I was still a boy, and there was no such thing as a multiplex in sight the night I saw Flight of the Navigator.
I remember what was then the Russell Street theatre. A relatively new cinema built as its aged counterpart, The Strand, had slipped into disrepair. I remember the smell of the new carpet mixing with the popcorn, how the place always seemed packed, as two lines of movie-goers had to snake around both sides of the block to line up.
But it was a quiet Friday night when I went with my Mum to see Randal Kleiser’s new movie. From the poster, which was all you had to go on back in those days, it looked like one heck of a ride. Another boy meets an alien movie in the wake of the monumental achievement that was E.T. But let’s not descend into comparisons, such is the way of the industry. Like Dante’s Explorers, Flight of the Navigator is an ingenious blending of many great elements. It begins as a movie about a family, about two brothers. Then we fall into a time travel story that sees our hero transported eight years into a future where he is presumed to be dead. This is further compounded by the fact that he has not aged a day. Thus the testing begins, a search for the heart of the mystery. The testing reveals the hero’s head is filled alien information and that he had been selected as a specimen to study on a far-flung planet in a distant galaxy. The boy is then taken by NASA scientists to be scrutinized further. This is where the boy meets alien story begins and our hero takes off inside a spacecraft in an adventure, not only to help the alien return home, but to once more, travel back in time and get home himself.
That’s a fairly vague overview I know. But I always take into account that there may yet be someone out there that has not seen the movie. That being the chase, I have no desire to spoil it for them.
After I saw the movie I wanted to write Randal Kleiser a letter, which I did, telling him what a marvelous movie I thought he’d made. I did not know where to send it, so my Dad looked up the address of Walt Disney Pictures and we mailed it together.
I know now Mr. Kleiser never got my letter, because thirty years later I got to call him on the phone and tell him just that – what a marvelous movie I thought and still think Flight of the Navigator is.
I hope you’ll enjoy our interview you dumb dork! Buttface! Scuz-bucket! Ha-ha!
If you would like further information on the Nina Foch DVD or course please follow this link: http://www.ninafochproject.com/