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Explorers Blu-ray Review

“Explorers” is an underrated kidventure film from Joe Dante.

The plot: After having visions, Ben is ultimately led to create a spacecraft dubbed Thunder Road alongside his brainy friend Wolfgang and tough kid Darren. As the 3 venture into space in their makeshift ship, they encounter another spaceship. What happens from there on out…I won’t say.

1985’s “Explorers” has become quite the cult movie over the years and rightly so. It’s a breezy, charming sci-fi family film filled with adventure, pop culture references, discovery, a great cast, and wonderful special effects by ILM. Does it owe a lot to “E.T.”? For sure, but the movie has its own distinct vibe thanks to filmmaker Joe Dante and writer Eric Luke. The movie doesn’t go where you think it will nor does it end like you think it might, which is rare for a family movie. I also appreciated its rather bold exploration of adult concepts about living in the moment, expectations, and childhood.

“Explorers” is perhaps best known for having two would be stars in Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix. Phoenix (who made his film debut here) already showed such promise as an actor as he brings so much depth and eccentricities to the character of Wolfgang. Hawke (who also made his film debut here) proved he could lead a movie even then. Jason Presson had a short child actor career, but he acts well off of Hawke and Phoenix.

Note: This Blu-ray set contains the theatrical and home video cuts of “Explorers.” 


Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? It’s not quite the homerun some might be expecting and the print can be overly grainy and have some dirt specs and lines and so forth. Still, there are times when this hi-def transfer shines to be sure.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The 5.1 track, on the other hand, is a really nice upgrade in the audio department.

* “Explorers” theatrical trailer
* Nearly 34 minutes of rough cut deleted scenes. Optional commentary by Joe Dante is also included.
* New individual interviews with cinematographer John Hora and editor Tina Hirsch
* “A Science Fiction Fairy Tale- The Story Of Explorers”- The centerpiece of the extra features is this new 64 minute featurette that contains cast and crew interviews, discussions about the project’s origins and concepts, River Phoenix stories, and much more. Great bonus feature.

May 25, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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