Flight of the Navigator

Tagged: Film

Film (1986). Producers Sales/New Star Entertainment/Walt Disney. Directed by Randal Kleiser. Written by Michael Burton, Matt MacManus, based on a story by Mark H Baker. Cast includes Veronica Cartwright, Joey Cramer, Cliff De Young, Howard Hesseman and Paul Mall. 89 minutes. Colour.

Made for children, this might – one would think – be rather disturbing for them. A 12-year-old (Cramer) returns home after a fall and finds the wrong people living there. The police take him to where his family now live, where he learns that it is eight years later, that he has been missing, presumed dead, and that his kid brother has become his post-pubertal big brother. Tests reveal that our hero has strange brainwaves, some of which are read by a computer as a picture of a flying saucer, just like one that has recently been found but has proved unopenable. The boy locates the saucer and meets inside it the robotic alien Max (Mall), who clearly recognizes him, addressing him as The Navigator, an aspect of his recent past which is news to him, since he lost his memory after the saucer's crashlanding. Because he has been travelling at Faster-than-Light speeds to the alien's planet and back, the boy has not grown noticeably older. Unhappy at his role in this unnerving future, he persuades Max to return him (normality comfortingly restored) back through time to 1978. This film presents what is actually rather a nightmare scenario, and carries it off with considerable aplomb for the first half; but it sinks quickly into routine post-E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial scenes once the flying saucer and alien have been introduced. [PN]

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