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You know the drill: 12 year old David falls into a ravine in the woods and
discovers when he wakes up that he's been missing for eight years. He also
discovers that he's hearing voices that seem to come from a mysterious craft
housed in a NASA hangar.
My two cents worth: In a time when all the live action Disney movies seem to be a variant on "I was normal but just discovered I am/have just been mistaken for royalty/merperson/rock star/leprechaun/etc., this movie from the 1980's is a real breath of fresh air.
The scenario, waking up and discovering that everything except you has changed, and knowing you'll be somebody's idea of a guinea pig for the rest of your life, is instantly relatable and creepy, whether you're a kid or an adult. The kid fainting, the change in the two brother's relationship due to the age flop, parents trying to protect their son, government trying to exploit the kid's knowledge, everyone's reactions to the situation are all logical and believable.
And who hasn't wanted a chance to fly a saucer? Having Max, the ship's pilot, be a robot was another stroke of brilliance. So many movies have the aliens flying all the way here to come visit us face to face. But if we send machines to other planets because it's cheaper than going ourselves, why wouldn't they? And having him learn about Earth courtesy of a 12-year-old's TV polluted brain was hysterical.
The movie seems a little dated today; but it's forgivable because, like Back to the Future, it's set so specifically in a certain frame of time (you expect it to look and sound like 1986 because, hey, they keep telling you that's when it is.)
Recommendations: Back to the Future and Big are the two I can think of that are most along these lines.
I had seen this movie on VHS back in the 80's and I now have children
and just watched this movie with them on DVD. The film still has
presence and the special effects are still quite good even considering
they are now near 20 years old. Very impressive and my children are now
complete fans of the movie.
If you have never seen this film, I would recommend it whole-heartedly for the entire family. If it has been sometime since you watched this film I would say check it out, well worth a return visit.
One thing I have to mention is the joy I was receiving just watching my children (ages 4 through 8) experience this movie for the first time. Even after all of the Hi-tech movies they have seen in recent years this movie was still able to capture their attention, hold it and entertain just as well as anything in recent memory (such as Spiderman, Hulk or even Spy Kids).
My children wanted to re-watch it immediately after it ended, it was that good in their (short attention span) minds.
5 out of 5 stars from me and mine.
**Although regarding the DVD transfer, it could have used some extra's, even a trailer from the original film, however there were none, simple menu access and set-up options only, enjoyable none-the-less.
This film is to blame for my over active imagination. Saw it on TV when
i was at school and watched it over and over ever since! Though the
quality of the film was not something i would have noticed when i was
that age, i did notice the amazing special effects (for that era of
The ship design (Steve Austin) is truly inspired (especially when in 'first class manouvre' mode!!) and stylistically has stood the test of time (it could quite easily pass off as futuristic in new films today. Maybe he should have done some more design work(?).
And my favourite character ... 'Al', the big guy at the service station ('Rusty' Pouch), best bit of acting ever!
The flight scenes and the concept of flying in a cool spaceship caught my young mind most of all. As i watched it time and time again, the many other factors proved to play a major part of the film. The music score for one is great and for me has become a critical part of the film (I love the 80's synth!)
All in all, this piece of cinema was very very well thought out, constructed, produced, acted, all fitting together in a film that many films could never achieve.
Go buy it on DVD!
Flight of the Navigator is one of those terrific adventure films for
kids, even after all these years. It also falls into a long line of fun
80s sci-fi/adventure family movies.
Davey (Joey Cramer) goes into the woods looking for his little brother one evening in 1978. When he wakes up after a brief period of unconsciousness, he turns into a scientific marvel. Nothing is as Davey remembers it, but he can't figure out why because he only fell asleep for a brief period.
Davey is told that his parents reported the young boy missing in 1978, the evening that he went searching in the woods for his younger brother, referring to the incident in the past tense because it is 1985. Only Davey is still exactly the same age and everything he was from 1978, while time has passed for everyone else. His little brother is now his big brother (Matt Adler). His parents are old. Everyone is confused and the scientific world find the situation fascinating.
The scientists turn Davey into their personal guinea pig, running tests and probing him and all that junk. And soon they discover, that Davey was abducted. Davey, understandably a confused little kid, can't figure out what's going on and he sure doesn't want to be locked up in some lab where people prod at him all day long and tell him very little. So, he breaks lose, and hops aboard the spaceship that took him through time before. While it is an escape from the scientists and their security (briefly), it also holds the answers to what happened to him. It is also an opportunity for Davey to learn everything from this spaceship. And a kid's movie isn't complete without personifying inanimate objects. The spaceship is essentially controlled by Max, which is like it's CPU, a CPU with a cool sense of humor who likewise tries to learn about human emotions and condition from his passenger, Davey.
Filmed around Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, it is still a cool movie for kids...teenagers...whatever, having a little bit of something for everyone. Great humor, cool special effects, and the like.
This movie is an entertaining fantasy, but there's quite a bit more to it just beneath the surface. The protagonist is a 12-y/o kid raised, as most are in Western culture, to be incompetent, overly dependent on adults, and untrusting of his own judgment. When he finds himself aboard an alien spacecraft, he naturally first attempts to transfer that dependency to the robotic pilot Max, which, all-seeing eye and all, represents the omniscient grown-up. As time goes on, though, David begins to realize that: 1) his own interests do not in fact always coincide with Max's, 2)that therefore he must advocate for himself to achieve a favorable outcome, and 3) that he's the one who has to decide just what outcome will best meet his needs. Much unlike most "kid movies," this character shows real growth, and in the end confronts a real moral and personal dilemma. Whether you agree with his choice or not, you have to respect him for what he has become.
In 1978, in Fort Lauderdale, the twelve years old David Freeman (Joey Cramer) goes through the grove to bring his younger brother back home. He slides, falls in a hole and faints. When he wakes up and goes home, eight years have passed and he has not aged. Meanwhile, NASA scientists find a spacecraft near to a fallen electric tower. David is brought to NASA to be studied and soon he realizes that he can communicate with the UFO. He finds out that he was sent to a distant planet in a very high speed and became the navigator of the spacecraft. In his life, he had lost 4.4 hours. On Earth, eight years have passed. This movie is a delightful entertainment, using good special effects and having a very reasonable story. It is a family entertainment, indicated for all ages. Sarah Jessica Parker, famous presently due to the show `From Sex and the City', has a minor participation as a trainee in NASA. My vote is seven.
For the fist time I saw Flight of The Navigator when I was a kid,
nearly twenty years ago. I remember young soviet kids flocked into the
theaters to see a strange American movie and somehow taped it but too
many time has passed and all these years it was like a rather unclear
distant memory for me, a distant memory of something pretty good and
even beautiful. Since then I was unable to find it and watch it again
and only recently I caught in on a cable TV channel. Despite being
twenty seven years old now I still liked it a lot.
Flight of The Navigator is a very good Sci-fi family movie despite (or some people could say thanks to) it is not as overloaded by the special effects as most of such modern movies. That left enough place not only for pure entertainment bit also for emotions and some pretty nice scenes with rather good dialogs. It the story of an eleven years old boy, who after a strange and quite inexplicable contact with something looked like an alien ship got moved through the time into future several years ago, which passed for him like a couple of hours. In this future he takes an adventure to find an explanation what really happened with him. Flight of The Navigator is a very enjoyable movie for whole family, which deserves much more appreciation than overwhelming majority of recent family movies.
9 out of 10
'Flight of the Navigator' might have been produced in the mid-Eighties
but it certainly hasn't lost it's charm over the last twenty years and
it does stand up well against more recent family film offerings.
The story begins in 1978 with twelve-year-old David Freeman, a happy all-American kid who lives with his loving parents and typically bratty eight-year-old brother Jeff. One night he sets off into the woods to look for Jeff only to be knocked unconscious when he falls from a ravine. When David awakes in what seems like hours later to him, he discovers actually eight years have passed and it is now 1986. Although he is still twelve years old, the world has moved on and even his little brother is older than he is. NASA are very interested in David when his EEG scan reveal readings in the shape of a UFO they have discovered and other scans of the boy result in star charts of distant galaxies being spewed out from the computers. But our hero is determined to return to his family so he breaks free and hides aboard the UFO which holds the key to everything.
Joey Cramer gives a likable performance as David, a boy who enjoys adventures but ultimately just wants to be with his family. I think anyone watching the film would empathise with his character's anger and sense of helplessness when David discovers NASA have no intention of letting him go home. Matt Adler as sixteen-year-old Jeff is another notable actor in the film in the way he depicts his character's uncertainty of dealing with his little big brother and his developing protectiveness towards David. Also, look out for a younger Sarah Jessica Parker.
For those who watched 'Flight of the Navigator' as children in the Eighties, there is definitely a nostalgic feeling to it. However, I think children of present day would still enjoy the film as it has a little of everything and issues raised as still relevant and/or interesting today such as pre-teen crushes, annoying kid brothers, the thrill of following a hero on his 'quest', a fun mentor for the hero (even if it is metallic!) and arrogant scientist-types. It is important to remember that this is a children's film aimed very much at an eight- to twelve-year-old demography so it doesn't delve too deeply but the plot is quite unique, the characters are interesting and it is a film that is well put-together. Certainly one to enjoy with the whole family.
This film stands out as my favourite childhood movie. I have searched
my brain for the name of it for years, even as I remembered full
scenes, extremely detailed. I just couldn't remember the name of the
film. I started renting anything I recognized from when I was young -
and ended up watching some great films (although most were slower than
I remembered them to be). But, finally, I found this, my favourite
film, and I have to say it is just as exciting and cool and exciting as
I remembered (keep in mind, even as a young person, I had a keen eye
for excellence in film :) ). I recommend this film completely.
My boys enjoyed this show, and we loved the ship and the happy ending.
I was surprised he did not continue in show biz. I even saw another
movie called Heartland Ghost and I was so excited because I just knew
it was him but it was another actor names Gabrielle Olds that played
Jeff in that show. I wish I could find a current picture or any picture
of Joey Cramer after that movie. Some of his co-stars are still making
great movies. I just hope he is well and happy with his life.
I had three boys and they ran around the house saying Compliance. It was sooo cute. They even loved how the ships voice changed to pee wee's.
After Joey was able to come back to the way things were with his little alien friend, they wondered how he was going to keep his little friend a secret from his parents. I am just glad I was able to raise my boys without having them get on the roof to shoot off fireworks.
I wonder if Joey has any boys and if they have seen their fathers movies. Young people whose parents were actors have a very unique way to know what their parents were like as kids, beside the normal pictures and home movies.
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