Friday, April 10, 2015
The Last Starfighter (1984)
Runtime: 1hr. 41mins.
Google Play, Amazon Instant
In the days where Star Wars had taken the world by storm, everyone wanted a piece of the science fiction/fantasy pie. Furthermore, video games had started making their cultural impact, and Disney's 1982 film Tron was evidence of it. The Last Starfighter was a combination of these two ideas. Yet, it's pretty well made for what it is. In fact, The Last Starfighter, and Tron were two of the first films to use CGI extensively throughout the film. Of course, being among the first, the CGI doesn't hold up well today, but knowing when it was released, it's forgivable. In fact, considering it's supposed to be like a video game, the CGI looks, appropriately, much like a video game.
As the film starts, and the music plays, although I hadn't seen the film before, I knew I've heard it somewhere before. Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) plays the classic archetypal main character. The Luke Skywalker character, in the first noticeable ode to Star Wars. He lives in a trailer park in a small California town with his mother, his younger brother and his girlfriend Maggie (Catherine Mary Stewart). He dreams of the stars, he's bored living and working in the boring trailer park. To pass the time he plays Starfighter, an arcade game sitting just outside the Starlight, Starbright cafe his mother runs.
Later that night, a strange vehicle shows up. Inside, a friendly old man by the name of Centauri asks him to get in, which he hesitantly does. Centauri tells Alex he created the Starfighter game, and that it's all real. The game was a test. A simulator meant to test the skills of potential Starfighter pilots. They leave behind an android, they call Beta, who will take Alex's place in the community. He copies himself to look just like Alex so no one will know the difference.
I should also mention that today's gamers should enjoy this film. It also seems to have inspired Ready Player One author Ernest Cline in his latest book Armada. It set to be released on July 14, 2015, and the description of the book sounds vaguely like the plot of this film.