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George At 

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The Last Starfighter

Back in 1984, the special effects of THE LAST STARFIGHTER were out of this world. 33 years later, they haven't held up very well, but the family-friendly story does just fine.

80's stalwart Lance Guest (Jaws: The Revenge) stars as Alex Rogan who lives in a Disney/Spielberg like trailer park, filled with friendly and eccentric characters. He longs to escape small town life and make something of himself. His girlfriend in the park Maggie, played by Catherine Mary Stewart (Weekend at Bernie's) has his back, assuring him they will escape together.

Alex's one escape at the park is the video game The Last Starfighter at their grocery store. He manages to achieve an all time high score, which is followed very quickly by a midnight visit from a visitor in a futuristic car beckoning Alex to join him.

That would be very creepy if that man Centauri wasn't played by the great Robert Preston (The Music Man, SOB) who manages to play an intergalactic Harold Hill rounding up space fighters instead of a marching band.

Alex finds himself dashed off to a universe far away courtesy of some very early computer graphics that you'd roll your eyes at if you saw them in a videogame today.

Alex meets his training officer, the lizard like Grig, perfectly played for a family audience by Dan O'Herlihy (Robocop, Fail Safe).

Bad actors DID sneak into the cast, Dan Mason's performance as the main villain Lord Krill would be over the top in the worst community theatre. I started laughing every time he read a line, its really, really bad.

Adventures abound, Alex goes through all the trials and challenges and triumphs that you'll see coming light years away, but its all so fun for all ages that it manages to be light popcorn entertainment in the best early 80's fashion.

Preston and O'Herlihy are true pros in any makeup. The music score by Craig Safan (Cheers, Nightmare on Elm Street) is one of his best, conveying the best sea/space adventure style music at all the right moments.

Pure mindless, family fun that defines the Universal films of the time, THE LAST STARFIGHTER gets a nostalgic B-movie B.

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