Hiya boys and girls! Today's Friday, which means it's time for another installment of the SciFi Squad Movie Club! For reasons I can't remember, I've decided to follow last week's The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai with another PG-rated '80s Sci-Fi flick: 1986's Flight of the Navigator. Though it hasn't amassed a sizable cult following like Buckaroo Bonzai, this live-action film from Walt Disney Pictures was a staple for me and many other children of the '80s and '90s. Though I haven't watched FOTN in years, I regard it as one of my favorite children's sci-fi films because I was (and continue to be) a big Paul "Pee-Wee Herman" Reubens fan and am always fond of any character named MAX.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. For those unfamiliar with Randal Kleiser's film, Joey Cramer (who we last saw in Runaway) plays young David Freeman, a typical kid in 1978 Florida. While in the forest, David falls and passes out. When he comes to, he's surprised to find that eight years have passed and he's in the strange, neon-colored world of 1986. He hasn't aged at all, but his parents have moved away, his little brother's now a gawky teen, and his favorite TV shows have been cancelled! Overjoyed to see their missing son, David's loving parents let NASA scientists lock David up like a common E.T. to experiment on him. Meanwhile, NASA recovers a silver, acorn-shaped spaceship that's crashed into some power lines. Thinking the ship might have some answers, David evades his female caretaker (a post-"Square Pegs" Sarah Jessica Parker) and sneaks aboard. Inside, he finds the Trimaxian Drone Ship's robotic pilot (dubbed "MAX" and voiced by Paul Reubens), whose job is to study intergalactic species for the planet Phaelon. Usually, MAX travels back in time to when he first kidnapped the specimen, but he thought humans couldn't survive the process so he left David in 1986. Not only that, but MAX downloaded all kinds of star charts and space maps onto David's brain (as a humorous experiment) and now needs him to be the ship's "navigator" and chart a course back to Phaelon. Will NASA let them escape from Earth? Will David be able to return to 1978? Or will he follow the adventure that's in every young boy's heart and journey with MAX into the stars? Well, rent the DVD and find out, then come back to discuss it with us here at SciFi Squad.

More information, questions and the trailer after the jump.
Still not convinced to watch (or rewatch) Flight of the Navigator? Why not? It's got everything a good children's sci-fi film should have: robots, spaceships, aliens, time travel, puppets, a confused protagonist ready for adventure, intriguing (at the time) special effects, music by Alan "Back to the Future" Silvestri, and the hilarity of Paul Reubens (though I realize this last fact isn't a selling point for everyone). As I recall, FOTN is an enjoyable and innocent kid's film with some fun adventure sequences, though I wonder how it'll hold up as Iwatch it as an adult. It wasn't a blockbuster on it's release, but it's charmed many over the years. Maybe you'll become one of them.

I'm curious to see what you have to say about the film, but here are a few questions I'll be thinking about as I rewatch over the weekend:

--David's plucked from 1978 and dropped into 1986. The film only hints at how much the world has changed, but how confusing would it be if, as a kid, you suddenly became ignorant of current pop culture? Cereals, cartoons, toys, and films have all changed, not to mention the political and social outlook of America (which doesn't matter as much to a 12 year-old). What if you time-skipped from 2002 to 2010 and then tried to get a job or just discuss media without knowing what's been happening?

--Does the film look back at 1978 with nostalgia, or does everyone seem pretty pleased with how 1986 has turned out?

--Do the effects hold up, or does the once iconic spaceship look like a obvious model?

--Would anyone like to find themselves un-aged eight years in the future?

--Is MAX amusing or annoying?

--As is the fate of nearly every film from the '80s, Flight of the Navigator is currently slatted for a remake. Can the themes of the original be updated for a current audience?

Have a great weekend!

categories Features, Sci-Fi