When it comes to SCI-FI, and the fans of the genre are asked which movies or T.V. shows made the most impact on their lives, you will most likely hear such titles as: 2001, Star Wars, Blade Runner, Star Trek, Terminator 2, Avatar, Alien etc. come out of their mouths. Without a doubt, those movies did make an undeniable impact but looking back, there was a little movie called: The Last Starfighter that came out in the summer of ’84. This forgotten movie in my opinion is just as important to the SCI-FI genre.
The Last Starfighter was a story about a young man named Alex who lived in a trailer park and has big dreams of one day going off to college in order to get a better life. One of his few escapes in his dull life is a video game called Starfighter. One night, Alex gets the all-time highest score on Starfighter, and this sets him off on an incredible adventure because the Starfighter game turns out to be a recruitment tool used to find the best Starfighter pilots needed to defend the frontier against the evil Xur.
The hype 1984 that came with The Last Starfighter movie was its use of ground-breaking special effects that enhanced a story line which managed to find the right balance of action, humor and romance. The digital effects were used in conjunction with the movie, not like most movies today where stories are built around special effects.
The effects do look lame by today’s standards, but by historical review if The Last Starfighter had not been successful then Cameron’s Terminator 2 or Avatar may have possibly turned out quite differently. The Last Starfighter is a sweet fun filled movie that set up the tone and feel of a special effects driven blockbuster correctly…it started with a story first.