Let’s bring back the term “remake” with this one.
Variety reports Bryce Dallas Howard will direct and produce a new take on the beloved 1980s Disney film, Flight of the Navigator. The original film — produced by an outside group, but acquired and distributed by Disney in 1986 — told the tale of David Freeman (Joey Cramer), a twelve-year-old boy from 1978 who suddenly finds himself in 1986 as the result of an extraterrestrial visitation. The alien turns out to be a sentient spaceship (voice by Paul Rubens as Paul Mall) who needs the star-charts he fed into David’s mind to go back to his planet. The two crisscross the world and learn about life along the way.
We previously called the film the best distillation of an 80s’ boys fantasy about alien contact, and a handful of viewings on Disney+ only continue to support our belief. That said, we wonder if the premise is as strong without its 1980s trappings.
Howard’s film, which will feature a female protagonist, is set to debut on Disney+ when it is ready. The film will be considered her first feature following several great turns in the director’s chair on The Mandalorian, the documentary Dads, and several short films and segments. Joining her on the new Flight are producers Justin Springer and John Swartz. No writer or cast has been announced yet.
Although the project is described as a “reboot” in the Variety article, we think “remake” is the more appropriate term. Sadly, “remake” gained negative connotations across the decades, necessitating the adoption of “reboot” and “re-imaging,” which are now as poisoned as “remake” once was. So let’s go ahead and called it a remake. We’ll be glad we did.