Monday, 21 March 2011

Greetings, Starfighter: The Last Starfighter (1984, Universal/Lorimar)

Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) is a typical 18-year old, dreaming of leaving his trailer park home behind, and starting life afresh, with his girlfriend Maggie (Catherine Mary-Stweart). The only problem in his way, is that he is the parks 'odd job man', and so the only free time he gets is spent with Maggie, or playing the arcade game 'Starfigher'. One night, after having to stay behind from going with his friends, he plays the game, and manages to break the record on the machine. A few hours later, Alex gets a visit from Centauri (Robert Preston), and gets whisked away into space, to the planet Rylos, to fight against Xur and the Kodan Armarda, which he refuses, and goes back to Earth, thereby unknowingly escaping the Kodan's sneak attack, wiping out the entire Starfighter Legion in one blow. Now, it's up to Alex, and his co-pilot Grig (Dan Herlihy), to stop Xur, and to stop the deadly armarda of Kodan warships and fighters heading to invade.
The awesome Starfighter craft, who's design in my opinion has not been bettered.

Being one of the first movies to feature extensive CGI by Apogee, Inc., The Last Starfighter was a landmark when it was released back in 1984. Unfortunately, I never got to see it properly until 2000, when it was on late at night on ITV. Being a butchered cut (cutting the run time from 101 minutes, to 93 minutes), it cut many important plotlines, making it a bit indecipherable. It wasn't until a few years later, that I got to see the full movie on video, and since then, I loved it. The story is your typical sci-fi hero movie, with a bit of romance and humour thrown in to the mix. Add to that a 'Beta' Unit (which is a robot version of Alex which stands in for him) which has some funny lines, and I think it's a film that was ahead of it's time.
If only this cabinet was actually released, I think it could have been one of the best.
The cabinet in the film was the only one to be made, as the game was scrapped unfortunately. However, there is a fan remake of the game, which is very faithful and uses the actual sounds, making it as close as possible to the one seen in the film. If you haven't seen this film, it's up there with TRON as one of the best game-based movies made.