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Explorers (1985) Poster

(1985)

Trivia

One of the movies that Ben watches is This Island Earth (1955). In that movie and this one, the character builds a device with help from an alien so that they may meet.
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The film was never finished, and was released as a work in progress when the studio decided to move up the release date and release the film as it was, telling director Joe Dante that he was finished and they were going to go ahead and release what he had at that point.
The actual computer that was used to make the screen display for Wolfgang's computer was not an Apple IIc, it was an SGI Iris 1400 Workstation that cost $35,000. It contained a 73 megabyte hard drive, 1.5 megabytes of memory, weighed 130 lbs and required a custom portable wooden crate to house it on set. The movie needed a program written in C language that could redraw a 3D wire-frame scene in real-time, a feat not possible before SGI produced this specialized hardware. The movement of the energy sphere on screen was controlled by a mouse and happened in real-time for each scene and take, in response to the director's instructions. The workstation was modified to synchronize with the motion picture camera (to eliminate flicker) by tapping into one of the circuit boards. The workstation had no windows operating system: all programs were controlled with Unix commands.
Feature film debut for both Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix.
When the helicopter pilot looks at the newspaper, one of the headlines says "Kingston Falls 'Riot' Still Unexplained". Kingston Falls was the town where the events in Gremlins (1984) (also directed by Joe Dante), took place.
River Phoenix, who had grown up in communes in South America, was somewhat unfamiliar with popular culture and slang words. During rehearsals it became a running joke when he would attempt scripted well-known words and phrases and usually pronounce them incorrectly.
The sound effects from the movie at the drive-in were taken directly from the original 1982 Atari 2600 video game Yars' Revenge (1981).
As the boys look through the junkyard for the pieces for their ship, Rosebud (the sled from Citizen Kane (1941)) can be seen sitting at the top of a pile.
At one point, the boys are watching at the Drive-In a movie featuring a spacefaring hero named Starkiller. George Lucas originally intended the lead character of his movie Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) to be called Luke Starkiller until he changed it to Skywalker at the last minute.
Robert Picardo says the alien makeup is the most uncomfortable he has ever worn. The Wak makeup was like having a typewriter balanced on his head and the father was like balancing a TV. Whilst the crew where enjoying lunch he would have to sit there and take the pain which drew him to tears and actually caused open lesions on his head.
Originally the film was going to be directed by Wolfgang Petersen, who wanted to film it in Germany. The studio balked at this decision. Petersen would instead go on to direct the 1985 science fiction film, Enemy Mine (1985), which was filmed in Germany and released by 20th Century Fox later that year.
The first film that the American motion picture visual effects company, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) actually co-produced with a major studio.
The view of the "city lights" is a model which includes a suburb that looks suspiciously like a circuit diagram, complete with logic gates and an integrated circuit.
The boys attend "Charles M. Jones Junior High School". The school is named after animator Chuck Jones.
According to director Joe Dante, original rough cut of the movie that he and his editors put together was around 3 hours and 15 minutes long.
River Phoenix would usually remove his glasses in between takes, because he felt embarrassed in front of the girls in the cast.
Inside Wolfgang's basement, the toy monkey from the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), can be seen.
The two "deleted scenes" on the DVD were part of the original theatric release, accounting for its longer playing time, 109 minutes compared to 106:25 for the DVD feature.
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There are numerous references to Looney Tunes cartoons throughout. When the boys create the sphere in Wolfgang's basement and it goes crashing out a window, the imprint in the glass looks suspiciously like Bugs Bunny's head. Also, Wak's first words to Ben and Darren are "What's up Doc?".
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WILHELM SCREAM: Heard during an explosion in the Drive-In movie "Starkiller".
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One of the comic books seen on Ben's desk is an issue of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.
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The film includes several segments from The War of the Worlds (1953).
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River Phoenix originally auditioned for the role of Darren Woods.
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Wolfgang's "talking" rat is named Heinlein, after science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein, who wrote many stories about young boys experimenting with spaceflight.
Cherie Currie was considered for a part but, according to her autobiography, she was in the throes of drug dependency and couldn't even make it to a meeting.
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The ranting and raving of Wak and Neek's Dad is peppered with just barely recognizable bits of English including "You have no respect for authority!" and "Wolfgang? Who the hell is Wolfgang?"
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Although Robert Picardo received the actor credit for the father alien, his voice was actually provided by Frank Welker.
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Wak can be heard uttering a line of dialogue from The Maltese Falcon (1941) in response to Darren's question about the crystal gift given at the end of the film. The line is "The uhh... stuff that dreams are made of."
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When Robert Picardo was in full makeup and costume as Wak, his mouth was the only part of him not completely covered (though his mouth was made up to blend in with Wak's face).
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During the children's flight over the circuit board at the end of the film, some of the camera angles and moves are meant to mimic the flight to Neverland from Disney's Peter Pan (1953).
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The Starkiller science fiction film that was made up for this film parodies low budget Italian-made "Star Wars" rip-offs which the actor's voices are dubbed.
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The computer Wolfgang uses to control the bubble and eventually the completed spacecraft is an Apple IIc, a computer released by Apple in April 1984 that sported a blazingly fast 1.4MHz processor and 128 kilobytes of RAM.
Robert Picardo has dual roles: Wak the alien and Starkiller, the space hero of the Drive-In theater science fiction film.
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Both Wolfgang and Ben have extensive sci-fi literature in their houses. Here are the titles of the books that can be recognized: 1) The Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester, 2) Childhoo's End - Arthur C Clark, 3) The End of Eternity - Isaac Asimov, 4) Starmother - Sydney J. Van Scyoc 5) Midsummer Century - James Blish 6) The Twilight of Briarers - Richard Cowper, 7) Stargate - Andre Norton, 8) Mindbridge - Joe Haldeman, 9) The Overlords of War - Gerard Klein and 10) Doc Savage - Kenneth Robeson (seen on Wolfgang's nightstand).
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Dick Miller was in this movie and Gremlins (1984) which this movie references through the newspaper his copilot (Meshach Taylor) picks up after spotting the UFO which reads "Kingston Falls 'Riot' Still Unexplained" (which is the town in Gremlins takes place).
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The look and voice of Starkiller was modeled after Elvis Presley.
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Starkiller was Luke Skywalker's original name in Star Wars.
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Robert F. Boyle's 2nd and last acting role.
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A poster from Spacecamp can be seen in Wolfgang's basement.
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The plot was slightly revisited in Star Trek: Voyager (1995) when a character (Dwight Schultz) is telepathically instructed how to modify the ship to enable it to visit the aliens.
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Cameo 

Eric Luke: (The screenwriter) as Darren's Teacher.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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