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The Last Starfighter (1984 - PG)

Teenaged trailer park resident Alex Rogan (Lance Guest), obsessed with the Starfighter video game, is visited by the game's inventor, the extraterrestrial Centauri (Robert Preston), who persuades Alex to use his skills in actual intergalactic combat. By the time Alex arrives at the Starfighter base station on Planet Rylos and learns the details of the war he's been drafted into, he pines for the trailer park and returns to it, only to find he's been followed by the evil alien assassin Xur, whom he must fight in order to save not just himself but earth and all of mankind.

"The Last Starfighter" could be compared to STAR WARS. Robert Preston is terrific as the alien talent scout. The computer generated, space battle FX are very good, if not entirely realistic looking, and the highlight of the movie. O'Herlihy (Robocop) brings great zest to his role of a lizard skinned alien buddy of Guest.

The cast includes: Lance Guest, Robert Preston, Dan O'Herlihy, Barbara Bosson, Catherine Mary Stewart, and Norman Snow.

Directed by Nick Castle.

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SYNOPSIS...

A teenager, who lives in a trailer park, is a wiz playing the Last Starfighter video game. When he sets a record for top score on the game, a fast-talking alien shows up to hire him as a pilot in a real, interplanetary space battle.

When the teen leaves Earth, a humanoid robot look alike is left behind. In space, the teen proves to be a great, though reluctant, space jockey. Using a unique spinning-while-firing maneuver, the teen eliminates the remaining enemy space ships, making the universe safe once again.

Back at the trailer park, the teen and his alien/lizard buddy land in their spaceship. After getting her parent's permission, the teen and his gal pal blast off for new adventures in outer space.

REVIEW...

Director Nick Castle's THE LAST STARFIGHTER is a great Sci-Fi film that's as much fun as "Star Wars", though not so vast in scope.

Director Nick Castle, working from a Screenplay by Jonathan Betuel, milks the maximum amount of fun possible out of the story premise. It helps to have dynamic performers like Dan O'Herlihy, as a lizard-like co-pilot, and the late Preston, along for the ride, to keep the energy level high.

Lance Guest (TV's "Lou Grant"), under Castle's steady Direction, is quite winning as a talented young man, who really doesn't want to save the universe. He holds his own in scenes with old pros like Robert Preston ("The Music Man"), and O'Herlihy, ("Robocop"), which is quite a feat.

Catherine Mary Stuart ("Nightflyers" & "Night of the Comet"), is a delight as Guest' girlfriend. She is cute, and perky and nice. Where were girls like this when I was going to high school?

My favorite scene in the movie is when robot Lance and an unaware Catherine Mary Stuart go on a double date with another teen couple. The robot's dubious attempts to fit in are a hoot.

The computer generated spaceships are nice change from the usual model work. The fact that their appearance is not entirely "realistic" does not hamper the fun.

THE LAST STARFIGHTER is so entertaining, that it will be highly watchable by any Sci-Fi fan with a heartbeat.

If you liked THE LAST STARFIGHTER you will enjoy STAR WARS and NIGHT OF THE COMET.