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The Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey

Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey, The (1988) Movie Poster
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  •  Australia / New Zealand  •    •  90m  •    •  Directed by: Vincent Ward.  •  Starring: Bruce Lyons, Chris Haywood, Hamish McFarlane, Marshall Napier, Noel Appleby, Paul Livingston, Sarah Peirse, Mark Wheatley, Tony Herbert, Jessica Cardiff-Smith, Roy Wesney, Kathleen-Elizabeth Kelly, Jay Saussey.  •  Music by: Davood A. Tabrizi.
      A young boy in 14th century Cumbria (north of England) keeps getting visions he cannot explain. His village has so far been spared from the black death, but the villagers fear its imminent arrival. With the boy as their guide, a group set out to dig a hole to the other side of the world, so as to fulfil the visions and save the village. At the 'other side' is 20th century New Zealand!..

Review:

Image from: Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey, The (1988)
Image from: Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey, The (1988)
Image from: Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey, The (1988)
Image from: Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey, The (1988)
Image from: Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey, The (1988)
Image from: Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey, The (1988)
Image from: Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey, The (1988)
Image from: Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey, The (1988)
Image from: Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey, The (1988)
Image from: Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey, The (1988)
Image from: Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey, The (1988)
Image from: Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey, The (1988)
Image from: Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey, The (1988)
I ordered the DVD of this on the sole knowledge that it was a time-travel film and imagining that it couldn't NOT be fun - and unfortunately came to regret my purchase on watching the said film although I actually watched the DVD three times in the hope that I could glean more interest the second and third time round. But no, my overall opinion did not change. This is for a number of reasons, firstly the dialogues are mostly unintelligible, they are very strong ScottishIrish accents, there should be subtitles but there aren't any, so, basically, if you are not ScottishIrish, you're up a gum tree. If English is not your mother tongue, you can forget the film completely! Second thing is picture quality which is very amateur compared to similar type films made in Hollywood, thirdly, there is little interaction between the people from the 14th century and the people from the 20th - the fun about time-travel films is exactly the interaction which serves to construct a plot. Our band of miners, although "physically" in the 20th century, remain for the most part amongst themselves, and I would even query the logic of certain of their reactions faced with modern conveniences such as lorries and television sets.

Here we have people tunnelling through a mine in Cumbria and ending up in New Zealand. Even if they were very fit, it's just nonsense, there's also the boy who dreams it all in advance but we don't know why.

The worst failing of the film is it's almost perpetual dark and night. I intensely dislike films that take place all the time at night. Human beings are generally sleeping at night, whatever country they may be in so it doesn't make sense to make a film of this nature take place in the middle of the night - unless we are talking about a night watchman who's gone off on a time travel adventure - but this is not the case. So why make most of the sets in pitch dark, it's unnatural and you get the impression, rightly or wrongly that the film maker is trying to hide some inadequacies, whatever they may be.

Lastly I'm not into medieval dress and costume - I am a person of the 20th century and am open to time travel around 200 or 300 years but the 14th century is a little too far back for me! The film is the antithesis of another time travel film which I equally detested called the 12 monkeys - that was too extreme in the other way, incomprehensible plot, too many special effects to the point of becoming boring. In this film, the plot is just not strong enough to engender emotion, and there is no romance, which is a big "minus" in time travel films.

As far as time travel goes, I'm more of a "Portrait-of-Jennie", Somewhere in time, For all time, cream-in-my-coffee person - I don't like the extremist ends of the scale, either too primitive (this film) or too overdone ( many others).

I cannot possible recommend this film to anyone seeking an exciting and coherent time travel adventure....the only possible use would appear to be a cure for radical insomnia.


Review by Nicholas Rhodes from the Internet Movie Database.