My brother and I always loved The Last Starfighter (1984). We re-visited it again last night in his backyard when we did the Sunday Night Outdoor Movie Night…really long title for a three family event that just consists of a Mickey Mouse Movie Screen, a digital project, DVD player, a boatload of chairs and a LOT of blankets. Anyway, it reminded me how much I really enjoyed this little film over the years and I really think it’s an overlooked and forgotten gem for family fare.
I will admit up front that a few of the scenes don’t hold up 30 years later like everyone coming to see Alex Rogan break the Starfighter record on their local trailer park arcade game. We kinda chuckled at that happening in real life. I think what we liked about the film when we were kids was the theme of being special and “the one” that permeates many of the films over the last couple of decades. It’s a simple theme, but resonates in just about all cultures over time.
The graphics don’t hold up as well either, but aren’t hard to watch like some of the other movies from this decade, and was the first film to have all the graphics produced through a computer. The real joy in the movie is the fantastic casting of the four main leads, Robert Preston, Lance Guest, Catherine Mary Stewart and Dan O’Herlihy all doing fantastic in their roles. Also, I think it’s the best film Nick Castle has ever directed but I love The Boy Who Could Fly (1986) and Tap (1989) as well.
The score of the film really stands out, by Craig Safan, and we both really love it. I have it in my playlist on my phone and Adam’s used it as his ringtone for years. You can recognize the main theme nowadays if you’ve ever been to Disney’s California Adventure and rode the Soaring Over California ride as it is the main theme of that ride now.Rumor has it that Nick Castle has been pushing for a sequel of the film for the past couple of years. I would be very interested in that. I think they should make sure that Alex Rogan and Maggie Gordon are still in it and maybe they are the ones that are training a “new” bunch of recruits to fight against the KoDan Armada. I would definitely see that movie.