Flight of the Navigator

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Flight of the Navigator
Flightofnavigatorpost.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRandal Kleiser
Produced byDimitri Villard
Robert Wald
Screenplay byMichael Burton
Matt MacManus
Story byMark H. Baker
StarringJoey Cramer
Paul Reubens (voice)
Veronica Cartwright
Cliff DeYoung
Sarah Jessica Parker
Howard Hesseman
Music byAlan Silvestri
CinematographyJames Glennon
Eric McGraw
Editing byJeff Gourson
Janice Parker
StudioProducers Sales Organization[1]
New Star Entertainment
Distributed byWalt Disney Pictures
Buena Vista Distribution
Release datesJuly 30, 1986[2]
Running time90 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$9 million[3]
Box office$18,564,613
 
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Flight of the Navigator
Flightofnavigatorpost.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRandal Kleiser
Produced byDimitri Villard
Robert Wald
Screenplay byMichael Burton
Matt MacManus
Story byMark H. Baker
StarringJoey Cramer
Paul Reubens (voice)
Veronica Cartwright
Cliff DeYoung
Sarah Jessica Parker
Howard Hesseman
Music byAlan Silvestri
CinematographyJames Glennon
Eric McGraw
Editing byJeff Gourson
Janice Parker
StudioProducers Sales Organization[1]
New Star Entertainment
Distributed byWalt Disney Pictures
Buena Vista Distribution
Release datesJuly 30, 1986[2]
Running time90 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$9 million[3]
Box office$18,564,613

Flight of the Navigator is a 1986 science fiction film directed by Randal Kleiser and written by Mark H. Baker and Michael Burton, about a 12-year-old boy named David who is abducted by an alien spacecraft and finds himself caught in a world that has changed around him.

The film's producers initially sent the project to Walt Disney Pictures in 1984, but as the studio was unable to approve it, Navigator was sent to Producers Sales Organization, which made a deal with Disney to distribute the film in the United States.[4] It was partially shot in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and in Norway, it being a co-production with Norwegian company Viking Film.[5]

Plot[edit]

It is July 4, 1978. David Freeman (Joey Cramer) is an ordinary 12-year-old boy living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in an ordinary family, (Cliff DeYoung, Veronica Cartwright, Albie Whitaker), forever fighting with his little brother, Jeff (Whitaker), and beginning to discover girls for the first time.

Sent by his mother, Helen (Cartwright), to rendezvous with his brother, David falls into a ravine and is knocked unconscious. He wakes up and returns home to find that his family no longer lives there. Fort Lauderdale police reunite him with his parents and brother, but they have aged, and regard him as having been missing for 8 years.

Elsewhere, an alien spacecraft crashes into an electrical tower and is rendered seemingly inert. NASA agents, led by Dr. Louis Faraday (Howard Hesseman), confiscate the vehicle, explaining to police that it is their experimental spacelab, and bring it to their own hangar, but are unable to penetrate it.

David is taken to hospital for testing and observation, and learns that eight years have passed. During the testing, David's mind exhibits images of the alien spacecraft, and the lead doctor alerts NASA. Faraday convinces the boy and his family that the truth will be discovered concerning his absence within 48 hours, takes him to his research facility, and locks him away as a "national security risk".

Faraday runs his own tests on David, and finds the boy's mind overflowing with alien technical manuals and also star charts covering expanses of the galaxy far exceeding anything Earth observers have recorded. David's subconscious mind tells the scientists that he was taken to a planet called Phaelon, 560 light-years away, in just over a two-hour journey, and the scientists realize that he has been subjected to time dilation as a result of having travelled at speeds far exceeding light, thus explaining why eight years have passed on Earth, but not for David. David himself, unable to comprehend what Faraday is telling him, panics and flees the room, leaving Faraday muttering that 48 hours will be insufficient to finish his investigation. An intern (Sarah Jessica Parker in her film debut) charged with David's upkeep informs him, and the boy tells her to alert his family.

David escapes by hiding in a robotic vehicle, which takes him to the hangar where the ship is being held. David boards the ship, and its robotic commander, (voiced by Paul Reubens, credited as Paul Mall), referring to David as "Navigator", evades NASA pursuit after some initial confusion and hides on the ocean floor.

The commander, who refers to himself as a "Trimaxion Drone Ship" and is addressed by David as "Max", tells David that his mission was to travel the galaxy, collect biological specimens, take them to Phaelon for analysis and then return them to their homes. Phaelon's scientists discovered humans only use 10% of their brain and, as an experiment, filled the remainder of David's brain with miscellaneous information, including all of the star charts. Before leaving Earth, Max accidentally crashed the ship into the power structures, erasing all the computer's star charts and data. He therefore needs the information in David's brain to return home. Max then returned him to Earth, but didn't take him back to his own time, fearing that humans would have been vapourised during the process. David is shown the eight remaining alien specimens on board, and bonds with the Puckmaren, a tiny Bat like alien species and last of its kind.

Max performs a brain scan on David to reacquire the star charts, but in the process also contracts human emotional attributes. David and Max start bickering, and Max shuts down and allows the ship to fall from the sky, taunting David as he struggles to gain control. Eventually controlling the ship, David wanders the planet looking for Fort Lauderdale, triggering several UFO reports. In the meantime, Carolyn, the intern, has made contact with David's family and told them about his escape in the ship; as a result, Dr. Faraday has them put under house arrest.

David arrives in the Florida Keys, and telephones his family to ask Jeff to signal from the new house so that he may find it. Jeff sets off the fireworks that had been intended for use in 1978, but of course never were set off. David homes in on the fireworks, but NASA agents, having tracked the ship's every move, are there first. David, realizing what a circus his life would be if he remained in 1986, orders Max to return him to 1978, regardless of the risk to his life.

The time travel was a success and David wakes up in the ravine he fell into, walks home, and finds everything as he left it. On the family boat, Jeff sees Puckmaren in David's pack, and David spots Max in the sky who hears him yell "see ya later, navigator" before vanishing into the sky.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes rated the movie a fresh rating of 80%. The movie received mainly positive reviews. Kevin Thomas of the LA Times said its biggest plus was "its entirely believable, normal American family".[6] The New York Times described it as "definitely a film most children can enjoy".[7] People declared it "out-of-this-world fun".[8] Empire gave it 3/5 stars, saying it was "well-made enough to keep the family happy, but it certainly won’t challenge them".[9] Variety was more critical, announcing that "instead of creating an eye-opening panorama, Flight of the Navigator looks through the small end of the telescope".[10] Dave Kehr gave it 3 stars and described it as "a new high for Disney".[1]

Soundtrack[edit]

The music score for the film was composed by Alan Silvestri. It is distinct from his other scores in being entirely electronically generated, using the Synclavier,[11] one of the first digital synthesisers and samplers.

  1. Theme from "Flight of the Navigator"
  2. "Main Title"
  3. "The Ship Beckons"
  4. "David in the Woods"
  5. "Robot Romp"
  6. "Transporting the Ship"
  7. "Ship Drop"
  8. "Have to Help a Friend"
  9. "The Shadow Universe"
  10. "Flight"
  11. "Finale"

Remake[edit]

In May 2009, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Disney was readying a remake of the movie. Brad Copeland was writing the script and Mandeville partners David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman would serve as producers.[12] In November 2012, Disney hired Safety Not Guaranteed's director Colin Trevorrow and writer/producer Derek Connolly to rewrite the film.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dave Kehr (1986-07-30). "'Flight Of Navigator' A New High For Disney". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-12-20. 
  2. ^ "Flight of the Navigator - 1986 - Joey Cramer, Randal Kleiser - Variety Profiles". Variety.com. 1986-07-30. Retrieved 2009-12-20. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Flight of the Navigator (1986)". The Powergrid. Wrap News inc. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  4. ^ Mark Damon; Linda Schreyer (2008). From Cowboy to Mogul to Monster: The Neverending Story of Film Pioneer Mark Damon. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse. p. 376. ISBN 978-1-4343-7737-1. 
  5. ^ Charles Solomon (1987-08-01). "Commentary : Computer Graphics Shows Its Stuff". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  6. ^ Kevin Thomas (1986-07-31). "Movie Review : 'Flight Of Navigator' Offers A Family Outing". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  7. ^ Caryn James (1986-07-30). "The Screen: 'Flight Of The Navigator'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  8. ^ Scot Haller; Tom Cunneff; Ira Hellman (1986-08-18). "Picks and Pans Review: Flight of the Navigator". People (magazine). Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  9. ^ "Flight of the Navigator". Empire. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  10. ^ "Review:"Flight of the Navigator"". Variety. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  11. ^ Film's end credits
  12. ^ Borys Kit (2009-05-26). "Disney, Mandeville file new 'Flight' plan". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  13. ^ Jeff Sneider (2012-11-27). "Disney taps 'Safety' duo for 'Navigator' rewrite". Variety. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 

External links[edit]