• Explorers
    1 minutes 4 seconds
    Added: May 9, 2008


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Explorers Reviews

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Super Reviewer

February 16, 2013
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.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

February 20, 2012
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!
Phil H

Super Reviewer

February 10, 2009
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 ;)

Super Reviewer

May 6, 2011
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.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

June 12, 2010
A kooky 80s classic about kid space exploration and aliens. Sure it makes little sense from a logistical standpoint, but it doesn't matter when it's such a great story. Both Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix are unmatched when it comes to child stars in that they're just too smart and intelligent for their own good. This had some strange effects and creatures to say the least, in many ways it is the opposite premise of ET. Instead of aliens coming to earth, humans were going to space and meeting aliens. It's sort've dark and mature for a kid's movie, but one of the best.

Super Reviewer

November 20, 2007
one of those classic films from my childhood that i am now excited to share with me kids. early ethan hawke, and even better, early cindy mancini, this is one of those completely unbelievable stories that isnt fleshed out well at all but you didnt care as a kid because it was so much fun. a good family classic.
Jason O

Super Reviewer

September 14, 2009
Rather uninspired and boring to me, especially when compared to other River Phoenix films and ones in this genre from the time period.
Lafe F

Super Reviewer

July 14, 2007
An 80's kids' space odyssey. It was a sensation in it's time, but barely memorable 20 years later. The aliens are quirky and fun, but for what? Big cosmic showtune of an end theme during the credits. I always thought of this movie: "What's all the hub-bub, Bub?"

Super Reviewer

March 15, 2007
Average sci-fi fantasy film about a group of kids travelling into space with their own spaceship. There's not enough spectacle or action for the kids and not enough meat for adults.
Ross C

Super Reviewer

March 14, 2007
Explorers has a great premise - kids messing with computers discover they can create a mysterious physics-defying bubble allowing them to build a home-brew spaceship. However, it lets itself down with a tacky sci-fi second half that even 9 year-olds find absurdly silly! Classic childhood roles for Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix too!
Jason S

Super Reviewer

January 30, 2007
Fun adventure about three kids who build a spaceship.
Todd S

Super Reviewer

December 13, 2007
When I was a kid, Explorers was one of my favorite movies. Ever since I can remember I've had a fascination with outer space and all the possibilities that are out there. That being said, Explorers was the perfect movie to me when I was a kid, but watching it again for the first time in fifteen years, things have changed. The story follows three young boys who start having weird dreams. They decide to build what they see in their dreams and to their surprise they build a spaceship. The boys are pulled into outer space, where they meet a group of aliens who are obsessed with our TV broadcasts and use different characters and scenes in order to communicate. As a kid, the story was magical, but as an adult, it was very lame. The hysterical aliens were unbelievably annoying and all the 'cool, futuristic' stuff is now simple classic eighties cheese. As for the cast, they are terrific, obviously, that's why two of the three boys grew up to be stars. Explorers was a favorite of mine as a kid, but that's really who it's aimed at. I watched it again because it's streaming and I loved it then, but watching it now kind of ruined it for me. This isn't like the Goonies, which is good any time at any age. Explorers is a kids movie that doesn't grow up as you do.

Super Reviewer

November 4, 2007
This film is from my childhood. The first time I seen it was in grade school. Very funny.
April 3, 2012
Setting nostalgia aside is difficult to do (Explorers is a movie from my youth that I just rediscovered after completely forgetting about it years ago) but I can justify giving this movie more than 3 stars after re-watching it with my kids. Explorers starts out as a decent kids sci-fi flick but kinds of falters towards the end and dives into realms beyond cheesy. A young Ethan Hawke is a bit annoying but fun to watch and River Phoenix is almost unrecognizable as the nerdy Wolfgang Muller. Explorers is nostalgic but not anything that would capture today's youth.
March 25, 2009
Some kid friends learn how to build a spaceship in this classic 1980s fantasy adventure. Joe Dante does another fun flick. Postulates what would happen if a kid really could fly a spaceship, which just about every space nerd or geek has longed for as a child. Heck, I even built a spaceship, but I made mine better. Ha. Stars a young River Phoenix.
June 5, 2010
It begins like a normal, mediocre 80's movie for kid-types, then rapidly devolves into an incoherent turd. Plots and characters are laid to waste in a godawful script that crescendoes into a terrifying meeting with what is probably the dumbest alien race you'll ever see. Apparently the lesson is that even in space, parents are in control. Oh, and I guess all adults are supposed to be alien-murdering douchebags. Highly recommended.
March 16, 2010
greatest of 80's films great everything mixture of the fun experience of joe dante's extrodiany work
August 9, 2009
It's certainly imaginative, and it starts out well, but as the film progresses, it gets just too extreme and over the top. It's a fun movie though, very light and entertaining. Decent special effects.
June 24, 2009
If "Goonies" is the '80s most perfect distillation of every kid's fondest swashbuckling pirate fantasies, then "Explorers" is that decade's science fiction equivalent... at least until it makes an unfortunate last act detour into the ridiculous. Escapist whiz Joe Dante seems almost preternaturally tuned into what makes young people tick, and in this film he has a crackerjack premise to work with, about a trio of young misfits who bond over a basement-level mad science experiment that results in the discovery of a magical, indestructible force field. Doing what any 12-year-old boys would do with such technology, they set about building themselves a jerry-rigged spaceship out of an old tilt-a-whirl cart, stock up on chips and junk food, then fly off into the wild blue yonder. It's a terrific idea, and for about two thirds of its running time it makes for a delightful bit of escapist adventure. It seems to get even more promising once the trio end up in space for an intergalactic encounter with a vast alien ship... but sadly that's about where the script runs out of gas. Instead of exploring the great unknown, our heroic trio meet up with a pair of grotesque "cute" alien creatures who look like sun-bloated toads spackled under tons of glistening pancake makeup and who speak in a constant chatter of obnoxious pop-culture references gleaned from Earth tv... and that's pretty much it. The last thirty minutes aren't just groan-inducing on a Jar-Jar Binks level, they completely vacuum out all of the wonder and excitement that the flick had been building up... it's like soaring off into the heart of the universe only to find out that it's all one great big fart joke. Too bad, because up until it flies off the rails, "Explorers" is glorious fun.
November 22, 2008
One of those movies that I'm sure if you remember watching this as a kid in the 80s (which I don't), you'll love it forever, but which doesn't really hold up now. Of course River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke are fun to see, and the effects are decent. The first half is pretty unbelievable, with genius children and a lack of understanding for scientific limitations, although it's still entertaining. And then we meet the aliens, and it's all downhill. In much the same way Flight of the Navigator fell apart for me, this movie also opts to abandon science fiction almost completely for what seems like hours of stand-up "comedy" based on late-night television stereotypes. Frankly, it was just painful.
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