Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Last Starfighter

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Profanity:One mild profanity
Nudity/Sex:Teenage girl says "Talk dirty to me," and boy reads Playboy, Alex's girlfriend clearly expects to engage in necking with him, and gets offended by the Simuloid because he blows a circuit every time she nibbles his ear.
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Sci-fi shootouts
Diversity Issues:People of different races (species?) work together.
Movie Release Date:1984

Plot: This adventure saga mixes an update of the old system of “recruiting” sailors by shanghai with the fantasy of saving the universe by being a star at computer games. It turns out that one particular arcade game is really a test, put on earth by very advanced beings from another planet, to find someone good enough to be “The Last Starfighter.” And the only one to meet that challenge is Alex, who lives in a trailer park with his mother and younger brother, and who has just found out that he did not get the loan he needed for college.
Centauri (played with magnificent panache by Robert Preston) is the outer-space recruiter who takes Alex to the Starfighter deployment center on his planet and explains that Alex is the only one left who has the skill to be the Last Starfighter. Alex refuses, and is on his way back to Earth when all of the other Starfighters are destroyed by the evil Ko-Dan. When the bad guys come after him because they know he is the last remaining threat to them, he agrees to stay and fight.
Centauri thoughtfully leaves behind a “courtesy replacement simuloid,” a robot that has Alex’s looks, so his family won’t worry. The simuloid, however, has no idea of how to behave like an Earthling, and gets into all kinds of trouble.
Meanwhile, Alex is paired with Grig, a reptilian-looking alien navigator (under all of that latex is a remarkably expressive Dan O’Herlihy). Alex worries, “I’m just a kid from a trailer park.” “If that’s all you think you are, that’s all you’ll ever be.” Because all of the other Starfighters have been killed, Alex must face opposition leader Zor alone. “It will be a slaughter!” “That’s the spirit!” “No, I mean us!” But he is successful, and returns to Earth to collect his devoted girlfriend and take her back with him.
Discussion: This movie has a lot of action and special effects. The efforts of the “simuloid” to understand life on Earth provide some good slapstick. The relationship between Alex and Grig is handled nicely. The movie is no one’s idea of a classic, but kids who like space-age shoot-’em ups will enjoy it, and with the caveats noted below, it is a good family movie.
Questions for Kids:
· Why does Alex change his mind and agree to fight?
· How can he tell which are the good guys and which are the bad?
Connections: This was the last film performance by Robert Preston (“The Music Man”). Aside from Preston, the movie’s greatest asset is the production design, by Ron Cobb of “Alien,” “Star Wars,” and “Conan the Barbarian.” For a much more thoughtful and mature depiction of bonding between a human and an alien, see “Enemy Mine.”



Previous Posts

Remembering the Vietnam War: 10 Movies
As we observe the 50th anniversary of the War in Vietnam, here are ten of the best of the movie and documentary depictions of the war and its impact on history and culture in the United States. The best-known films about Vietnam include "Apocalypse Now," "Full Metal Jacket," "Platoon," "The Deer Hun

posted 8:00:34am Jul. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Lucy
I always enjoy Luc Besson's stylish car chases and shootouts. I like his use of locations, his strong female characters, and unexpected flashes of sentiment in the midst of mayhem.  While

posted 6:00:51pm Jul. 24, 2014 | read full post »

And So It Goes
A second marriage is, as Samuel Johnson famously said, "The triumph of hope over experience." And as lyricist Sammy Cahn wrote in the song Bing Crosby sang in "H

posted 6:00:13pm Jul. 24, 2014 | read full post »

The Memory Book -- This Saturday on the Hallmark Channel
A budding, young photographer stumbles upon an old photo album chronicling the ideal romance of a happy couple. Intrigued by their love and unable to find her own “true love,” she sets out to find the couple and figure out if true love really exists.  The film stars Meghan Ory (“Once Upon a T

posted 8:00:57am Jul. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Michael Rossato-Bennett of "Alive Inside"
Michael Rossato-Bennett agreed to spend one day filming Dan Cohen's remarkable music therapy work with people struggling with dementia. He ended up spending three years there and the result is "Alive Inside," an extraordinary documentary about the power of music to reach the human spirit, even when

posted 3:58:01pm Jul. 23, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.