For Reel

Explorers (1985)
October 8, 2016, 12:33 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Joe Dante
3.5 Stars
explorers”I hate to say it, but this isn’t how I thought it would be at all,” is one of the first lines said after the young boys of Explorers make it to outer space. It is a sentiment that is shared by many movie-goers who make it to Joe Dante’s absolutely eccentric third act. After Dante builds the film with an earnest sense of wonderment and awe—this is a film about average suburban kids who slowly find their world expanding—it collapses into a crushing disappointment. The aliens are not only vile, inane creatures whose dialogue consists mostly of commercial slogans and second-rate late show bits, but they are children just as confused and awkward as they are. If the third act of Explorers is undeniably anti-climactic, it is almost profound in the confusion it causes—Dante gives his best Steven Spielberg impression for much of the film, only to pull the rug out from underneath audiences. As the aliens attempt to amuse the Earthlings with their bad vaudeville act, the reaction shots of the kids (especially a young Ethan Hawke, whose expressions most succinctly capture the sense of both awe and disappointment) reflect the unfortunate truth that there aren’t really answers out there, and even the supposedly higher forms of intelligence are just as corrupted by the pop culture nonsense as they are.

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