Written by: Patrick Bailey, Larry B. Williams, Clifford Green, and Casey T. Mitchell
Directed by: Harry Winer
Starring: Kate Capshaw, Lea Thompson, Kelly Preston, Larry B. Scott, Joaquin Phoenix, Tate Donovan, and Tom Skerritt
Released by: MGM/UA Home Video
My Advice: Skip it, but fans of the movie might want to own it…
After being stiffed as the pilot on the next shuttle mission, Andie (Capshaw) finds herself yet again a cousellor at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. To make matters worse, this is not the first time she’s been passed over for a mission. Once she gets to Camp, the team of campers assigned to her is anything but cohesive. For starters, Kathryn (Thompson) is way too gung ho about the space program. So much so that she lets her zeal get in the way of succeeding. She befriends Tish (Preston) who, nowadays, would be thrown into the category of ADD, only Tish comes with a photographic memory. Kevin (Donovan) is only there to make his dad happy. The deal was he goes to Space Camp, his dad buys him a Jeep. Then there’s Rudy (Scott), who has the smarts to make it in the astronaut program, but lacks the confidence to really make it happen. Finally, there’s Max (Phoenix), who is actually supposed to be in the younger program, but talks Andie into letting him onto her team because he’s been in junior camp for the past several years.
This is one of those movies that I absolutely loved as a kid. And, yes, I’m probably dating myself, but oh well. I mean, I wore out the VHS copy that I had years ago. Anyway, this is one of those movies that, when you watch it years later, you still like it, but have trouble admitting to other people that you like it. Let’s face it folks–I did–it’s not a very good movie at all. It’s chocked full of cheesy teenage angst and resolves itself way too fast to be a successful story. The characters are paper-thin and the story is so full of holes it would make a better sieve. One of the major holes is the lack of geographical importance with regard to the story.
Anyone with half a brain and a map could see how far apart Huntsville, Alabama is from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Yet, in the movie they are able to drive there in an afternoon. Sorry, but it’s a sticking point. The other really annoying part of the story is the character of Jinx. Not only is the design of the robot boring, the voice is so completely horrible, that I just wanted the robot to be standing under the shuttle when the engines kicked off. Really, if you are going to make the robot one of the major plot devices in the story, wouldn’t you want him to not bore and annoy your audience?
The DVD is sparse. There is absolutely nothing on it, which is a downright shame and kind of odd, too: the Space Camp program missed out on an amazing opportunity for some advertising and recruiting. I can remember watching some supplemental material at the time the movie came out: the usual interviews with cast and crew, but there were also some amazing documentaries and featurettes on Space Camp itself. If nothing else, they could do a retrospective of the Space Camp program. You know, kind of a “then and now” kind of thing. There are tons of educational opportunities that are missed here. After all, those of us that loved the movie during our day might have wanted to show this DVD to our young families, right? I mean, after they stopped laughing at us.
My only hope is that MGM will someday release a special edition DVD of this movie with some bonus material attached. Until then, fans of this movie will want to own it. I’m just going to dump this copy in lieu of another one later on.