Completely derivative of Star Wars and a blatant attempt to cash in on the videogame craze of the early Eighties, The Last Starfighter is nonetheless a wholly entertaining and enjoyable family film.
In an idyllic Texas trailer park -- yes, I did write “idyllic” and “trailer park” in the same sentence -- teenager Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) longs to escape his boring life by gaining acceptance to a university far, far away. When that doesn’t turn out as planned, Alex seeks solace in the videogame, “The Last Starfighter.” He reaches a level to which he has never been, defeating the Kodan forces and achieving the high score.
Little does Alex know that the game is, in fact, a recruiting tool for the Star League of Planets, a real-life squadron of starfighters who defend the galaxy. Alex is soon spirited off by Centauri, an intergalactic talent scout, to join the battalion. At first, he refuses, but when the Kodan under the leadership of the evil Xur destroy the fleet, Alex remains as the last starfighter -- and the last hope. Using his videogaming skills, and with his lizardman navigator Grig, young Alex destroys the entire Kodan empire.
As hokey as it sounds, The Last Starfighter is actually quite charming, probably because at its heart, it’s Star Wars, and at the heart of Star Wars is every classic tale of good vs. evil. The Last Starfighter is especially noteworthy, however, because it is one of the first movies to use computer-generated graphics for entire sequences.