(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Flight of the Navigator)
Doug (vo): Here's another film I've talked about a lot on this website, Flight of the Navigator. This is another one of those often overlooked Disney films that really needs more attention. Is it great or phenomenal? No, but it does such a good job with its build-up and does come around to giving kids a very fun fantasy to partake in, the idea of controlling your own spaceship. What kid wouldn't love that idea?
Doug (vo): The story centers around Davey. He's a common everyday boy who suddenly falls in a ditch and wakes up years later. His mom, his dad, his brother, everybody has aged. Nobody quite knows why, but scientists have a theory that it connects to this spaceship that suddenly appeared. The spaceship keeps sending him messages in all sorts of different ways and the scientists are trying to figure out what the connection is. The boy eventually is drawn to the spaceship so much that he goes to visit it. And sure enough, the spaceship has an alien creature inside that Davey calls Max, who says that Davey and a bunch of other life forms that he's taken from other worlds were all part of an analytical experiment. But something went wrong and the star charts to get him back home are in Davey's brain, so that means the control of the ship is now under Davey, and he makes a deal that if Max can get him back home, he'll give him the star charts that are in his brain.
Doug (vo): Everyone likes to say the film is sort of split into two halves. The first half being a lot of build-up and a lot of science talk, and the second half which is a straightforward kids' movie with the kid enjoying the spaceship, and talking with the alien life form, telling jokes, all that fun stuff. And that is true. For a kid, they work out perfectly. For an adult, the first half is definitely a lot better than the second half. The build-up is just so friggin' good. I love watching this movie with a person who's never seen it or even heard of it before and watching that scene where they have the computers hooked up to his head.
Scientist: David, where have you been for the last eight years?
David: I don't know!
(The words, "IN ANALYSIS MODE ON PHAELON" appear on a monitor)
Doug (vo): The look on audiences' faces when that word pops up is always great. Again, it's just an idea of how good the build-up is. And kids won't find it that boring because the focus is still on the boy. It's all from his point of view, so you're okay wanting to follow him. And the second half, like I said, is delivering the kids what they want to see, a boy on a spaceship flying around, having fun. And don't get me wrong, it's still good, I mean, there's nothing wrong with it at all, it's just...man, with that build-up, you're thinking it's gonna add up to something like Close Encounters of the Third Kind or something really large. But then it kinda snaps you back, "Oh, yeah, kids' film." But, heck, there's nothing wrong with that. Just because it did one element of the film way too well doesn't mean that the second half is gonna be anything really that bad. That's Paul Reubens as Max and he does a really good job playing both the very serious stern computer and also the sort of fun loving goofy side. That part gets injected into him when he scans Davey's brain. If I did have a problem, I'd say that the kid himself is a little bit of a wimp. I get the feeling the part was written for a younger role, like maybe 6 or 7, but this kid looks somewhere between 11 and 13 and, I don't know. I just don't see an 11 or 13-year-old crying this much or whining this much or being this afraid. Wouldn't he be at that age where he wants to get these answers, he wants to know what's going on?
Doug (vo): But aside from that, this film is great. It has wonderful build-up, it has a really fun second half, it's got some damn good effects, and it balances out with just enough ideas and intrigue with fun and goofiness. I can see people being turned off by having a much better stronger half than a second half, but if you go in remembering that this was a movie mostly intended for families, I think you'll enjoy it fine. Find out for yourself as...
Max: You are the Navigator!!
(The film's final scene, showing the spaceship soaring over the ocean, is shown)