‘Fuck!’. That was the first word out of my mouth when I glimpsed this morning’s headline suggesting Joe Dante’s 80s classic “Explorers” was going to be remade.
Okay, so the cutesy science-fictioner wasn’t an “E.T” or a “Goonies”, but it’s still one of those beloved infantile friends from the ’80s that you’d sworn to protect from all wrongdoers. A remake? Homie don’t play that.
“Explorers” wasn’t a huge hit – in fact, it barely made a dint at the box-office upon release. But those that did see it – most of whom discovered it on VHS – fell in love with its enchanting premise and transporting plot. I, for one, remember rushing home from the cinema after watching it to build my own space-ship. If I recall correctly, the parts of my space-ship were discarded (at least I told myself they were no longer being used) junk from the house-next-door – which was still in the building stages. My contraption, made mostly of planks of wood, bricks and broken door-knobs, didn’t fly like the one the kids’ have in the movie but the fact I was convinced it would, speaks volumes for the influential magic “Explorers” obviously encompassed. It captured our imagination and then some.
The film starred River Phoenix, Ethan Hawke and Bobby Fite as three kids who build a spaceship – based on the building instructions one of them has been passed on in his dream. Next thing they know, the trio are whisked off to space – befriending aliens.
Dante, fresh from “Gremlins”, directed. And he did a good job. But had he actually been given the time to finish his movie – the studio moved up the release date, and released the film as is (it was a bloody ‘work print’!) – it might have been “Gremlins” good.
The new movie will be written by Geoff Moore and Dave Posamentier (who!?) and produced by “Mission : Impossible” franchise-regulars Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec.
It’ll be interesting to see whether Hollywood can actually up come up with an “Explorers” half as good as Joe Dante’s ‘unfinished’ version though. I say they can’t.