Released in 1986 by Disney, Flight of the Navigator is a great kids Sci-Fi film which had the lot. A cool metallic transforming spaceship, a child star you didn’t want to strangle (even when he started singing Beach Boys songs), time travel and lots of strange alien animals.
The storyline is that 12 year old David Freeman is sent by his parents on July 4th 1978 to go and fetch his little brother Jeff. On the way he trips and loses consciousness. When he awakes he returns home to find that an old couple now live in his house. Confused, he is taken to the police, who find a missing persons report for David. It appears he has actually been missing for 8 years, yet he hasn’t aged a single day. David’s parents are located, and since there is a lot of confusion around David not having aged, he is sent to hospital to be checked out.
Meanwhile, a strange metallic space craft has been found, having crashed into some electricity lines. It is taken away by NASA to their base for analysis, but apart from the fact it appears to be able to defy gravity, they aren’t able to gain access to the ship to learn anything else.
Whilst in hospital, David is given a brain scan and it is found that his brain appears to be stuffed full of starcharts and other alien information. NASA gets wind of this, and realising there may be a link between David and the ship, ask if he may be taken to their base for a couple of days for some studies.
Once at the base, the ship detects David’s presence and helps him to escape. The ship’s computer is called Trimaxion, although David soon shortens this to Max. The ship’s crash has caused Max to lose it’s way, and it requires the star charts that are in David’s brain in order to get back to it’s home planet. It turns out Max had placed the star charts in David’s brain as an experiment after it was found that humans only use 10% of their brain capacity.
Anyway, after flying around in the ship for a bit, which appears to be made out of some kind of liquid metal that allows it to be able to change it’s shape, David realises that to stay in 1986 with his family is not going to be a good idea, as he will probably end up being studied for the rest of his life. He persuades Max to attempt to take him back to 1978, something Max is reluctant to do as he fears that the human body would not be able to withstand the rigours of time travel. Luckily, all goes well, and David is finally reunited with his family again, as if nothing had happened.