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Memories linger from a 1984 science fiction cult classic.

The Last Starfighter
Universal Studios

There are moments in our lives that are so stacked with significance they are never forgotten; that one Christmas or Birthday, graduations, first dates, tragedies, the first time you walk into Disneyland, that sort of moment. For Geeks there are significant moments in pop culture that grip us and never let go. Moments we hold up to all other moments and dare them to meet or exceed their expectations. We know those moments intimately, that first showing of Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Alien, Blade Runner, and others. There are the huge disappointments too, Episodes One through Three, Temple of Doom (not as bad as remembered) all Alien movies after Aliens, Cowboys and Aliens, and many others we don’t need to dredge up.

Then there are those unexpected special moments that exceeded expectations when all logic suggests it should not have. Today we are reminded that one of those moments has reached a milestone, 30 Years.

Remember going to see The Last Starfighter in 1984 with some friends? You had no idea if it would be good or bad or so-so but were happy to see a cool space movie. Honestly the movie should have tanked. The effects were an early attempt at using straight CGI rather than the current (at that time) form of motion control and compositing made famous by ILM. They weren’t terribly good but they weren’t terrible either. Sure, if you watch now it doesn’t hold a candle to most movies but that isn’t the point of this movie. A magical combination of story and charm makes this movie work, even now.

Walk into any event with folks aged between 40 and 55 and begin the lines “Greetings Starfighter. . . .” and without failure, someone, or several someones, will fill in the rest “. . .you have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada.” It never fails. The moment lingers.

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