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Movie Review

Star Kid

MPAA Rating: PG for fantasy combat violence and language

Reviewed by: Peter Wright
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
7-13
Genre:
Science Fiction
Length:
101 min.
Year of Release:
1998
PG

Starring: Joseph Mazzello, Joey Simmrin, Alex Daniels / Director: Manny Coto / Released by: Imperial Entertainment / Trimark Pictures

During the first five minutes of “Star Kid”, you are subjected to a cheesy Science Fiction story about a planet under attack. In a desperate attempt for survival, the creatures of the planet send into orbit a “prototype” of some sort which is knocked off orbit by a missile. It then begins soaring its way towards Earth. Unfortunately, you aren’t given much more by way of an explanation. The story rapidly shifts to a school yard playground where a 12-year old boy named Spencer is being picked on by a bully. Spencer is played by Joseph Mazzello, probably best known for his role as Tim in Jurassic Park.

Little by little, you find out more about this young boy’s life. He lives alone with his father and sister (his mother has died). His father is too busy with work to care much about him and his sister can’t stand the fact that she has to baby-sit him when she’d much rather go out with her boyfriend.

Spencer is a lonely boy who lives day by day in the world of his favorite comic book hero. As luck would have it, he notices something crash from the sky and goes to investigate. The object turns out to be a talking space suit (the prototype from the beginning of the film). He climbs into the suit and now has the powers of a super hero. As the movie progresses, you learn that he and only he can save the world from suffering the same fate that the space suit’s native planet has suffered.

This is one of those movies geared mainly towards kids. They will love watching the suit jump around with the gracefulness of a comic book character. Unfortunately, parents won’t get much out of it. Unlike many of today’s family films, this movie doesn’t offer any jokes that parents can laugh at. Mainly, they will enjoy watching their kids enjoy the film.

One subject that might be troubling to many is the fact that Spencer uses the suit to seek revenge on the bully who was picking on him. There isn’t any graphic violence in the film, however, an evil creature does arrive on Earth to destroy the suit and the boy goes to battle with the creature using the suit. The creature might scare younger children and tends to lean on the gory side.

Another thing that bothered me was the absence of the boy’s mother. It seemed to serve no plot development and, personally, I’m getting sick of the movies that insist on adding the loss of a parent just to get us to feel sorry for the character.

Unfortunately, “Star Kid” just doesn’t have the entertainment quality to compete with movies like “Titanic”. It’s a pretty simple plot and there are not any breathtaking special effects. Yet, it has little competition in the department of kids' films. The language is mostly mild, but does contain a “hell, damn, crap” and a few instances of the Lord’s name being taken in vain. Is “Star Kid” worth the price of tickets? It’s probably a movie better rented on video.

Viewer Comments
I agree with the reviewer’s comments about the movie. However, I feel that a few things might be mentioned.

(1) Spencer’s sister tries to obey her father’s wishes about staying home and no company when she finds she must break a date to babysit her brother, Spencer. She falls to temptation, but she does “try” to obey.

(2) I’m bothered by Spencer’s teacher, who in an effort to be “cool” and “with it,” shows a slide of an insect that shoots some kind of spray out of its abdomen, and the teacher tells the class to just think of it as a “gnarly fart.” [This is Hollywood, not teaching.]

(3) The film is somewhat redeemed by the two boys forgiving one another, and (of course) the Earth is saved. It’s mainly for kids, but I liked it overall.
—Jerome Bush, age 45