Flight of the Navigator (1986)

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Released 10-Nov-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Main Menu Introduction
Dolby Digital Trailer
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1986
Running Time 85:39
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Randal Kleiser
Studio
Distributor
Producers Sales Org
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Joey Cramer
Paul Reubens
Veronica Cartwright
Cliff De Young
Sarah Jessica Parker
Matt Adler
Howard Hesseman
Robert Small
Albie Whitaker
Jonathan Sanger
Iris Acker
Richard Liberty
Raymond Forchion
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music John Farrar
Alan Silvestri


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Every now and again, it's a pleasure to stroll down a corridor of memory and revisit times past. Certainly that was the appeal for me in choosing to review Flight of the Navigator, an 80s kids' movie that I remember with great fondness. Of course, inherent in that temptation is the danger that the current experience is a disappointment in relation to the nostalgia, but I'm pleased to report that David, Max and co. have withstood time quite well, which is reassuring really, particularly as this is a film about time travel!

     As the film tag says, "Young David is eight years late for dinner... but he has an absolutely fantastic excuse!" Too true! David (Joey Cramer) is your typical 12 year old, fighting with his little brother Jeff (Albie Whitaker), and trying to grapple with the onset of puberty. Things take a significant turn however, when he is sent to collect his brother, necessitating a dark walk in the woods. After a few scary moments, he falls down a ravine. When he comes to, he rushes home, only to discover that his family no longer live there, and actually moved many years before.

     Adding to all the strange goings-on, NASA have discovered a mysterious silver flying pod which has taken a bit of a crash landing. The pod appears impenetrable to their investigations. David is hearing strange voices in his head, and soon enough the doctors at the hospital and the NASA boffins start making some connections.

      Poor young David is ensconced in NASA HQ where scientists, probing his mind, find a way to make contact with an alien force from a far away place. It is clear that David and the entity from the ship are closely linked. For the young lad, however, his experiences are frightening, torturous and intrusive, and he enlists the help of a young intern, played by a very young Sarah Jessica Parker and a crafty robotic helper to make his escape. Drawn helplessly towards the spacecraft, he discovers that he has in his head, the flight paths required for the onboard computer, Max (voiced by Paul Reubens), to complete his mission. David is, by dint of what he has in his head, the Navigator.

     In the process of retrieving the information from his head, Max also receives some of the characteristics of a 12 year old American lad, and the 2 begin a boyish adventure, complete with jibes, bravado and derring-do. In the midst of all this excitement though, the NASA gang are in hot pursuit of their 'discovery' and Max and David set them on a merry wild goose chase.

     Ultimately, however, David's thoughts turn to home. He finds it impossible to consider the prospects of returning to his family with 8 years missing from his life, so he entreats Max to embark on the extremely dangerous attempt to turn back time.

     In spite of its obvious 80s hallmark, this film has retained its freshness, energy and wit. There are some sly one-liners that still feel current, and it's surprisingly intelligent in its presentation. There's no real hint of patronisation - it truly assumes its audience to be urbane and clever - which makes something of a pleasant change. I suspect this film will be enjoyed by 8 - 12 year olds now, just as it was enjoyed by its original audience nearly 20 years ago.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced.

     There is a significant amount of grain, low level noise and dust and scratch marks in the opening sequences of the film, though they do settle down to within acceptable levels as it progresses. The print is occasionally a little on the soft side, but detail in both highlights and shadows is quite reasonable.

     The colour range is actually quite good, with accurate skin tones and good range in the palette.

     After the initial problems already discussed, there are few transfer problems, although there is evidence of some aliasing and a bit of moiré on some of the jackets.

     This is a single sided disc, with no layer change to contend with.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The soundtrack is delivered in English Dolby Digital 2.0 and, with the exception of being occasionally shrill, is quite reasonable.

     The dialogue is crisp and clean and the subtitles are accurate and easy to read. There is ever so slight a delay in the audio sync, but I've seen plenty worse than this, and it didn't overly distract.

     The original music by Alan Silvestri very much shows its 80s heritage, with heavy emphasis on synthesized grooves, but at least it doesn't have that wretched wailing saxophone of which the musos in that decade seemed so fond!

     The surround presence is subtle and there's no real subwoofer activity in this feature.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     There are no extras on this disc.

Menu

     The menu is animated and silent.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

      The R4 version misses out on:

      The R1 version misses out on:

       If you're an absolute purist, these features may move you to consider the R1 version, but to my mind, the PAL presentation of the R4 makes it the winner.

Summary

     A fun family movie that's managed to maintain most of its sparkle.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Sunday, November 14, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSinger SGD-001, using S-Video output
DisplayTeac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTeac 5.1 integrated system
Speakers fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Other 80's movies -
More 80s - Aiden O (Here are the results from my biopsy.)
No Muppet movies for anyone... -
A classic of its time - Michael H (wish my bio were here)