(1985)

Critic Reviews

58

Metascore

Based on 14 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
90
What really lifts this into the stratosphere of heady entertainment is its dizzy wit and intelligence. The dialogue is deliriously deadpan, the story surreal but surprisingly convincing, and the wealth of references to movie and TV classics hilarious rather than mere smartass posing.
70
OF all the Spielberg-inspired fantasy films afoot at the moment, Joe Dante's Explorers is by far the most eccentric. It's charmingly odd at some moments, just plain goofy at others.
70
Explorers itself is bubble-thin, but it glides by gracefully on the charm of its three young heroes and their vividly envisioned adventure in space. It's also a truly gentle film, one of the precious few that actually is suitable for children.
70
Throughout, director Joe Dante and writer Eric Luke load the proceedings with references to sci-fiers of an earlier day, such as War of the Worlds, This Island Earth, Journey to the Center of the Earth and many others, but this is nothing compared to what happens when the trio of youngsters finally take off into outer space and make contact with an alien race.
63
Explorers offers an attractive premise to a very small payoff.
63
Miami Herald
Explorers is good at probing the wrinkles of the 14-year-old heart and boys are always better than other-world beings.
60
Explorers was rushed into theaters before Dante could work out the kinks or create a third act he was satisfied with, and the result is a strange, wounded beast, filled with wonderful sequences and homemade charm, but also confused and anticlimactic.
50
The alien costumes are clever and show some real imagination in their design. Yet the filmmakers have forgotten a key element. Without an interesting story or characters, special effects aren't enough to sustain a feature film.
40
But where Dante's cynicism ultimately carried the day over Spielberg's piousness in Gremlins, Explorers remains a hopelessly schizophrenic film, obscenely eager to compromise its own originality.
30
Washington Post
The kids are uniformly godawful, particularly the lamentably named Phoenix; their wooden line readings play in long, flat scenes that look like some 12-year-olds' school project. And talking about the movie's sense of pace is like talking about Pikes Peak's sense of pace. Explorers is a veritable jungle of thematic and story threads that are never picked up. [12 July 1985, p.D6]

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