The Last Starfighter (1984)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie The Last Starfighter (1984)

The Last Starfighter is story of Alex Rogan, teen who lives in trailer park and wants something else from his life. He fixes other people stuff and plays Starfighter video game. He wants to go to college somewhere else but he can only afford local college. One night he makes new record in Starfighter. Whole trailer park comes to watch and cheer him like it is a big event. Only his mother doesn’t think it is a big thing. His mother gives him news that he can only afford to go local college. She got news from letter that was delivered to her work because it was so important. Like it is important to deliver message “Sorry kid, you can only go to local college” as soon as possible.

This movie gives a hopeless picture of trailer parks. Only one working seems to be the mother who works long days. She leaves at morning and comes at night. I am not sure if Alex gets any money of what he fixes in trailer park. The old black man could be handy man and get some money. Other just seem to be there and spend their time. There also seem to be no future. Alex can’t get to better college. Based on Alex’s reactions going to local college would mean that he is stucked in trailer park. His girlfriend doesn’t want to leave her grand mon. Others doesn’t seem to have any dreams beyond trailer park. They have accepted their place in life and don’t want anything better. For them it is great even if kid from trailer park get new high score in video game.

Only mother seem to have some ambitions. She is only one working and only one who doesn’t think new high score in video game is big deal. In video game that his son spends all his free time instead of doing something that could help him to improve his situation. She even don’t like his son’s relationship because she sees that it will hold his son in trailer park.

Lucky for Alex that Starfighter video game was actually recruiting test for alien starfighters. It was mistakenly placed inside trailer park. Without this mistake Alex would have stucked inside trailer park spending all his time and money to other video game. Without that movie would have told sad story how kids dreams are crushed. In the end Alex’s brother start to play Starfighter video game because it is the only way out of trailer park and better life. Others are still stucked in trailer park.

There is also this space war plot but most interesting stuff happens in earth when Beta Unit acting Alex tries to figure out how humans interact with each others. Space war plot is not that boring when Alex doesn’t want to be part of elite starfighter squad whose motto is “victory or death”. Or when Alex tells his pilot how he lives in moving cave that they don’t move and realizes what awaits him at earth. That almost gives him fighting spirit. After he and his pilot are attacked he realizes that if he fights he have change to become hero or die. Both being better that what waits at home.

This is an entertaining movie. Not because it is so bad that it is entertaining. This is well written movie which doesn’t take itself too seriously.  That keeps this entertaining. Space war plot is given only the minimum time it needed. It is good choise because it is worst part of the movie. It is on basic video games back story level. It tells something about good guys and show bad guys as evil. Then it sends our heroes alone against enemy fleet. If they fail all hope is lost.

It is strange that Starfighter video game were never released. Movie didn’t get sequel. There was little set up for sequel. I think it is better that sequel never came. Alex got away from trailer park which was big point of this movie. All that was left was aliens and space war which were worst parts of this movie.

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