Time to remake 'The Last Starfighter' and other great '80s films

Want a remake for Photo: Photo by Universal

WASHINGTON, January 7, 2014 – Driven by advances in special effects technology and relentless fan pressure, Hollywood has been on a cinematic remake streak since the early 2000s. “Godzilla,” “Planet of the Apes,” “The Omega Man,” “Star Trek,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Transformers” and countless superhero films have all seen modern remakes, some even experiencing multiple reboots in under a decade.

With late-born Generation Xers closing in on their early thirties and forties, many of these avid filmgoers are still holding out for updated reincarnations and even sequels to other neglected 1980s films.

Here are some of the top films deserving of remakes:

1. “The Last Starfighter” (1984)

The 1980s saw a surge of films that portrayed overlooked, lightly esteemed young people rising to perform exceptional feats and overcoming rejection to become heroes. “The Last Starfighter” is one such story, portraying video game enthusiast and trailer park kid Alex Rogan who rises up to become a space fighter pilot who “saves many star systems, including his own.”

Produced in an era of nascent computer graphics, “The Last Starfighter” needs a modern remake to fully realize the kind of thrilling space battles and action sequences that the original film could not provide.


2. “Iron Eagle” (1986)

Though derided as a “Top Gun” ripoff, “Iron Eagle” exploited the Mediterranean tensions of the Reagan Era and Qaddafi’s “Line of Death” with a film about a U.S. Air Force colonel shot down over a fictional Middle Eastern country. In true ‘80s style, teenager Doug Masters rescues his dad by flying an F-16 into enemy airspace playing hard rock music on his Sony Walkman the whole way .

Famous for featuring actual Israeli Air Force F-16s in place of American fighters, “Iron Eagle” is a cult classic among many aviation fans and has spawned a number of low-budget sequels. One can only imagine how incredible a modern version would look, and the renewed instability in Northern Africa and the Middle East would make such a film especially relevant today.

3. “Masters of the Universe” (1987)

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If the phrase “I have the power!” means anything to you, you just might be a 1980s kid. The”He-Man” cartoon got a live-action movie in 1987, complete with the talents of Dolph Lundgren, Courtney Cox, Frank Langella and James Tolkan.

Instead of transpiring in the cartoon’s fictional universe of Eternia, “Masters of the Universe” took fans to a new level by invading a quiet U.S. town with Skeletor’s high-tech alien army. Aging “He-Man” fans and modern-day fantasy aficionados would certainly enjoy a remake, even a running film series.

Movies like “The Last Starfighter” are among some of the top 1980s films deserving of a remake. (Photo by Universal)

4. “Short Circuit” (1986)

Before the 21st century’s “rise of the drones” the romantic comedy “Short Circuit” explored the intersection of the Cold War, robotic technology and human weakness with a film about a killer robot that malfunctions and grows a heart. A remake would be especially relevant today, with so much increasing reliance on artificial intelligence and unmanned technology.

5. “Real Genius” (1985)

Possibly the best college movie ever made, “Real Genius” took viewers to the fictional Pacific Tech where genius undergraduates enjoy the sophomoric romps of university life while unknowingly building a deadly laser for the U.S. military. A modern version is desperately needed for today’s college students and younger Millennials.

6. “Starman” (1984)

Long before “paranormal romance” was even an official term, John Carpenter’s “Starman” intrigued ‘80s audiences with its tale of a widow whose deceased husband comes to life in a cloned alien body. The movie, which portrayed the U.S. government inviting aliens to visit Earth – only to respond to them with military force once here – was a harrowing science fiction story that left viewers hanging at the end.

A remake or even a sequel would bring closure to fans of the original.

7. “Supergirl” (1984)

Superman has had more than enough representation in Hollywood. But when will women get an updated portrayal of their own native-Kryptonian heroine? The original “Supergirl” is perhaps one of the most underrated superhero films, featuring, as it does, truly breathtaking visuals, a stunning orchestral score and an inspiring plot that underscored the power of women as a force for good.

While rumors have been bubbling for years about a “Supergirl” remake, fans still have yet to see one materialize. This is one ‘80s film that needs top priority for a reboot. It’s time for superhero equality!

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Danny de Gracia

Dr. Danny de Gracia is a political scientist and a former senior adviser to the Human Services and International Affairs committees at the Hawaii State Legislature. From 2011-2013 he served as an elected municipal board member in Waipahu. As an expert in international relations theory, military policy, political psychology and economics, Danny has advised numerous policymakers and elected officials and his opinions have been featured worldwide. Now working on his first novel, Danny resides on the island of Oahu.

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