Well, I watched “Space Warriors” all the way through last night. The extras on the DVD are good, lots of film of Space Camp. The movie itself it more or less a 90-minute advertisement. They had just wrapped on the filming when I was there for the first time (some things were still sitting around from the filming), so it's a good time-capsule for when I was there.
While I am glad I got a copy, it’s really a so-so movie, overall, but I expected this. I’m no fan of the ‘Hallmark channel" movies, they’re cookie-cutter fare with some of the worst writing and acting ever. With full cooperation of Space Camp, they could have made such a better movie than this.
Beats me where they found these actors, but I think casting started off with the premise of, “Let’s find the most annoying child actors we can get,” with the possible exception of the girl pilot. I found myself hoping that the Chinese kid and the redneck mechanic were accidently blown out an airlock without space suits early on in the film. And the 'bad guy' team people? I think the director watched too many 80s movies and really went over the top in how they were portrayed. I mean come on, nobody has a smile like that every minute (If I knew someone who smiled like that all the time, I'd think he was psychotic, which that character clearly was).
They played fast and loose with the overall premise of camp again and the details were very odd. So there was an effort to go all over the world, telling kids in person they’d been accepted to some kind of scholarship program? The 1986 movie also pushed the whole, 'competition' angle and how hard it is to get into Space Camp as if anyone can't just register and show up. Anyone who's been there knows better.
Every team is dressed differently, I guess for the audience to differentiate between them? I also couldn’t quite get over how Space Camp movies have to have real astronauts as trainers for some reason. And the teenage girl flying military drones (at a top-secret ‘black ops’ base, no less) with a hobby-shop RC controller was pretty silly. I tried not to laugh at the idea that the back fence at Space Camp was standing in for Creech AFB. In real life, that’s in the middle of the Nevada desert! Or how about a kid who’s already a tour guide at the center being allowed to participate in a Camp contest anyway?
I get that the kids came up with a fix for the ISS (which was much more plausible than a sentient robot sabotaging a shuttle flight to get the kids into space) but I couldn’t accept that there was no other similar effort going on in every NASA facility at the same time. You’d think some mention could have been made where Danny Glover could have said, “Teams working over at Redstone and Houston haven’t come up with a more viable plan than the ones these kids thought up, so let’s do this.”
And the winner of this competition was to go into space, right? So why wasn’t that mentioned at all at the end when the team did win? Did that suddenly get yanked out from underneath them? At least the original ‘Space Camp’ movie had a somewhat more realistic overall scenario (sitting in on an engine test that went way bad) than the winning team actually going to the ISS. What parent would sign those waivers and permission forms?
Okay, all the gripes out of the way, they really showed off the facility quite well. One of the annoying things about the 1986 movie to me was how little of the real Space Camp got used. This film used almost every facility on the property, and the photography was quite good. It put a smile on my face seeing all this stuff again and it made me look forward to going back this fall. Which, I guess, was probably the entire idea. In that sense, it does a great job.
I would assume that starting this year, a new crop of young campers will have been motivated by this film. Lets just hope none show up thinking they're going to compete to actually go into space!
What Space Camp forum would be complete without a place to talk about one of the best/worst movies of all time, SpaceCamp, as well as all Space Camp references in pop culture.
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