starfighter

After thoroughly enjoying reading the terrible reviews of ‘Pixels’, I’ve been inclined to ask, “Hey, remember ‘The Last Starfighter’?” While there are many reasons ‘Pixels’ was far from ‘The Last Starfighter’ (I can only assume so without seeing ‘Pixels’), let’s cleanse our cinematic palate with this 80s classic as today’s Throwback Thursday, a look at sci-fi of the past.

Lance Guest plays Alex Rogan, a teenager residing in a trailer park who excels at the arcade game, Starfighter. After getting the highest score, Alex is approached by Centauri (Robert Preston) who informs him that Starfighter represents a real space war between the Rylan Star League and the Ko-Dan Empire. The Starfighter game was a way to find a person on Earth that can protect Rylos, and Alex proves to be the “one with the gift.” We then have our hero’s journey where Alex first declines then ultimately chooses to fulfill his destiny.

Directed by Nick Castle (aka Michael Myers in ‘Halloween’), ‘The Last Starfighter’ was one of the first movies to employ CGI to create 3D models for locations and objects. That’s not to say the movie’s effects were entirely CGI. There were practical effects used for the character of Beta Alex (Alex’s robot doppelganger sent to replace him on Earth) as well as the Starcar that first takes Alex to space.

Two major studios are in a tug of war for the rights to remake or create a sequel to ‘The Last Starfighter’. With the failure of ‘Pixels,’ it’s hard to actually determine if any updated incarnation would be successful. Sure, ‘The Last Starfighter’ had a comprehensible story and authentic characters, but it also had an important message for it’s time—the skills you have that lame adults consider invaluable can save the universe.

However, these days no one is shamed anymore for being of a responsible age and liking pop culture. Being a “nerd,” “gamer,” “geek,” or a fan[insert gender] is scholarly. “Nerddom” surpassed cool a while ago; it’s now elite.

So this certainly begs the question, how would a remake or sequel to ‘The Last Starfighter’ be relevant to now, a time where fans and gamers are no longer isolated to the metaphorical basement? Or, to echo the thoughts of screenwriter Jonathon R. Buetel, do we even need to revisit ‘The Last Starfighter’?