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Brandon Spoils Movies - The Last Starfighter

Written by: Brandon Fisher

starfighter

If you are going to capitalize on a popular trend - heighten the good things, fix the problems and drop all the unnecessarily shit. The Last Starfighter is the poor man’s Star Wars, but it didn’t come close to improving on anything – it just took a bunch of left-over shit and made a movie out of it. The characters are talking cardboard cut-outs, the dialogue appears to be written by someone whose first (or second) language isn’t English, the plot development barely broke ground, the acting is slightly above local theater and the special effects were worse than those that existed before Star Wars. Did these people even watch Star Wars? The plot centers around young man who gains fame throughout his trailer park by achieving the record score on a starfighting arcade game. After completing the game, a creepy space traveler, who claims to have invented the game as a test for competence, kidnaps Alex and takes him to space and forces him to become a starfighter. Then there is some war happening for some reason between some aliens because something, something, something. None of this is properly explained. It’s just a temporality fill to get Alex into his spaceship. Space noises, default explosion imagery and special effects then ensue (but more in the way “special” is used to define the “special” Olympics.)

So Alex was chosen as the “last starfighter”, but he wasn’t even the “last.” He was the last one in training, sure, but there were clearly other candidates. I mean what happened to the person who had the high score before Alex? Did he already get killed in combat? Well - that doesn’t work with the timeline, because Alex won the game EXACTLY when the war started. Good thing he didn’t take a day off to bone his hot girlfriend or take his peeping tom brother fishing or something. The universal search returned the best, but there were probably some close seconds. Top Gun is great, but second place isn’t bad either. I mean Tom Cruise barely beat out Val Kilmer. I am sure Kilmer could have taken down a couple ships, especially with their complete lack of accuracy in shooting. And what do you call the reptile co-pilot who actually steered the ship and all but pressed Alex’s thumb on the trigger to shoot – was he not a starfighter? And the term starfighter is misleading. He isn’t fighting stars. He is fighting other ships. He is a ship fighter. Luke Skywalker was originally Luke Starkiller, but it was changed, because Starkiller makes no damn sense.

So what if you’re good at a game - that doesn’t make you good in reality. I can win the board game Life – the real thing is way harder. It’s not like he was a master commander. His main strategy to destroy the turret was to wait, let the ship past then attack from the rear. What a futuristic, unfathomable flank plan that was. I guess it helps when the star fighter had the same two levers for steering that the arcade game had. Really? Two levers? I would have thought space ships were more advanced. Speaking of advanced if these aliens can build space ships why can’t they build a better looking arcade game with quality graphics? That thing could unmask an alien, systematically chose candidates and communicate over light years, but it couldn’t have rendering capabilities? Once again, this just teaches you to be careful around games (see: Big.)

The internal protagonist struggle was the desire to leave the trailer park for a university, but the dream was deterred when his loan application was denied. What college was Alex trying to get into that denied his loan? He lives in a trailer park – he couldn’t get financial aid. In. A. Trailer. Park? Sounds like someone was only getting high scores on an arcade games. I am not sure why he wants to leave. I didn’t know trailer parks could experience joy, yet everyone there seemed quite jovial – and there were a disproportionate amount of attractive people. One of those was his hot girlfriend who seemed down to jump into hyperspace at any point. What hot girl would fawn over a loser, who can’t get into college, who plays video games all day? Work with what you got, Alex. He does relocate at the ending. Once he defeats the bad guys he gets to come home and bring his hot girlfriend back with him. What purpose would she serve? What can’t he bring everyone back? Didn’t these people see Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory?

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