Top *** (yes, really -- it was a midnight show at E Street Cinema, who'll be playing Creature from the Black Lagoon -- in 3-D! -- next weekend). Even though it was an original print that had to be spliced together in a few places, and even though the screen wasn't a 30-foot-high Cinemascope behemoth, it's so much better in a theater than it is in a living room. You'd have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get the same viewing experience at home -- and that's IF you can do it without pissing off the neighbors with the noise.
I don't even know how to rate the movie, actually. It's been spoofed so much since then that all of its clichés stand out even more (sometimes I wondered where the marionette strings went ). But the live-action air combat is somehow more satisfying than any CGI bullcrap can ever be, and more of its lines have invaded our pop culture than people would have guessed. It's a solid enough story, with enough character development (as formulaic as it may be) and good action.