Mini-Review Mondays: The Last Starfighter

The Last StarfighterRelease: July 13, 1984

Story: Alex (played by Lance Guest) is a normal 20-something guy living a mundane life in a small town trailer park. When he’s not working as a repair man, he’s hanging out with his girlfriend (played by Catherine Mary Stewart), telling some a-holey guys his age that he won’t be stuck in the trailer park his whole life, and playing the towns only video game, an arcade game called The Frontier. After Alex gets the new high score, he’s visited by a mysterious alien (played by Robert Preston), who says he invented the game in order to find a person suitable for the prestigious, galactic, starfighter program (basically a team of crack space fighter pilots). Alex is reluctant to join when he learns of the life threatening odds, but is forced to confront his fears when an evildoer named Xur (played by Norman Snow) destroys all the other starfighters and has his eyes set on conquering the whole universe. Aiding Alex is an alien named Grig (played by Dan O’Herlihy), who functions as his navigator, and an android called Beta, which has assumed Alex’s appearance and identity back home to distract enemy assassins while it also throws a wrench into Alex’s relationship with his girlfriend with its lack of understanding of certain human customs.

Thoughts: My wife and I popped this in the other night. She likes the film a lot, but I had not only never seen it, but knew only the bare bones about it and its plot. After watching it, I can’t say it clicked for me. It has the same fatal flaw as Tomorrowland (2015). It has no real second act and what feels like a short third act. I was amazed when I pulled up the time code and saw there was only 36 minutes left of the hour and forty minute run time when it felt like only 45 minutes or so had elapsed. So much of movie feels like the first act that I never got into the characters or learned enough about them and this galactic threat to care too much about what would happen (the villain is so stock and forgettable). I did like the premise, some of the jokes, Grig, Beta, and the very 80sness of the whole thing. I far from hate it. I just didn’t get it, I guess.


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