Flight of the Navigator, 1986.
Directed by Randal Kleiser.
Starring Joey Cramer, Paul Reubens, Veronica Cartwright, Cliff DeYoung, Sarah Jessica Parker and Howard Hesseman.
When a young boy is sent to fetch his younger brother he slips and is knocked unconscious. Awakening he returns home, only to find his parents have moved and aged by eight years.
What I love about this film is how it’s about time travel. It’s great. Obviously it doesn’t get too complicated with it, it is a kids film after all, but it deals with the topic as its premise, and you’ve got to love that. The events of the film transpire because the alien AI in the craft that abducted David felt time travel to the past was too risky for human beings, and so unfortunately for David he can only be returned to the present – rather than back to the exact time he was taken – which just happens to be 8 years later.
I can honestly see this movie as perhaps the genesis of my lifelong love affair with science, space and the possibilities of time travel. It’s presented in a really cool way, and when watching it as a kid and seeing David get to experience these absolutely larger than life situations you just want to experience it too; it captured the imagination, which turned in to a thirst for knowledge. As a kids film that can inspire that, it’s a winner.
In general, Flight of the Navigator is really enjoyable, but a little weak plot wise. I feel the film would have benefited greatly if – rather than David being a completely loving child and getting on well with his parents – that perhaps if he’d have been a little more of an annoying child who is indignant towards them, then through his experiences at NASA and on board the spacecraft he could have opened up to appreciate his parents as a result. As it is the status quo at the start of the film remains the same at the end, and there’s never any real tension or suspense – although I do remember there being loads when watching as a child, so with younger eyes it works.
All in all it’s a great little film, definitely one to show the kids. Even if they’re big ones.
Flickering Myth Rating: Film ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★ ★