Film (1984). Lorimar/Universal. Directed by Nick Castle. Written by Jonathan Betuel. Cast includes Lance Guest, Dan O'Herlihy, Robert Preston, Norman Snow and Catherine Mary Stewart. 101 minutes. Colour.
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 humour (and interesting computer animation for the space battles) that it survives its silliness to become quite a good film. The novelization is The Last Starfighter (1984) by Alan Dean Foster. (For further discussion of computer-game/real-life confusions, see Cyberspace; Virtual Reality.) [PN]
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