The Last Starfighter

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The Last Starfighter (25th Anniversary Edition)

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Show me one kid who has ever loved a video game and not secretly dreamed of being whisked away to experience its world first hand, and I’ll show you a liar. Seriously, it is every pre-teen’s fantasy to jump into the exciting virtual worlds of their favorite games (or books, or movies) and be the hero.

Many works of fiction have tried to capture this magic, including classics like Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court. But few capture the exuberance and optimism for the the future of the video game of the 1980s better than the 1984 film The Last Starfighter.

The film follows Alex, an unremarkable teenager who spends all of his free time playing a shooter video game called “Starfighter.” Shortly after Alex achieves the high score in the game, a man approaches him to inform him that the game is actually a trainer designed to find the best pilots in the galaxy. Alex is recruited as a pilot to fly a Gunstar fighter to defend the planet Kylos against the Ko-Dan Empire.

The Last Starfighter is notable as being one of the first films, alongside Tron, to use computer generated graphics to depict its various spaceships and other alien vehicles.

It’s an exciting, well acted film that is perfect for young gamers (though it does have a healthy dose of combat related violence, so some parental discretion is recommended). Pick this one up for your next movie night and fire up your kids imaginations.

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