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The Last Starfighter
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Alex is recruited to fight aliens, and there are explosions and moments where aliens die. But besides some slightly scary alien faces, there is not much gore. Teenagers on Earth are shown making out by the lake in very '80s hair and makeup. There is some mild profanity as well.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) is tied to the trailer park where his family lives. He wants to go to away to college, in order make something of his life. But when his application for a student loan is turned down, his hopes crumble. The only thing -- other than his girlfriend Maggie -- that brings him joy is playing the video game called the Last Starfighter. In fact, he is so good at the game that he breaks the machine's record, attracting admiration from all of the community. What he doesn't realize is that the video game is a recruiting device designed by a fast-talking alien named Centauri (Robert Preston.) Centauri comes to Earth to take Alex to the planet Rylos to fight on his planet's behalf. Alex is unwilling to take on the challenge, but changes his mind once he returns to Earth to find that real danger lurks outside his trailer window.
Is it any good?
THE LAST STARFIGHTER isn't the absolute best outer space action film ever made, but it has heart, and older kids will enjoy the weird aliens and video game themes. Parents might enjoy remembering when one video game machine was all it took to make a Saturday night memorable.
Though Star Wars fans might notice some musical and special effects similarities, these rip-offs don't detract too much from the movie's positive qualities. One of these pluses is the presence of Robert Preston, who plays Centauri, a fly-by-night recruiter of star-fighting talent. Without Preston, the movie could be a pass, but his big-tent voice and charisma gives this movie a memorable lift. Overall, a decent watch for sci-fi fans.
Talk to your kids about ...
Parents can talk about older movies. Does this one feel too dated to be relevant? Do the old-fashioned styles distract from the action? Could you see this movie being remade? If so, how could it be updated, and what actors would you like to see playing the main roles?
Discuss the role of video games and their cultural role. There's a scene where Alex breaks the record on the video game. Everyone in the trailer park comes to watch him do this and to celebrate his victory. Is this a realistic scenario in this day and age? Why not?
Alex is not sure that he wants to be a starfighter. What changes his mind? Do you agree with this decision?
Maggie and Alex decide to be together "forever." What does forever mean to you? Can a teenager know what forever means? Why or why not?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.