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Space Camp

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In order to create the image of the zero gravity in space, the shuttle set was suspended in a gyroscopic rig (very similar to that Lea Thompson was required to steady in the film), allowing the “bottom” of the set to be on any wall, floor, or ceiling. The actors were suspended in harnesses and pulled themselves along the walls, etc. This made for a very realistic weightlessness effect.



More Behind The Scenes from Space Camp
A starry-eyed young girl gazes longingly into the night sky in the hopes of catching John Glenn’s launch into orbit...

...After perceiving his afterburners as a wink at her from the heavens, she vows to go up herself someday.

Fast forward to a now adult woman – Andie Bergstrom – ace pilot and hopeful astronaut lamenting NASA passing her over once again for the shuttle team. Her astronaut husband Zack is rather grateful of this: It means that he’ll have her assistance this summer at Space Camp, a prospect she’s less than thrilled about.

Her campers: Young hotshot pilot wannabe Katherine, “slacker with potential” Kevin, “a bit slow on the uptake but trying really hard” Rudy, scatter-brained genius Tish and junior camper Max. After a very bumpy beginning (Max nearly causes the crash of an expensive maintenance droid, Katherine and Kevin get caught breaking curfew and the entire crew is “killed” in a flight simulator when they display complete lack of teamwork), they are thrilled when they find that they will be allowed to sit in the actual space shuttle Atlantis during a booster test. One problem: Max has wished aloud to be sent into space within earshot of the malfunctioning maintenance droid Jinx – and Jinx has made all the necessary arrangements.

That’s the plot. Jinx causes a malfunction of the boosters that forces them into actual launch and Andie must coach her crew into becoming a solid team if they are to make it home safely, which of course, she does, even after an accident disables Andie from landing the craft.

Verdict?

Solid performances by all (both the adults and the adolescents) and you can show it to the kids!

Seriously, it's fun for all ages, and one of those "no bad guy" adventure fantasies. Everyone's a hero here and gets the chance to shine.

Even with the somewhat formulaic plot, the "each according to his own gifts" character building device is effective. Sure, you know everyone will come home all right, but it's inspiring to see them get there by working as a team and by fulfilling their personal potential...

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: The chance to see Lea Thompson, Tate Donovan, Kelly Preston and Leaf (!) Phoenix as newcomers!
Kick-butt score by John Williams -- who truly knows how to write for heroes!

Weaknesses? Watching a shuttle launch go wrong was spooky in 1986 and is spooky again now due to both the Challenger and Columbia tragedies.

Our rating: 7.5 out of 10


Review Written by McLeigh:  Contact  |  More Reviews by McLeigh
Space Camp