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Austin American-Statesman from Austin, Texas • Page 86
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Austin American-Statesman from Austin, Texas • Page 86

Austin, Texas
Issue Date:
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Austin American-Statesman F7 Friday, July 13, 1984 Originality escapes 'Starfighter JO Nl THE SEAPQH if' pi jl'tl I'i 1 1 'P 1 ifi nmfri'fi 'f By PATRICK TAGGART American-Statesman Staff I The Last Starfighter is a casserole movie made up of ingredients from every pop entertainment of the last decade. Even the producer, Edward Denault, describes the film as "an electronic, science-fiction fairytale, a kind of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table in space. And, like a Brothers Grimm story, the plot, characters and action all blend together to create a magical escapist tale." AND FROM THE screenwriter, Jonathan Betuel, "I envisioned Alex's trip into space akin to Alice's into Wonderland, with Cen-tauri as the 'extra-terrestrial' white rabbit" Got all that? The filmmakers' allusions to Grim and Lewis Carroll are farfetched and self-flattering. The roots are much more immediate and transitory: Star Wars, E.T., Tron. The movie has fewer original ideas than almost anything without a Roman numeral behind it, and there have been sequels with more of a life of their own.

The Last Starfighter does have its values, and they are all in the characters. ONE OF THESE characters is the lead, Alex (Lance Guest), an average, good-looking high school kid with a single mom and a home in a remote trailer park. His one special talent seems to be his skill at a video game that serves as the community's entire recreation center. We soon learn that the game was placed there by the persuasive alien Centauri (Robert Preston), who uses the machine as a kind of static test for outer space pilot skill. Seems there's some combat raging out in the universe, and Centauri and his Star League (c'mon guys, can't at least the names be original?) need recruits.

This is yet another film (it's directed by Nick Castle Jr.) in which the set-up is far more enjoyable Lance Guest stars as Alex Rogan, an 18-year-old earthling who Is propeled into outer space to become The Last Starfighter. Catherine Mary Stewart plays his girlfriend. Review Paramount Pictures Presents a HARVE BENNETT Production STAR TREK' III, THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK WILLIAM SHATNER OeFDREST KELLEY Co-starring JAMES DOOHAN GEORGE TAKEI WALTER KOENIG NICHELLE NICHOLS MERRITT BUTRICK antKMSJOTO LLOYD Executive Consultant GENE RODDENBERRY- Music by JAMES HORNER Executive Producer GARY NARDINO Based on STAR TREK Created by GENE RODDENBERRY Written and Produced by HAflVE BENNETT- Directed by LEONARD NIMOY PGNKKni GuOMCf (ugcutocs flesj tnc rwg: Iran Paet 8005 rrifDogTEwol iFftNJSiON'! O-ya' mo-jpn jcuirc sofnvxx quisle Caaioi Recoms am iDR'Caaeues him to leave at home while he's off in space. She didn't get nearly enough to do in the film, but Catherine Mary Stewart, as Alex's devoted girlfriend, had the most winning performance in the film. This is not to slight Preston, whose theatrical Centauri is one of those funny and embraceable characters that make movies like this endurable.

You'll also probably get a kick out of Dan O'Herlihy's Grig a crazed, funny warrior who looks like a turtle in a space suit. The Last Starfighter, rated PG tor mild profanity; at the North-cross and Lakehills. than the payoff. Once in space, we are made to endure desultory battles and the worst creature costumes this side of the old Japanese monster epics. The movie plays much longer than it is, and that is because Castle (Tag) can't possibly keep the action moving fast enough to 'outpace its utter predictability.

IT IS DIFFICULT not to like Guest as the gangly teen at the movie's core. He also gets to play a second part, that of Alex's clone, or "Beta" unit a replica of himself that the Star League creates for MANN westchTESI 4608WESTGATEBLVD I V.WW 22W HAHCOC OW yyLCbs4 TWHJTE SHOWS 4 MATINEES HON. -INT HI ttKWI KFOM IFM UNMY HOUOAYt ItT SHOW ONLY' EXCt SPECIAL ENGAGEMENTS (AMfMCAMA TWI-UTE $2 H) '3 DAY 1 70MM ltu INTRODUCING THE FASTEST, EASIEST, LOWEST PRICE ON MOST ECONOMICAL WCf TO RENT MOVIES ujnLKmnn Your personalized movie pass allows you to: THE LAST STARFIGHTER (TO) I Jj JUST 5 Rent up to 3 movies at a time with NO DEPOSIT! Rent movies for $2.00 a day per movie. Tuesday Special: rent 2 movies for the price of one. Choose from one of the largest movie rental libraries in the Southwest! THE NATURAL (PQ) t235)--M BACHELOR PART Y(R) 2.25-7:3-fc45 $3.00 application handling charge required.

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