The Last Starfighter was the greatest movie of the 1980s for a lonely kid who loved science fiction and playing video games. It was that perfect sweet spot of wish fulfillment balanced with a grounding in the mundane details of a life we lived. Alex wants more than a dead end life working at the trailer park and spends his evenings feeding quarters into the battered old arcade game sitting out in the steaming summer nights. And one day he gets the record score, and that night a man comes to take him to the stars.
Sure, the special effects don’t hold up, the villains have no motivation, the universe pales in detail compared to the science fiction franchises of that decade, but there’s something perfect about a story well told with just the right details to bring it to life and a conscious brushing of the rest in broad strokes.
Between that movie and Ender’s Game, I don’t think there was a video game I played until I was an adult that I wasn’t also pretending in the back of my mind was a simulation of something actually happening. Hell, it was one of the first articles I wrote for Pajiba way back in the 2009. It’s painful for me to read (writers glean no nostalgia from their old words, only the bite of lemon that we once wrote so awkwardly), but some of you might get a kick out of it still.
So Seth Rogen took to Twitter to mention that he had tried (along with a bunch of other people) to get the rights to The Last Starfighter for rebooting/sequeling/what have you. Rogen further pointed out that even Spielberg had tried and hadn’t had the slightest luck. Apparently the original film’s screenwriter Jonathan R. Betuel is the one who controls the rights to the film, which seems wonderfully bizarre and anachronistic in these latter days of absolute corporate control. And he’s not giving up those rights to anyone.
The conversation was sparked when some glorious nostalgia ninja recut a modernized trailer of The Last Starfighter:
On the one hand, I want to see this movie right this instant. On the other hand, I am slightly disturbed that some editing and a well-placed score is all it takes to make a movie feel like it’s being released this summer.