Critics Consensus: With a terrific young cast (including Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix) and some typically energetic work from director Joe Dante, Explorers soars past its '80s kiddie flick competitors with wit, good-looking effects, and tons of charm.
No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...
After seeing a series of diagrams in a recurring dream, a young boy and his two close friends build a homemade spaceship in their basement laboratory. This sci-fi adventure, which is tinged with moments of ironic comedy, follows the trio as they travel into the far reaches of outer space.
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Critic Reviews for Explorers
Explorers itself is bubble-thin, but it glides by gracefully on the charm of its three young heroes and their vividly envisioned adventure in space.
It looks terrific, moves along at a gallop, and is marvellously good-natured.
Explorers,' which is lively but largely familiar until the point when it reaches its batty pinnacle, frequently shows off Mr. Dante's sense of humor to good advantage.
Explorers remains a hopelessly schizophrenic film, obscenely eager to compromise its own originality.
A strange, wounded beast, filled with wonderful sequences and homemade charm, but also confused and anticlimactic.
Without an interesting story or characters, special effects aren't enough to sustain a feature film.
The offbeat teen comedy gets off to a good start, but when it takes off in space the spoof becomes too alien to be anything more nourishing than junk food for the soul.
The one that started it all! Started what? No idea!
A family feature on Acid. What a strange, strange film.
An enjoyable, quintessentially 1980s science-fiction adventure, full of wit and crafty pop culture references.
After so much build-up, the ending's a bit of a letdown, but as a kids flick, this is way above average.
Hardly out of this world, but a pleasing spinkle of space dust
A fun-time nostalgic trip into outer space.
The movie's pleasures are obvious and considerable.
Audience Reviews for Explorers
Ben Crandall: We come in peace.
"The adventure begins in your own back yard."
Explorers is a pretty good little sci-fi children's movie, and like most Joe Dante films; it has a feeling of nostalgia all over it. The movie has its problems, but nonetheless it was a nice little watch. Most of the problems come in the second part of the movie. The first half of the movie is great though.
Three friends come together to try to create a spaceship after one of the boys has a crazy dream. They soon find out that the things from his dream works and that they have created a spaceship. After a test run where they take it out for a spin around town, they decide to work out the bugs and go looking for whatever it is that is relaying these ideas to them. The first half is mostly the kids figuring out how to make this thing work, and it's extremely well done. The second half is where they actually try to go into space, and this doesn't quite work as well as it needed to.
It's an interesting movie by all means, especially with young actors that would go onto do bigger and better things like Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix. Phoenix shows of his prodigy skills with a phenomenal performance, and the movie is worth a look if only for Phoenix himself.
Explorers is one to watch when you want a movie that reminds you of being a kid. I didn't expect anything to spectacular as I've noticed that most of Dante's films are missing a key ingredient that would make them more than just slightly above average. In this one, that missing ingredient is the space sequence. The aliens were lame and overall the whole space sequence was just dull. Still, the first half and the cast more then make up for it.
An 80's kids classic that seems to have totally passed me by. Was this even released in the UK? Released in the summer of 85, it had some pretty tough competition. It starts so well, it has all the ingredients of a classic kids 80's film until it gets to the end and then it gets spectacularly bad. Reading up on the history of the project, it seems the producers got tired of it or scared and rushed it out without it being finished - which could be blamed for it being awful but it's still no excuse for those aliens. It's the only film I can think of where I loved the first half and absolutely hated the second. It's Bizarre. Maybe forgivable if I'd seen it as a child but in 1985 there where some pretty good films out, so I still think it wouldn't have been a favourite of mine then. Producers eh!More
Another classic kids flick from a time when imagination seemed to flow like a waterfall, made a year before 'Flight of the Navigator' and along the same kind of lines but much more wild with a stronger fantasy element. The direction from Dante is spot on giving this film a pure family feel which anyone can enjoy whilst the plot is simple yet also has some thought involved with the creation of the kids homemade ship and how they get it to fly.
Visuals for the time were slick and colourful with an air of mystic as allot of the action is during the night, the classic look and feel of the 80's gives this film such a charm much like many other fantasy films of the age, 'E.T.' being a good example. These days of course the effects do look dated but they still do their job and will thrill young viewers as I'm sure the wacky, zany aliens will too. Off the wall and a mix of 'Max Headroom' with 'Pee Wee Herman' and you have the fun creations in full bodysuits that are obvious yet at the same time great fun to watch (like many 'Star Wars' creatures).
Personally I always found 'Flight of the Navigator' more enjoyable than 'Explorers' as it was alittle more sensible in general and really did make me wanna travel in space as the navigator hehe. 'Explorers' was always great fun to watch as the plot builds but I was always kinda disappointed at how the aliens were handled, nice idea to make them kids but I thought they should of been more grounded to give the ending alittle more heart perhaps.
Think 'Goonies' in space ;)
An extremely fun little movie, even it is hampered a bit by the knowledge of "what could have been." I personally would love to see Paramount do a branching version of the film on Blu-ray with all of the known versions of the film (US theatrical, UK theatrical, TV version, DVD version, VHS version), but one can only dream about that I suppose. I also wouldn't mind seeing some additional material to go with it, too.More
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