Disney's 1986 Flight of the Navigator combines a strong ensemble cast and classic '80s soundtrack with dazzling special effects for a high-flying sci-fi adventure. While searching for his little brother in the woods, Even more mystifying is that David hasn't aged, nor can he account for the time lapse. Meanwhile, NASA officials stumble upon a futuristic spacecraft and are determined to assess what David knows about it by locking him in a top-secret lab for scanning and testing. His only chance of escape is in the spacecraft manned by Max, a wisecracking robot. Cramer gives an earnest performance, which overcomes an imperfect script, while enough one-liners and imaginative animation will keep families engaged. Watch for Sarah Jessica Parker in one of her first film appearances. Rated PG for language. (Ages 6 and older) --Lynn Gibson
A 12-year-old boy named David Freeman (played by Joey Cramer), lives with his parents and younger brother in Florida. On the 4th of July, he is sent to retrieve his brother from his friend's house. He goes through a wooded area and falls down into a ravine, knocking himself out. When he awakens what feels like moments later, he goes back to his house. When he arrives, he finds that it has been eight years since he left to go get his brother and that his family thought he was dead. He is taken to a hospital. Scientists are fascinated by the fact that he has not aged in 8 years. At the same time, nearby what appears to be an extraterrestrial spacecraft has crash-landed into some local power lines. NASA agents tell police the spacecraft is their own so that they may take it without interference. NASA officials move the ship to their headquarters for inspection. The ship has no visible seams or breaks in its design, and NASA workers cannot figure out how to open it. The scientists carry out a series of tests on David's brain. The results reveal alien star charts and other information. A connection is made between David's brain's strange results and the alien spacecraft in NASA's possession. David is taken from the hospital to a room at NASA headquarters, near the ship. Sarah Jessica Parker plays an intern named Carolyn who befriends David. David tells Carolyn that NASA planned to keep him a lot longer than they had told his parents and that she needed to warn them. The ship senses David's presence and calls to him. David uses a service robot that comes into his room to escape, crawling into its storage section. The robot is being powered by the ship. Because the security system is programmed to ignore the robot, the robot takes David right up to the ship. When he arrives, a hole in the belly of the ship opens, the surface of the ship pouring down to the ground like liquid metal to form a smooth-stepped stairway. David ascends into the ship, where he meets its robot pilot. He names the pilot Max. Max initially greets him in Bulgarian. When he realizes that David only understands English, he switches to that but tells David that he speaks thousands of languages. Max insists on calling David "Navigator".
The ship rises out of the NASA base despite their attempts to stop it. The Navigator and his ship escape and fly with speed through the skies. Max changes the shape of the ship to make it more aerodynamic to increase speed. The liquid metal melts and molds, reforming into a streamlined, pointed ship. The ship travels at remarkable speeds, can become transparent, travel underwater, through space and the skies, to hover, to move in any way at any time, and had inexhaustible power.
David and Max spend time talking and David finds out that Max has been sent from his home planet of Phaelon to travel across the galaxy, collecting biological specimens to take home with him. David was one of those specimens. After abducting David, they had filled his brain with alien data. But David's brain "leaked" information. That was not intended. They decided to return him to earth, but Max took him back to the wrong time. Eight years had passed and Max did not want to travel back in time with David for fear his human form could not withstand it. After dropping David off, Max went to leave and accidentally crashed the ship into power lines. The electrical disturbance caused when this occurred erased the ship's star charts and the information needed to guide the ship safely home. Max called David back to the ship because he needed the information they had stored in David's brain in order to finish his mission and return home. Max scans David's brain and gets the information he needs, momentarily thrown off by other information he gets from David's brain, Max's system seems to go a bit haywire for a minute. Still being hunted by NASA, David and Max fly around for awhile trying to figure out what to do.