SpaceCamp shares a striking similarity to Ron Howard's Apollo 13--it's about NASA trying to bring some people down from outer space, except in this case 13 represents the median age of those in danger. Kate Capshaw plays ... more »Andie, who throws off the curve by being on the high end of that age scale. She's always a bridesmaid, but never a bride in the shuttle program, an astronaut doomed to play wet nurse to a gaggle of kids enrolled in NASA's summer program. Of course, out of all these teeming hordes of children (there don't appear to be any particular qualifying standards to attend the camp), the film focuses on five. Kathryn (Lea Thompson) is a hopeful pilot who wants to be at the controls of the shuttle one day. Tate Donovan plays Kevin, a daft young carouser who is supposed to be so incorrigible he's winning (he's not). Kelly Preston is Tish, a valley girl with a photographic memory, and Larry B. Scott is Rudy. Rudy's there to meet the Hollywood quota for capsule diversification, but neither he nor Trish does much. Most oddly, Joaquin Phoenix is Max, the young Star Wars nut whose brain and fast friendship with a NASA robot get them all sent into orbit. It's unfortunate that a lot of topical swear words are peppered throughout SpaceCamp, as it could operate as a diverting night's watch for the young astro-nut in your house. Director Harry Winer, who rose from television and sank back to television after this film stiffed over the summer of 1986, directs in 20-minute blocks like he's pacing himself for a commercial break. Once the embarrassing, extremely '80s, opening 40 minutes are dispensed with, however, and the crew accidentally gets blasted into space, the effort to return home is involving, even if it is pretty silly. SpaceCamp won't win any merit badges for script writing, acting, or direction but it's got the right li'l Camp NASA spirit. --Keith Simanton« less
Love this family movie that was a victim of terrible timing
Darren Harrison | Washington D.C. | 05/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 occurred the movie "Collateral Damage"was pulled from release, to be postponed for months after the incident. It's also quite common for television stations to pull a scheduled showing of a disaster movie when a real-life disaster occurs. However, there is perhaps no more glaring example of bad timing having an adverse affect on a movies chances than SPACECAMP. It's 1986 and the United States feels pretty good about itself. It's clearly winning the Cold War and under the Reagan administration the country feels strong and prosperous. The U.S. also seems to be winning in the space race too with the first teacher set to go up on a shuttle mission and a movie on a group of kids being accidentally sent into space due to be released among a slate of fun summer movies. Yet all that changed on Jan. 28, 1986 when the United States (along with the rest of the world) is rocked by the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. Initially scheduled for a June release date the family movie "SpaceCamp" is pushed back into the doldrums of the fall, it seems the country is not able to stomach a movie that makes light of the dangers of space travel when the country is in the shadow of a real-life disaster. This was highly unfortunate and the lack of box office has meant that this movie has been mostly forgotten. Sure, there is no Oscar worthy performances here and the script seems to be somewhat sophomoric at times, but it is entertaining in its execution, with a great soundtrack by the legendary John Williams and it has an appealing cast headed by the gorgeous Lea Thompson (from the Back to the Future movies) and (future wife of Steven Spielberg and female lead in the second Indiana Jones movie) Kate Capshaw. Also featured is the always excellent Tom Skerritt as Cmdr. Zach Bergstrom.. The movie follows four teens (Thompson, Larry B. Scott, Kelly Preston and Tate Donovan) and one pre-teen Max (Joaquin Phoenix - yes, you read that right) who get launched into space after a small robot decides to make Max's dream of being in space a reality. In the space shuttle for a look-see the teens (along with their instructor playes by Capshaw) must launch after a crisis with the solid fuel boosters is manufactured by the good intentions of the robot (incidently, this was also a cause of the real-life Chalenger disaster). Truth be told Max is an annoying character and the presence of the robot obtrusive and also annoying. But the movie as a whole is mildly diverting and entertaining. Thompson never looked more appealing and it was this movie (not the Back to the Future trilogy) that led me as a 15-year old to develop a teenage crush on the actress. The movie has its adreneline rish moments, its suspense and excitement. It's a pure popcorn movie to sit back and enjoy on a rainy Saturday. It's not high class entertainment, but then again it was never meant to be. Unfortunately the DVD is lacking in special features. Hopefully, this will be rectified by the studio soon."
Kindled my interest all the way to Space Camp 1988!
husker57 | St. Louis, MO | 02/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember flipping through the channels at home and came across a preview for this on HBO. I sat down and watched it. I was hooked! When I saw at the end that it was filmed at the US Space Camp, I ran to the Post Office to look up Huntsville, AL's ZIP code and I sent a letter off. I got info. I worked hard the summer of '88. I was only 12 but everything I earned went towards my trip to Space Camp in Florida (which had just opened that year). I remember the trip down there by van with my dad and two bothers. All the way from southern Minnesota to Florida by van. My brother quizzed me on every system of the shuttle and I wound up being Commander of my team.What's this got to do with the movie? Well, if not for this movie, I never would have gone there. This movie inspired me to reach beyond what I think I can do and 'reach for the stars'. This movie taught me that anything is possible. I loved this movie then, but today I understand even more what it did for me. Great movie, great story."
Dated but still worth a look
Ms. H. Sinton | Ingleby Barwick. U.K. | 03/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Space Camp is about a group of youngsters attending the summer school of the title. During their time there they learn about becoming astronauts, NASA, the space programme etc. There are the usual teenage conflicts between some members of the group and authority. When they get the chance to actually sit in a Shuttle whilst tests are made they think that is the ultimate adventure. Unfortunately a robot called JINX who has befriended Max (a very young Joaquin Phoenix), decided to help Max get into space for real and ensures the Shuttle is actually launched. This is where the group realise what adventure really is! Formulaic movie with no real surprises but still quite a good film to watch, particularly for the youngsters. There are no extras (not even subtitles for the deaf) but it's a low enough price to forgive that.
A True Classic for Astronaut Wannabe's
SpaceBoy | Amherst, NY United States | 04/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"And this one time...at Space Camp...I kissed a girl under the SRBs (Solid Rocket Boosters)...and I got to go around and re-live different scenes from the movie, especially repeating all of Leaf Phoenix's star wars references during mission simulations..it was too much fun...LOL...but still true... Certainly, there are tons of things wrong about the movie that would never happen at Space Camp or in real life, but that's hollywood and that's what makes it fun. And when this was made, Space Camp itself was a pipe dream for many kids and the lucky few who got to attend as youngsters were treated like Gods, and are still revered today, so this movie was a way for us poor folks to go to camp without forking out the bucks. Therefore to those of us who actually grew up in the 80's and remember seeing this move in the theater and the excitement of a space shuttle launch and still have dreams of being an astronaut, and for those of us who have worked at Space Camp its' definately a priceless jewel in the DVD treasure chest."
If you like movies that promote teamwork, then see this.
SpaceBoy | 05/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Despite what some say, this one might be a bit slow for kids (and anyone who has an extremly short attention span,) since it's not until about halfway into the film that the charecters actually go into space. But anyone eles should check this one out! NASA traniee Andie has been denied permission to go to the moon, and has become the reluctant instructor for a group of teens at NASA's Space Camp. The first half of the film introduces us to the students: Kevin, who was sent by his father, and who really dosen't care about being there, Kathlyn, who has dreams of being an astronaut and who reminds Andie of herself in many ways, Trish, a valley girl who is both preppy and intelligent, Rudy, the jock, and Max, the young STAR WARS obsessie-and the film follows their experiences at camp. Then one day they are sceduled to sit in a shuttle while the engines are tested, to get a bit of a feel for what take-off is like, when they are accidentally sent into space by a NASA robot. (You find out exactly how and why this happens when you see the film.) Now it's up to all of them, working as a group, to make it back alive, and despite what Kevin Simanton, says, Trish and Rudy DO help out in getting back home safely. Even if you're not into space travel, this is a good film to see if you like movies where everyone works together and helps out. It's also nice to see Kate Capshaw in a strong role for a change."