Friday, January 11, 2013

Movie #174: Flight of the Navigator

Flight of the Navigator is an 80s Disney flick in which a young boy teams up with a mechanized Paul Reubens for a cross-country trip involving a backwoods truck stop!

OK, sounds bad when you say it like that. Lemme try again.

David Freeman (Joey Cramer, who apparently quit acting in the 90s) falls into a ravine on July 4, 1978. He wakes up what seems to be a few hours later...but in fact, eight years have passed. He hasn't aged at all, but he's been declared legally dead and his parents and brother have all but given him up. Turns out he was abducted by an alien and taken for "study" on the planet Phaelon, 560 light years away.

Taken away for study by the well-meaning but pushy Dr. Faraday (Howard Hesseman), David escaped with the aid of an intern (Sarah Jessica Paker) and gets into the spacecraft. Said spacecraft crashed into some power lines and now has lost its memory. So why does it need David?

Well, in some science that would seem stupid if you don't know what asinine things people have done "because fuck it, science", the Phaelon...ians filled David's brain with star charts and other information just to see what would happen. See, turns out we only use 10% of our brains ARRRRRRRRRHG CAN THAT CLICHE PLEASE DIE.

It's OK, 80s movie. Deep breath.

Anyway, David winds up transferring some of his personality to Max (the spaceship), which turns it into Pee-Wee Herman. Credit yourself as "Paul Mall" all you want, Reubens, you're not fooling anyone. He gets home, but the cops and NASA are already there, and so he instructs Max to take him back in time, even though humans are apparently fragile enough that Max was afraid he'd be vaporized. This doesn't happen, it being a Disney flick, David rejoins his family as though nothing happened, and Max departs our planet.

The movie is cute. I don't think it's aged especially well and, as usual, time-travel raises questions. Watching the scene were Faraday asks questions of David and star charts pop up on the screen, I have to wonder why they didn't just anesthetize the poor kid (since he obviously didn't need to understand the questions for his brain to answer them), but whatever, they're probably saving that for the reboot. Teagan's assessment was that the movie was "weird." Honey, the 80s haven't shown you nothing yet.

My Grade: B
Rewatch Value: Medium-low. The beginning drags.

Next up: Frailty, eventually, but it's Oscar season so those movies take precedent.