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Flight of the Navigator [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 Stereo (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Certification: U
  • Run Time: 90 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Second Sight
  • Blu-ray Release Date: November 19, 2012
  • RRP: £17.99

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

Were it not for Steven Spielberg’s classic 1982 kids’ sci-fi adventure E.T., Flight of the Navigator (1986) would perhaps have never existed. In the wake of E.T., studios leapt at the chance to get a share of the box office bonanza with their own takes on the genre with varying degrees of success, none of them reaching the level of quality of the original inspiration. The Last Star Fighter, D.A.R.Y.L., and SpaceCamp are just a few of these films, and so is this. Starting off with great promise, the film follows a 12-year-old boy, David (Joey Cramer) who falls unconscious in the woods behind his home in 1978 and wakes up in a world 8-years later. The mysterious story is intriguing, particularly when NASA gets involved, and the story plays out like a cross between an episode of The Twilight Zone and War Games. Soon, however, the plot breaks down, and becomes your average kids’ adventure, as David finds an intelligent alien spaceship named MAX (Paul Reubens doing the voice) who needs star charts in his head to get back to his planet. Soon they are in a race from David’s family and the government, before he eventually comes to the conclusion we already knew he would reach, and that is that he really loves his family and doesn’t want to run away. The acting is more simplistic than it is over the top and the story thin, but enjoyable enough for families, but it lacks the big heart and intelligence of its forebear. By today’s standards, the special effects are rather clunky, but for the time they were pretty good, though still nowhere near what we already saw in films like Blade Runner, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and even the aforementioned E.T.

Video Quality

[Rating:3/5]

The AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement from Second Sight looks natural, but there are still lots of little scratches and specks of dirt that show up pretty much straight through the film. It isn’t overwhelming by any means, but enough to be noticeable and somewhat distracting. Grain levels are also a bit too variable, jumping greatly in darker scenes, but looking nice and tame during the bright, daylight scenes that are by far the transfer’s strongest point.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

A LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) stereo track is provided that offers some slightly boxy sounding dialogue and somewhat harsh sounding high frequencies, particularly in the electronic percussion of the ’80s musical score. Otherwise, there’s good panning and dynamics and no clipping to be heard.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

We get only an audio commentary on this release:

  • Commentary by director Randal Kleiser and producer Jonathan Sanger

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

The ’80s sci-fi adventure Flight of the Navigator tried its best to follow in the steps of the Spielberg classic E.T., but never really reached the same heights. Despite that, it still offers a good time for families, even if this transfer to Blu-ray isn’t the best of a catalogue release we’ve seen.

Additional Screen Captures

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