The 80ies were a particularly successful time for director Joe Dante. About one year prior to John Landis' "American Werewolf" (1981) he had created a sound werewolf spine-chiller.
For Steven Spielberg, he directed "Gremlins", "Innerspace", two episodes of the TV show "Amazing Stories" and one of the segments of "Twilight Zone: The Movie".
In 1985, he shot "Explorers" which was right in the spirit of the time, since films such as "The Goonies", "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom", "The NeverEnding Story" and "Back to the Future" were all box office hits.
Comparison between the German VHS version and the German DVD version.
The VHS version is based on the theatrical version and has two more scenes than the DVD version. The latter, however, contains a scene which was missing in the theatrical version as yet.
The missing scenes are featured in the bonus material of the DVD version, though (this is where the screenshots are from).
Most likely the comparison is also relevant concerning the US and international DVD/VHS Releases.
Run time VHS 1:44:45
Run time DVD 1:42:08
Comparison of the image sections:
VHS / DVD
The VHS version features an additional scene
Wolfgang Müller (River Phoenix), toting a stack of books around, crosses the street and nearly gets run over by two bikers.
One of them tells him to watch where he is going.
Over the way, he runs into the arms of a bully.
Wolfgang greets him, which the bully answers with a growl
Wolfgang moves on, but biggest bully Steve Jackson and his gang are already waiting for him.
Steve makes fun of Wolfgang and throws away his breakfast bag.
Another member of the gang sneers at Wolfgang's shorts. Wolfgang is quick to correct the bully, when he pronounces his last name "Muller" instead of "Müller". The bully replies with the insult that only idiots pulled their trousers up to their armpits.
A third gang member says that he didn't like maths, whereupon Steve replies that he didn't like school at all. At that, he tosses Wolfgang's books to the ground. Wolfgang protests.
Steve says that they would meet again later. Then, the other gang members insult Wolfgang again and depart. The second bully tells the other one that he would come down with measles if he had touched Wolfgang.
They walk away laughing.
Wolfgang collects his books from the ground. His friend Ben Crendall (Ethan Hawke) turns up on his bike.
He asks Wolfgang if everything was OK, and Wolfgang tells him about Steve Jackson. Ben says that Steve was nuts.
Both walk along the track, then Ben stops in front of a house.
Ben says that he wished he could just for once look into Lori Swenson's room. Wolfgang asks Ben if he couldn't simply busy himself with something more important.
As they walk along the street, Ben produces a drawing of something he was inspired to during a dream. Wolfgang says it had better be more sensible than his last one. Ben hands it over to him. Wolfgang tells him that he might be able to program it with his computer and that what he saw in his dream looked like an antenna.
Ben adds that there were three of those in his dream, whereupon Wolfgang replies that this was quite an interesting amplifier stage. He is surprised at Ben's apparent understanding of electronics.
They arrive at their school (the Charles M. Jones Junior High School!). A bully approaches Wolfgang, tears up his trousers and makes fun of him. Indignantly, Wolfgang announces that is going to skip school today and leaves. Ben asks Wolfgang to take his school books with him, since he would not need them anymore today.
As Wolfgang returns to Ben, he tangles with bikers once again.
The pedaling children tell Wolfgang to watch out and call him names.
Wolfgang, in return, calls them idiots and tells Ben to beware of Steve Jackson. Ben states that Steve Jackson suffered from an abnormal swell of his ego.
There is an additional scene in the VHS version.
In the dead of night, the three boys push the stolen funfair gondola across the road.
Ben complains about the idea to wheel it, instead of taking it apart with a blowtorch. Wolfgang says they had better listened to him in the first place, while Darren tells them both to shut up.
At that moment, the gondola rolls away, down the sloping road. On its way, it sounds funny carnival music. Shouting, the boys run after it.
After the gondola has knocked down a few garbage cans, a dog starts barking in the background and a woken man gets worked up. Loudly, he shouts into the street, asking what was going on out there.
Unrestrained, the gondola races towards a slope and crashingly plunges down. Ben utters a cry of desperation.
In the VHS version, the following scene is missing.
After Ben has looked at his emerald in class, a dream sequence follows. Suddenly, he is alone in the classroom and sees the starship in the corner. He approaches it and opens a hatch. Then, the dream sequence in the VHS version sets in again.