Friday, March 29, 2013

Jason versus The Last Starfighter

What can I say about The Last Starfighter? I was 12 when it came out and immediately fell in love with the story of a nobody from a middle-of-nowhere trailer park who ends up saving the universe. What 12-year-old boy wouldn't fall in love with a movie like that?

Oh, and the hero has an incredibly hot girlfriend played by Canadian actress Catherine Mary Stewart. First actress crush for this Basement Dweller? Yarp.

A video-gaming boy, seemingly doomed to stay at his trailer park home all his life, finds himself recruited as a gunner for an alien defense force. So says the official synopsis.

Truth is, The Last Starfighter shows it's age almost as much as this Basementite. It was one of the first movies to use CGI extensively, and the special effects are worse than most video games from the last 30 years. The rest of the flick looks like a 30-year-old TV movie. It's clunky by today's standards and lacking in any real excitement and tension.

Yet The Last Starfighter has more heart than most mainstream movies made today. The sequences featuring the Beta Unit -- Alex's robot double -- are a hoot as Beta tries to adapt to life on Earth while Alex fights invading aliens in space.

As for Alex, Lance Guest deserved to be a star. He's a great leading man with a disarming charm and self-depreciating sense of humour. Kudos as well to screen vets Dan O'Herlihy and Robert Preston. These guys clearly had fun in their roles, and it shows.

And how about my first actress crush? Catherine Mary Stewart's still got it. Beauty. Talent. Sweet yet feisty. Who wouldn't want to save the galaxy for her? And the sequence where she gives up life on Earth to join Alex in the stars is every geek's dream. Hot chick + intergalactic hero = nerd win.

Despite its flaws, The Last Starfighter is still a fun, lighthearted and old-school romp. It's a Good, and I'm glad I paid it another visit.
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