The Last Starfighter

Year: 1982

Production: Lorimar / Universal

Director: Nick Castle

Starring: Lance Guest, Dan O'Herlihy, Catherine Mary Stewart, Norman Snow, Robert Preston

Screenwriter: Jonathan Betuel

Novelization (1984) by Alan Dean Foster

101 minutes; Color

In this cheerful derivative wish-fulfilment story, Alex (Guest), who lives in a trailer park, is a teenage whiz at computer arcade games. Attaining the highest-ever score on the Starfighter game, he is conscripted (though at first refusing) by its inventor, an alien (Preston), to play a real-life version of the game in a real starfighter and so save the Galaxy from the invasion of the Ko-Dan Empire. While he is offworld, his place on Earth is taken by a robot simulacrum; this leads to amusing problems. Made for a juvenile audience, The Last Starfighter is achieved with such good humor (and interesting computer animation for the space battles) that it survives its silliness to become quite a good film.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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