This One Time at SpaceCamp
When her mission to space gets delayed NASA cadet Andie (Kate Capshaw) is not overly happy especially as it means she will end up with her husband Cmdr. Zach Bergstrom (Tom Skerritt) doing NASA SpaceCamp for gifted children. Her group of teenagers includes laid back Kevin (Tate Donovan), eager to be the best Kathryn (Lea Thompson) and super smart Max (Joaquin Phoenix) who really should be with the young children but is too smart to be with them. After spending time bonding and being trained up to actually be able to man a shuttle the group are taken on a tour of a real shuttle. That is when NASA robot Jinx mischievously launches them and now these kids along with Andie are going to have to figure out how to bring the shuttle back to Earth.
"Police Academy" for children who dream of either going in to space or just attending NASA's space camp, that is what "SpaceCamp" is. As such the first half of the movie is all about the training with these children getting to bond, show off their individual talents, help each other out when things go wrong and so on and so forth. And when you remember "SpaceCamp" is a family movie from 1986 you sort of see how it would work especially when you have a super smart child who knows how to fix a quirky NASA robot called Jinx. It basically has something for everyone including Tate Donovan's character attempts at romancing a very youthful looking Lea Thompson; in fact she looks younger than she did in the previous years "Back to the Future".
Of course in all these misfits going through training movies all that training has to come in to use and in "SpaceCamp" we have a mishap which sees these kids end up in the shuttle which has accidentally been launched. But for those who weren't around in 1986 or don't remember it was in January of that year when the shuttle Challenger exploded 74 seconds after lift-off, claiming the lives of seven American astronauts. This caused major problems for this movie which was put back and when it did get released didn't do to well at the box office. The thing is that this second half is fine for the sort of movie it is with a clocking tick as oxygen supplies run down but it isn't anything special.
What this all boils down to is that "SpaceCamp" probably would have entertained young audiences back in the mid 80s but watched now it is really only going to deliver some nostalgic fun for those who enjoyed back as teenagers in the 80s rather than winning over new audiences.