Flight of the Navigator

Year: 1985

Production: New Star Entertainment / Walt Disney

Director: Randal Kleiser

Starring: Joey Cramer, Veronica Cartwright, Cliff De Young, Howard Hesseman, Paul Mall

Screenwriter: Michael Burton, Matt MacManus

Based on a story by Mark H. Baker

89 minutes; Color

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 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 fast-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 (normally 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 Extraterrestrial scenes once the flying saucer and alien have been introduced.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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