Someday, anthropologists will be able to draw a line between two cultural epochs: Pre and Post Video Games. It may sound preposterous, but once video games landed, our pop culture dialogue shifted. Video games were a sign of a new frontier and the degradation of youth, and their influence now stretches far beyond the arcade and gaming console. They've gone from fringe hobby kids pursued at the mall to a point of reference. We compare things to video games now. There was a time when that was an alien concept!
Smack in the middle of that entertainment timeline is THE LAST STARFIGHTER. Sandwiched between the optimism of TRON and the horror that's ... well, every game adaptation ever, it's undoubtedly the high point of video game cinema. (Not exactly a flush genre, but work with us here.) It's one of the last glimpses of a world where video games were just a youthful pursuit, and not a political hot button. But most importantly, STARFIGHTER is the only video game film that fulfills the fantasy of gaming (every player dreams of stepping inside the screen, and living the battle) and while simultaneously defending it as a worthy hobby. Losers don’t play video games … heroes do!
Not that poor Alex Logan (Lance Guest) shoulders the hero mantle very easily. Struggling with trailer park poverty and dreaming of college, Alex’s sole escape is an arcade game called Starfighter. He becomes the game’s highest scorer, which attracts the attention of the game’s designer, Centauri. (Robert Preston). To the surprise of no one – except Alex – a guy named Centauri isn’t human, but a disguised alien from the planet Rylos. He takes Alex to his home planet – handily replacing him with an android so no one notices – and reveals that Starfighter isn’t fiction. It’s an actual conflict between the Rylan Star League and the Ko-Dan Empire, and the game was designed to find warriors. Alex is offered the chance to become a Starfighter and a savior. But pumping quarters into an arcade console is a long way from life-and-death space battles, and Alex isn't sure he has what it takes. Plus, he really misses his girlfriend.
STARFIGHTER is a classic to many, but a fresh discovery for a new generation of sci-fi nerds and video game devotees. That makes it the perfect movie to introduce our Zzang!!! signature series, and we're screening it on Monday, May 20 at 7:00 and Tuesday, May 21 at 7:00.
What exactly is Zzang!!!, you ask? It's a cinema series dreamed up by Drafthouse programmers Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly that celebrates the unsung movies of the 1980s. Zzang!!! is where you’ll find the scrappy '80s classics like THE LAST STARFIGHTER that haven’t been splashed all over Hot Topic t-shirts and Internet memes. It’s the best combination of nostalgia and cultural revival, and we're excited to finally bring it to the Alamo Drafthouse Littleton.
Tickets for both our THE LAST STARFIGHTER screenings are on sale now. Are you interested? Because Centauri’s got a little proposition for you …