starfighter is a great example except it isn't corny.

Some people are complaining about the visual effects but let me tell ya, they are pretty good even by today's standards. Some of these effects snobs think that if a movie's effects aren't groundbreaking or super realistic, they aren't good. Special effects are effective if they enhance a movie, not just because they use the latest computer effects or bring something entirely new to the movie world. Anyway, back to the movie.

The cast all does a good job but none of them ever went on to fame, a occurance that I blame solely on soulless Hollywood execs. Lance Guest especially, come on he did a good job. He deserves better. The plot is simple but fun and this movie is perfect for kids, as I was at the time I saw this the first thru 300th time. This movie has everything: video games, aliens, space dogfights, lasergun battles, teen angst, and 80's cheese. The Last Starfighter is a classic. Bottom Line: What a movie. If you were alive in the 80's and you missed this then you are so deprived. If you haven't seen it yet then stop reading this and go rent it or something.
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Sweet, Exciting Science Fiction Adventure!
Ben Burgraff (cariart)16 November 2000
A combination of 'Coming-of-Age', 'Small-town U.S.A.', and Science Fiction films, 'The Last Starfighter' is one of that rare breed of films that actually become more enjoyable after repeated viewings!

Famous in film history as the first film to utilize computer-generated FX for its space scenes (producing a 'big-budget' look to more modestly budgeted film), the effects today seem as creaky and out-of-date as the 'Last Starfighter' arcade game that teenager Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) is so expert at! Don't let this put you off, though, as this story is really about the youngster, and being willing to take advantage of an opportunity to 'shine', as Otis (Vernon Washington), his best friend at his trailer park home, reminds him.

The concept of the game being a secret test for fighter pilots is clever, and when game creator Robert Preston (who is magnificent, in his last screen appearance) whisks young Rogan off to fight in an interstellar war, all of the youngster's long-stated ambitions to leave home and make something of his life are tested. In a series of amusing scenes, our hero stumbles through his first encounter with alien races, meeting the affable Grig (an unrecognizable Dan O'Herlihy, who nearly steals the movie), the pilot of his fightercraft. A truly cosmic adventure is about to begin!

Guest is terrific as Alex, conveying both the humor and frustration of growing up in the trailer park; Catherine Mary Stewart, as his girlfriend, is equally good! As Alex' space-fixated younger brother, Louis, Chris Hebert has some of the film's funniest lines, and the image of him, taking his shot at the arcade game and a chance to become a Starfighter, is actually moving!

Special praise should be given to Craig Safan's rousing score, some of the most beautiful, sweeping music since 'Star Wars'!

'The Last Starfighter' has achieved near-cult film status over the years, and is a rich experience you'll enjoy, again and again! I STRONGLY recommend it!
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It's Space Opera; but it's fun Space Opera!
Daryle23 October 2008
I just watched this again for the first time in probably a two decades. Sure the CGI has been eclipsed but it definitely pushed the envelope at the time and should be considered an excellent evolutionary example. Heck I remember when Cray was synonymous with supercomputing and it was so cool to have a film rendered on one. The cast was definitely above average for an 80's flick and they, along with the movie in general, has aged rather well. The soundtrack is also rousing and satisfying for the genre. One thing I noticed this time is that I'll bet Luc Besson saw this movie and copied the "frontier" in 'The Fifth Element'. Oh, and I also caught the 'Dr. Strangelove' line before even looking at the trivia (although I was surprised that it was an actual audio clip from Slim Pickens scene). Anyhow a great little escapist movie for those who dream of the day their Centauri shows up and whisks them away to a glamorous and heroic new life. (sniff) :-D
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Move over Star Wars!
DAVID SIM15 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The opening credits of The Last Starfighter leave trails of light in a background of stars. As I was watching it, I couldn't shake the fact that it reminded me of the opening for Superman. And even the theme music sounds like it was composed by John Williams. I don't mean any of this to sound like a criticism, but you might be forgiven for thinking TLS is more than a tad derivative.

And when the plot is a boy whisked away to the stars to fight against an oppressive empire out to conquer the galaxy, Star Wars will definitely be the next film to cross your mind. But The Last Starfighter is not a carbon copy, but rather puts an ingenious twist on the same scenario.

The boy in question, Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) is an avid video gamer. He is a young man who dreams of moving away from the trailer park he seems stuck in, and gets frustrated at every turn. One night, he breaks the top score on his favourite arcade game, Starfighter. And when he does, a man called Centauri (Robert Preston) arrives in a flying car, takes Alex into space, and drafts him into the Star League as a Starfighter pilot.

The Last Starfighter is not the ripoff of Star Wars it easily seems to be. The whole video game angle is what gives it whole new dimensions. Alex's time as a Starfighter is almost treated like one gigantic video game.

TLS was one of the first films to use wholly computer generated imagery, and the technology has allowed the filmmakers to create fleets of ships in perfect clarity. Maybe a little too perfect. When I watch the film, I can tell that a lot of the ships being created are nothing more than something dreamt up on a computer. They look too crystallised. But maybe that's the point. Since the film is grounded in the surroundings of a video game, what we see resembles one. And it has to be said, some of the space battles are quite dazzling on the eyes.

The film is pure wish-fulfilment fantasy. But I thought the idea of arcade machines being placed on Earth by aliens as testing devices for potential Starfighter recruits was rather clever, and its the ingenuity of this conceit that allows TLS to entertain as strongly as it does.

Directed by Nick Castle, he is a filmmaker who never really went on to a rich film career. Aside from this film and his next one, the underrated The Boy Who Could Fly, none of his other films are particularly memorable. But with this one, he shows a lightness of touch and a real dexterity when it comes to narrative structure. Something he would repeat with TBWCF.

A lot of the characterisations are warm and believable (except for the whole trailer park being video game addicts). Lance Guest is OK in the part of Alex, even if he doesn't really stand out. He pulls double-duty as Beta-Alex, a robot meant to take his place on Earth while Alex is out saving the galaxy. And he's far funnier in this role. Misunderstanding the human culture, and he doesn't like it when Alex's girlfriend puts her tongue in his ear. Shocking!

More successful are the supporting cast in space. Robert Preston brings a likable affability to Centauri, and drives a car that looks suspiciously like the time machine from Back to the Future (But since TLS was made first, did BTTF rip off that idea? It's an intriguing notion to consider!). His character arc didn't need a return from the dead cliché though.

But the star performer of the whole film is Dan O'Herlihy as Grig, Alex's co-pilot who shows him the ropes. He's an intensely likable character, and although buried in makeup, his voice alone allows his endearing personality to shine through warm and bright. Alex and Grig are amusing together, and one wishes the film were built up more around their friendship.

The Last Starfighter is played more or less tongue in cheek, which prevents things from getting too silly. And although I wasn't always convinced that Alex beats such insurmountable odds, it's much too enjoyable a film to be discarded. Castle's direction is slick and engaging. There are plenty of space dogfights to enjoy. And there's quite a wide variety of special effects, makeup work and impressive set designs to feast upon.

An overlooked film well worthy of reappraisal.
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Simple the best
sanctuary2229 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I would give this movie an 11 if I could. Even now after 30 years, I still laugh at the early scenes' subtle jokes and intricate character interplay while crying multiple times as love and commitment continually overcome fear and hesitancy in the final half hour. While both Star Wars and this movie portray a "small town" boy thrust into the intergalactic spotlight, Star Wars plays out on the grand stage while Starfighter is more the intimate portrait. Not to mention, Starfighter went where no movie had gone before in basically inventing from scratch the CGI technology that we now take for granted. How much longer would it have taken if the producers had not taken the leap of faith that this movie could be built on a computer screen versus the tried and true modeler's table. And then there is Craig Safan's score that rivals and in many cases surpasses John Williams' Star Wars themes. I still often listen to the soundtrack, turning the volume way up as the heart wrenching notes that carry the final scene give way to a crescendo of joy as the credits roll. In the end, there is one small scene that will forever lock The Last Starfighter as my favorite right beside Star Wars. The scene occurs just after the Beta unit sacrifices himself to save Alex. That is when Maggie turns to the sky and speaks to Alex across the gulf of space, knowing he will hear even though light years separate them. Five simple words that characterize the theme of the entire movie. You can hear those words and understand their meaning by watching yourself. And then learn what a truly special movie The Last Starfighter is.
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Stirs the adventurer in all of us
Mr-Fusion19 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
THE LAST STARFIGHTER's got all the good stuff: video games, spaceships, aliens, dogfights, the classic story of becoming a hero . . . it's the kind of movie that, if you go willingly, takes you right back to being a kid. That's not easy to pull off because if the material is shrewd and calculated, you can see that stuff coming from a mile away. It's artificial. But we've all felt stuck in nowheresville at one time in life, so we gamely join Alex on his journey into outer space. There's enough whimsy here to make it a fun ride. If that's not enough, he gets to actually be a starfighter and save planet Earth.

The movie's shamelessly corny, but Lance Guest sells it to the rest of us. And it's pretty cool to see heavier hitters Dan O'Herlihy and Robert Preston (in a winking performance) have fun with it. The CGI, which could've gone woefully awry, works here and harks back to TRON (man, that'd be a killer double-bill). The Star Car is also a pretty bitchin' ride, and I also wouldn't mind having that arcade cabinet. Also wouldn't mind making it up to Catherine Mary Stewart at Silver Lake.

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A complete awkward non-charming disaster train wreck of a movie
tabaqui-131 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is so bad it's just bad. Really bad.

Nothing even remotely makes sense, including space, government, military, engineering, interior design and espionage, the sets and aliens looks cheap and unimaginative and gray. The alien recruiter just fly straight to the super secret star base, yet the fresh prince of douche is valuable to the invaders because he has this knowledge. His recruit is never checked for quality and only filtered out when he says he never wanted to be there in the first place, yet Centauri has already been given his money. The dialogue is awkward "tell don't show" exposition most of the time without any effort to make it even remotely enjoyable, the acting is often awful, and the sequel baiting is cringeworthily woven into the main movie leading to 3 main bad guys who don't even do stuff enough for one. The bad guys are pretty much useless and do next to nothing, the heroic self sacrifice of the comic relief is ultimately completely useless, and the love interest pretty much declares to empty air with glittering eyes how much she loves the main character over the burning dead body of the poor shmuck.

90 minute movie with end credits, and the main guy only stops caring about saving his own bacon at the 72nd minute and gladly puts everyone he knows and presumably loves in the crossfire to cover his tracks from alien assassins.

They retcon the death of Centauri at the end, but never bothered to reshoot any scenes relating to his original death, so that feels super cheap too.
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Time Capsule to a Simpler Era
Sean Lamberger17 June 2011
This was playing on a nearly continuous loop throughout a better part of my childhood, but as I hadn't seen it in over two decades, I was basically watching it again for the first time. It doesn't hold up magnificently and bows to a huge number of clichés from the decade's pop-friendly films, but still retains a strong sense of endearing sincerity and naiveté. The back of my mind kept reminding me of how terribly hackneyed the story and characters were, but that wasn't enough to wipe the stars out of my eyes nor the grin from my face. It's a staggeringly rudimentary plot - teen going nowhere in life gets a high score in a video game, only to learn it was a secret recruiting tool for an intergalactic war - but a thorough coating in childlike whimsy and wonder, plus a few startlingly good special effects (given the era) are just enough to pull it back from the brink. Anyone younger than twenty will likely roll their eyes and snort at its simplicity, but audiences with a memory of the eighties should enjoy it for the sentimentality alone.
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Mr. hebert is awesome
shazeline29 July 2008
There may not be any big names in this film. A few of the cast go onto bigger things. All the budget for this film went on a totally new idea. Something that would go on to become a standard term in science fiction films. CGI - Computer Generated Imagery. All the spaceships, planets, stars and meteors are all computer generated.

No-one had ever done anything like this before. All the images were generated by the Cray 2 super computer. The only other people using this computer at the time were NASA. The main thing that let the fantastic computer visuals down were the very bad practical explosions.

Centauri's car (a poorly disguised De Lorean) which seems to be much bigger inside than outside, stealing an idea from Doctor Who. Admittedly this film does borrow heavily from things like Star Wars, but all films were borrowing from Star Wars back then.

I do like the scenes with the Beta Unit, learning how to become Alex.

The plot as such is thin on the ground, but all in all the film is something you watch just to kick back and kill some time.

Enjoy this and realize without this movie things like Toy Story, Shark Tale, A bugs life would never exist.

A piece of movie history to watch and enjoy.

Overdue a remake or sequel.

woot,Mr. Hebert pwns! This movie is the best! 10/10 (lol)
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