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I spotted The Last Starfighter at f.y.e. today so I picked it up.

One image from the movie which I have repeatedly seen in various places is this:


Yes, I know. Makes no sense, right? I'll explain.

The above image is a scene of Alex Logan's room with a poster of a tropical paradise on the door.

Here's the shot when he enters the room just a few seconds later:


Is the poster on the door significant?

Yes. It's supposed to signify that the hero (i.e. the main character) would rather be somewhere else. Somewhere warm and sunny.

I actually do live in that warm sunny place. Periodically I will see references to it. It doesn't necessarily mean Florida, but rather anywhere warm and sunny. The Last Starfighter is yet another one of those references.

So anyway, on to the movie.

. . .

Movie Tech

For some reason I like to collect movies that have some significant impact in the special effects department. The Last Starfighter is one of those movies. It broke ground because of the first use of photo-realistic computer generated effects on film. Tron (which I also have) was produced two years before Starfighter but it was intentionally made to look very "computery."

The computers used to make the digital scenes in Starfighter were Cray supercomputers. Much of the software used was written as the movie was being made. Crazy but true. And those Cray's... wow. A huge tower system rounded into the shape of a "C" (for "Cray" assumedly) with a bench-style thing on the bottom that you could actually sit on. The height of the Cray was taller than most people, including myself.

I've never seen a Cray supercomputer in person, but some of the commentary on the Starfighter DVD notes that standing inside the thing is, in a word, scary. The thing just looks intimidating. They don't build 'em like that anymore, but they're still in business and appear to be alive and well.

. . .

Movie Story

As far as the actual movie is concerned, this is yet another one of the sci-fi flicks inspired by Star Wars and E.T. Those two movies more or less opened the floodgates for a whole slew of family-friendly fantasy and sci-fi films in the 80's. If you liked those, you'll like Starfighter.

This movie really hasn't aged all that much even though it was released in 1984. You could have a kid watch this flick and I'm very certain s/he would enjoy it. It's got a nice flow to it, it's very easy to understand, there are no gaping plot holes I could spot, and the best part is that you don't pay attention to the special effects. They work together almost seamlessly with the story which makes the movie a joy to watch.

It's a good flick. Go buy it. 😀

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