review for Flight of the Navigator on AllMovie

Flight of the Navigator (1986)
by Andrea LeVasseur review

After the box-office and critical success of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, a lot of fantasy adventures about kids and space appeared in theaters in the '80s (such as Explorers, D.A.R.Y.L., and Spacecamp). Disney's Flight of the Navigator is no exception, borrowing the plot of a put-upon kid befriending an alien life form; in this case, it's a flying spaceship named MAX, voiced by Paul Reubens. Director Randal Kleiser doesn't hide the similarities to E.T., even using the phrase "phone home" in the dialogue. The story begins in an interesting direction like an episode of the Twilight Zone, then it quickly falls into place with the other '80s sci-fi kids movies, complete with a space adventure that causes the young boy to gain confidence and return to the loving acceptance of his traditional American family. The special effects and flying scenes are standard fare, a bit repetitive, but mostly just harmless fun for youngsters. Lighthearted and not very emotionally resonant, Flight of the Navigator may be memorable for fans of Sarah Jessica Parker, who appears in a brief role.