22nd Aug2019

‘Flight of the Navigator: Limited Edition’ Blu-ray Review (Second Sight)

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Joey Cramer, Paul Reubens, Cliff De Young, Veronica Cartwright, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matt Adler, Howard Hesseman | Written by Michael Burton, Matt MacManus | Directed by Randal Kleiser

flight-navigator-blu

I grew up with Flight of the Navigator. It’s always been one of my favourite movies. A family sci-fi adventure film that kinda fell under the radar to some degree and has since become a cult classic. It’s charming, it’s funny, it’s nostalgic as hell and it’s incredibly entertaining, so I was completely and utterly on board when Second Sight announced their upcoming Blu-ray release. A limited edition release with special features, extra goodies and a new transfer? Fans are very happy. I had a chance to take a look at the blu-ray release and here are my thoughts on it, as well as my opinions, all these years later, on the film itself.

The film was directed by Randal Kleiser, who had directed Grease in 1978 and would go on to direct movies such as Big Top Pee-Wee, Honey I Blew Up The Kid and many others. The story, from Mark H. Baker, was followed up by a screenplay penned by the team of Matt MacManus and Michael Burton, neither of whom had, or have, worked on much else to note. It’s a shame, because they did a damn-fine job here.

Joey Cramer plays David Freeman, a young 12-year old boy who goes missing in 1978 after falling down in the woods near his family home. He wakes up and heads home, thinking only a short amount of time has passed, but finds that it’s now 1986. Eight years had passed, but David hadn’t aged, unlike his parents, his brother and everyone else. David then discovers a spaceship that he hears voices coming from, and steps on board. Adventure ensues. I mean, that’s a real nut-shell take on the plot. It’s deeper than that, and the sequences in which David, unsure of what’s happening to him when he initially goes home after waking up, terrified me as a kid. I remember putting myself in the shoes of this lad who walks into his family home only to find his family no longer there, and the decor completely different. The concept is quite frightening, and this beautifully original and unique film delves into the psychology of it, the loss of youth, the fear of your parents getting older, fear of change, and of course the obscure and peculiar proposition of life from another world. Brilliant.

The cast all do a wonderful job, especially Cramer as David. He’s fantastic, especially considering his young age, delivering a performance full of heart, confusion, terror and excitement. He’s the curious kid we were, the enthusiastic, frightened kid we were. He’s pretty damn great. Paul Reubens, as the voice of MAX, deserved mention and is wonderful too. His brings in a little of his Pee-Wee Herman character and adds something new, creating an animatronic robot character that, in my mind, is as timeless as any other before or since. His uttering of the word “compliance” is iconic, yet also not as iconic as it should be, just like this movie isn’t as widely loved or as well-known as it should be. It’s a real shame, but hopefully, with releases like this, and the cult status the film had adopted, that will change. Oh, and you’ll also spot a 21 year old Sarah Jessica Parker for a while in here too in one of her earliest film roles. This is original Disney live-action at its best. It’s glorious. It’s also so-very 80’s. From its opening frisbee montage complete with synth music to its fashion and set designs, to its product placement, it’s a time capsule of a film.

The blu-ray release, which will be released by Second Sight in the UK, will be packaged with a 100 page book complete with an original storyboard and essays, a poster, and a nice slip-case, as well as the disc itself, complete with special features made up of many brand new interviews and a new 4K scan and restoration of the movie itself. It is, without doubt, the best  Flight of the Navigator has ever looked, and they have done a magnificent job at giving this wonderful and underrated classic a worthy release. Now, about those features. The interviews, with the likes of director Randal Kleiser and David himself, Joey Cramer, are insightful and entertaining, offering a glance at what it was like making the movie and the feelings of those who made it all these years later. There’s also an audio commentary from Kleiser and Executive Producer Jonathan Sanger which is a lot of fun and offers plenty of interesting info.

A 1980’s family sci-fi adventure classic, Flight of the Navigator is full of nostalgia and wonder. They don’t make movies like this anymore, and it’s fantastic to see Second Sight go all-out on this release. Now, is it worth picking up? Well, only one way to answer that. Compliance!

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • Brand New Second Sight 4K Scan and Restoration supervised by Director Randal Kleiser
  • Directing the Navigator – New Interview With Randal Kleiser
  • Producing The Navigator – New interview with Dimitri Villard
  • Playing The Navigator – New interview with Joey Cramer
  • Mother of The Navigator – New interview with Veronica Cartwright
  • Brother of The Navigator – New interview with Matt Adler
  • From Concept to Creation: The Special Effects of Flight of the Navigator – New interviews with Jeff Kleiser, Randal Kleiser and Edward Eyth
  • Audio Commentary with Randal Kleiser and Producer Jonathan Sanger
  • Reversible sleeve with new and original artwork

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS:

  • Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Rich Davies
  • 100 page soft cover book with Randal Kleiser s complete original storyboard, new essay by Kevin Lyons, original production notes, behind the scenes photos
  • Reversible poster with new and original artwork

Flight of the Navigator: Limited Edition is released on the August 26th from Second Sight Films.

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