What movie was that...?

10 December 2009


directed by Joe Dante

For many years, I thought that perhaps I dreamed this movie, directed by Joe Dante and starring a young Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix. It turns out, I just need to find the right person to ask and presto, I was hunting down Explorers, checking it against my childhood memories and finding that the two align perfectly. This tale about three friends who construct a spaceship out of junk and travel into space using a protective bubble generated by brainy Wolfang’s (Phoenix) computer programming skills is something from another time, a time capsule movie that bottles in a bit of the culture for which it was created. I’m talking, of course, about the freak and geeks of yesteryear, children who were techno-savvy before it was the norm, children who would grow up to become the founders of Google and YouTube and Hulu. Hawke is great as Ben, the meek one of the group who dreams up the idea for “the circuit,” while Phoenix gives another confident performance (as usual) in what was far too short a career. You are missed, Mr. P. Rounding out the group is Darren, played by Jason Presson. What ever happened to him? From the junkyard vessel mash up to the alien interprets human culture mash up, Explorers is a film to watch with the right pair of eyes, on a Sunday afternoon or a rainy day when you just can’t get off the couch. Wait BC, are you saying that Explorers is like The Price is Right? I’m pleading the fifth.

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