Starring Kate Capshaw, Lea Thompson. (PG)


Intended to be a fun space adventure about kids who are accidentally launched in the space shuttle, SpaceCamp was the victim of bad timing – it was originally scheduled for release in the US in early 1986, but then in January of that year the unthinkable happened, and the real space shuttle Challenger exploded, killing the seven astronauts on board. When the film was released six months later it wasn’t a hit, which is a shame as it’s actually like a (very dated!) junior version of Apollo 13, and it co-stars a twelve-year-old Joaquin Phoenix (then credited as Leaf) in his first big-screen role.

He plays Max, one of a group of teenagers attending a summer camp in which they get to experience the space shuttle on flight simulators. And after Max befriends an intelligent robot (which actually looks pretty clunky by today’s standards), it’s not long before he and his pals find themselves in the real shuttle Atlantis, which is accidentally sent into orbit with them on board. With a cast that also includes The OC’s Tate Donovan and Mrs John Travolta, Kelly Preston, it’s fascinating for adults to see what these actors looked like a couple of decades ago, while younger kids with a passion for space travel will get a kick out of seeing teens in space. 

Star Star


There are tense scenes aboard the shuttle but nothing scary.

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