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YMMV / The Last Starfighter

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  • Awesome Music: The score composed by Craig Safan.
    • Especially if you bought the '90s CD expansion - no songs and the complete "Into The Starscape" (for the final scene of the film and continuing over the end credits), criminally missing from the LP that came out in 1984 (the LP version cuts out after the point in the film where Louis whoops). Taken Up to Eleven with the 2015 further expansion, which has the entire score!
    • Safan also did the incidental music for Cheers, and riffs from the show can be heard in the more incidental music.
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  • Cult Classic: Despite the build up to a sequel, it didn't get one. However, it still has a following.
  • Fridge Brilliance: The placement of Alex in the front seat of the Gunstar, with Grig's pilot seat in the back, seems odd, but it makes sense given the Gunstar is a weapons platform, and it gives the Starfighter the maximum field of view to fire (this is considered so important to the in-universe ship designers that they even made the chair the gunner sits in rotate to allow maximum viewing ability). This also parallels the design of the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, which went into service around the same time as the movie.
  • Gut Punch: Centauri's death. Up to that point, the film had been a lighthearted space flick.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Grig says he prefers to think of death as going to another dimension. One wonders if the team behind the infamously Bowdlerized first English dub of Dragon Ball Z took inspiration from this.
  • I Am Not Shazam: The spacecraft are called Gunstars. The Starfighters are the elite recruits manning their gunnery chairs.
    • Similarly, the game featured in the film is simply called "Starfighter".
  • Narm: The trailer park inhabitants reacting with much excitement to Alex managing to beat the game.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Reveal of Beta, midway through his transformation into a duplicate of Alex.
    • Also when the drifter is (replaced? transformed? awakened?) as a Xandoxan. The almost seizure-inducing malfunction of the video game screen didn't help.
      • Fridge Brilliance: He was a Xandoxan all along (remember, he had a pistol that clearly didn't come from Earth). The "drifter" was merely his disguise, which the "malfunctioning" video game stripped away (probably something Centauri secretly added to the machine for that purpose).
      • After the Xandoxan has been unmasked, the video game starts saying, "Ko-Dan... Ko-Dan... Ko-Dan..." over and over again. Later, when Alex is trying to signal Centauri, the video game "glitches" again, repeating "Xur... Xur... Xur..." The video game is clearly trying to warn anyone around what's going on. While Alex doesn't quite grasp it, he's able to figure out something's wrong.
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    • The Xandoxan's severed arm reaching up, raygun clutched in its hand, to fire at Alex (the bolt that "killed" Centauri). Burning off it's arm with a raygun won't stop it, what the hell will?!
    • When Xur broadcasts the execution of the spy he's captured to the Star League.
      • The novelization has a helmet placed over the spy's head, which then contracts, slowly crushing his skull. At the end, all that's left of his head is a pointed nub of bone.
    • Centauri peeling off his "face" and polishing his eyeballs, then turning to show Alex a black reptilian face with glowing eyes.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Of a sort, though probably of a more hope-inducing than fear-inducing sort. Admit it, if you saw this movie when you were a kid, every time you start doing particularly well at a video game, part of you wonders if someone's about to show up and recruit you to save the world.
  • Tear Jerker: The death of Centauri.
    Centauri: (dying) Alex, I want you to know that it was for the greatest good that I brought you back. Of course... it never hurts to be rich.
    Grig: Until the next dimension, old friend.
    • When the Star League base is attacked.
  • Uncanny Valley: An accidental case. Further scenes with Beta required reshoots, and Lance Guest had to wear an obvious wig, which just emphasizes that he's playing a robot pretending to be human.
  • Video-Game Movies Suck: Averted, even though technically, it doesn't have a real life video game equivalent. Considered one of the best video game movies ever.
  • Vindicated by Cable: While the film did make money in theaters, it was a hit on video and HBO.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: While the effects were Conspicuous CG even at the time (the CG effects were done with the equivalent of a smartphone's processor), the Death Blossom and Star Car sequences still hold up.
    • There's some good make-up work as well. There are over half a dozen distinct alien species, and only the Rylans are simple Rubber-Forehead Aliens.
    • Even if the CG ships are very primitive by today's standards, they arguably paved the way for a whole new way to look at ships moving in space, a tradition carried on by their Spiritual Successors in Babylon 5.


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