Most helpful positive review
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Reminiscent of the best of the Heinlein young adult novels..
on May 27, 2002
Flight of the Navigator is a far better movie than we'd have a right to suspect.
Plot spoiler if you read further:
A few minutes into this film, 12-year-old David Freeman (Joey Cramer) is on an
errand to retrieve his 8-year-old brother, Jeff, when he falls into a gulley and is
knocked out. Regaining consciousness, David returns to his house, thinking only a
few minutes have passed, and instead of his parents and brother finds a locked
door and an elderly couple living there.
Taken to the police station, David is identified by computer records as a boy
reported missing eight years before. Despite the fact that he hasn't aged, he's taken
to the Freeman's at a different house nearby, and when he sees his parents
obviously older, he faints. He returns to consciousness again on a gurney on his
way to a hospital bed. A few minutes later, while his parents are called out of the
room by a somber-faced doctor, David is left alone with his brother Jeff -- who is
This is ostensibly a Disney movie for kids -- and later on there is a lot of comedic
Disney hijinks -- but the first half hour of the movie, as David and his family deal
with the trauma of his time relocation, are some of the most heart-rending and
chilling sequences I've seen in any film.
This movie reminded me of some of the time-relativity sequences in Robert A.
Heinlein's novel, Time for the Stars. The characters are well written and the actors
do an excellent job, particularly in the scenes between Joey Cramer and Matt
Adler, as 16-year-old Jeff. The distraught parents, Cliff de Young and Veronica
Cartwright, are also excellent -- and Howard Hesseman and Sarah Jessica Parker
round out a great supporting cast.
Special kudos are due to Paul Reubens (best known for his character Pee Wee
Herman) who was originally credited under his own name for lending his voice to a
major character in this film, but had his name removed from the credits, replaced
by the pseudonym "Pall Mall," after Reubens was arrested for alleged indecent
exposure committed in a movie theater seat. (I've never understood how Reubens
was convinced to plead "no contest" to the charge, after theater security cameras
showed him in the lobby buying popcorn at the time of the alleged offense.)
Considering that Disney's Hollywood Pictures division released Powder, directed
by a convicted and confessed child molester, Disney should show some backbone
and restore Reubens real name to the credits.
If you can get ahold of this movie, see it -- and maybe Disney will see fit to release
it again -- on DVD, I hope.