This is what I bought a blu-ray player for: the ability to relive great movie memories in the highest possible quality. So it was with no small sense of enthusiastic nostalgia that I ran out to buy the new blu-ray edition of Nick Castle's The Last Starfighter. This unassuming 1984 space adventure (which is equal parts sweet, funny, exciting, and family-friendly) showed up in the summer of Gremlins and Ghostbusters, and while it certainly wasn't a FLOP, it's safe to say that The Last Starfighter should have done a little better than its $29 million domestic haul. (I remember seeing it on a double feature with Richard Franklin's Cloak & Dagger. Fun night!!)
But solid movies (particularly solid sci-fi movies) tend to stick around for a good long while, and this fan favorite has been earning new friends over its 20+ years of cable re-runs and home video releases. (In case you haven't seen it, The Last Starfighter is about a bored but decent young man who has a gift for video games ... and quickly finds himself stuck in an interstellar battle between good and evil.) As with many mid-'80s space adventures, TLS adopts a rather "Spielbergian" tone, but also manages to tap into a cinematic innocence that predates E.T. by a few decades. I thought I loved this flick when I was a kid, but after more than two decades since I last saw it, I can now say the "grown-up" me likes Starfighter even more than the kid did.