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Flight Of The Navigator Was The Best Movie Of The 1980s, Discuss

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Flight of the Navigator image
Buena Vista

What do you think was the best movie of the 1980s? If you answer anything other than Flight of the Navigator then you’re wrong, and here’s why.

It was around 1991 and my mum had just told me and my brothers we could pick a film to buy from town. I was eleven years old and very excited. Bearing in mind this was an age before streaming and the internet. Buying a movie on videotape was one of life’s great pleasures for an eleven-year-old in 1991.

I remember that it was raining as we traipsed up the main street to where the shop that stocked the videos was. I was transfixed by the rows and rows of video covers that were jumping out at me. Obviously, I was drawn to the top rows where all the adult-rated action and horror movies were. But I was quickly reminded by mum that we had to pick from the kid’s section. Scouring my eyes along the bottom row, I was drawn to the cover of a kid sat in a silver chair. Upon closer inspection, I could see it looked like an alien ship. ‘Can we get this one, mum?’ I asked. Mum checked the cover and asked my brothers if they were happy with my choice. They agreed, and we headed home with our afternoon’s viewing packed up in a bag.

You want to be the navigator

After watching the film, I, along with probably millions of other kids, wanted to be the Navigator. It’s easy to see why; getting flown around in an alien spaceship with a cool, robotic sidekick, with no one to answer to. What’s not to like about that? There was an escapism to the film that really appealed to me. Just for a moment, you could see yourself sat in that navigator’s chair flying the ship.

Apart from the shape-shifting spaceship, one of the coolest parts of the film was the alien. His official title is a ‘Trimaxion Drone Ship’, but it soon gets shortened to ‘Max’. He’s the commander of the ship and is on a mission to collect species from across the galaxy. This is why David ends up eight years in the future as Max travels faster than the speed of light. Max’s design is also great. Technically, he’s some kind of robotic cyborg who looked like a long piece of metal with a ball on the end, but he was still cool. And what’s even cooler was that he was voiced by Paul Reubens, aka, American comedy character Pee-Wee Herman. This explains why the robot manages to pull off some hilarious voices when he takes in some human emotions.

Better than E.T

Ok, so that’s quite a claim, but I believe it to be true. The 80s spawned some fantastic kids’ movies; the most iconic being E.T. Now, that was a great movie. Everyone wanted to be Elliot and have their very own E.T in their bedroom cupboard. And there were many other films of the decade that made it awesome to be a kid in the 80s. Ghostbusters; Goonies and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids to name but a few. But what was special about Flight of the Navigator was that it was completely believable. It had something extra that the other films of the time didn’t have. Not only did you want to be David from the film, but it made you believe that it could actually happen. Well, it certainly convinced the eleven-year-old me.

It had the perfect mix of believability; adventure; excitement; action and emotion that is hard to execute for most movies. All the actors in the film do a sterling job – especially Joey Cramer who played David. He is the twelve-year-old boy who gets knocked unconscious after falling down a ravine and then taken to the future by the alien ship. David’s family do an excellent acting job when discovering their son has returned eight years later but having not aged at all. Howard Hesseman plays Dr Faraday; the scientist who discovers that David has alien maps and charts stored in his brain. He does a great job of acting the scientist who wants answers, but also a darker side of wanting to keep David against his will to study him. Sarah-Jessica Parker also has the role of a young scientist who helps David escape the facility.

Superb writing

One of the things that makes this film so good is the writing. More specifically, the dialogue between Max and David once Max has done a mind transfer and taken on human emotions. They are some genuinely laugh-out-loud bits throughout the film, but the best part takes place when Max takes the ship under the ocean to hide. David asks whether the ship leaks. Max replies, ‘I do not leak. You leak, remember?’ This refers to when the ship had to stop to allow David to take a wee. There are many great quips peppered throughout the segment, which is a credit to the screenwriter Michael Burton.

I also have to mention the special effects. Remember that this film came out in 1986, but the CGI used to create the alien ship still looks good today. There is a scene where the ship almost lands on top of a group of scientists. It then shape-shifts, before flying off at supersonic speed. That still looks awesome thirty-five years on. There’s no looking back today and cringing at it. Credit to Omnibus Computer Animation, who did a fantastic job at the effects.

A reboot?

If there is one feel-good family film that you should watch on a cold winters evening, then Flight of the Navigator is the one. It has everything you could want in an adventure movie. I can’t think of one single negative thing to say about the whole movie, and that’s with taking off my rose-coloured glasses.

There is also going to be a remake. Well, potentially two. Walt Disney has one in pre-production, and Neil Blomkamp from District 9 fame has announced a feature remake. I love Neil’s work, so I’m cautiously optimistic about that, but please don’t ruin an absolute classic.


That’s why Flight of the Navigator is the best movie of the 1980s. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


More of our Sci-Fi articles our HERE

Read IMDB information on Flight of the Navigator HERE.

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9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies

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Wayne's World image
Paramount Pictures

There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.

1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)

Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.

2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)

Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.

3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)

You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.

4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.

5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)

Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.

6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)

I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.

7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)

This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.

8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)

We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.

9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)

Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.


That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.


Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.

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