Welcome back to the SciFi Squad Movie Club, where I get to find out if any readers met my request of revisiting some simple, kid-friendly Sci-Fi with compliance. As you may remember, the assignment on Friday was to watch 1986's Flight of the Navigator. I hadn't seen this film in many years, and when I wrote last week's post I tried to do as little research as possible. Though I was surprised by how much of the film I remembered, I'd forgotten a lot of details over time.
For starters, I forgot all the adults in the movie! David's mom is the great Sci-Fi actress Veronica Cartwright (Alien, Invasion of the Body Snatchers), his dad's Cliff DeYoung (Shock Treatment) and Howard Hesseman (Rubin and Ed) plays the NASA nemesis Dr. Faraday (I think I just heard a sound of recognition as all the "LOST" fans realized that Michael Faraday has been referenced before) . All of them give solid performances and don't seem like they're doing some lowly kid film.
In fact, my memory of the film only focused on David as the Navigator riding along with MAX, but David doesn't board the ship until halfway through the film! The mind transfer that allows MAX to reclaim the star charts from David's head (and turns him into a Pee-Wee Herman-sounding goof) comes right before the third act. Up until that point, the film plays like a mystery (Where are David's parents? Why is he so young? Where has he been?), then more science-fiction elements are added (Oh no, NASA locks David up! What's the deal with that mysterious ship?) until David sneaks out of his room and onto the Trimaxian Drone Ship. Only then does the film introduce some broad comedy and adventure elements before the moderately suspenseful ending.
Follow me after the jump and I'll share some more thoughts.