Wednesday, March 2, 2011

SpaceCamp (1986)


1986 was not a good year for NASA. The Challenger space shuttle took its final flight that year. That made the release of this film a bit awkward. But it was one of those that ended up on cable so often that it was a staple of the 80’s. How does it hold up years later?


Our newest cadets at SpaceCamp are ready for some adventure. Kathryn (Lea Thompson) is ready to be the first female shuttle commander, and is annoyed that Kevin (Tate Donovan) isn’t taking anything seriously. Meanwhile Max (Joaquin Phoenix) is a Star Wars fan who befriends a robot named Jinx and gets picked on. No I didn’t make that last sentence up. During a test of the space shuttle Atlantis’ engines, our cadets and their teacher Andie (Kate Capshaw) get launched into space (thanks to Jinx) and now must survive a few orbits and figure out a way to get back home. Will their training at “SpaceCamp” serve them well?

Good Points:

  • Captures the excitement of space travel
  • Some pretty good weightless effects
  • Has the 80’s spirit of fun

Bad Points:

  • Cheesy script and acting abound
  • Jinx… wow
  • Did I mention it was 80’s?


If you can get past the corny acting, some really badly written dialogue and your typical 80’s kids movie vibe, you’ll have a good time. Honestly, this movie is all about having fun and not really wondering how a little robot could manage to get kids launched into space. It’s like “Iron Eagle”, but a more entertaining.

Scores (out of 5)

Visuals: 4

Sound: 4

Acting: 3

Script: 2

Music: 3

Direction: 3

Entertainment: 3

Total: 3

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.


  1. As many times as I've seen this listed on cable, I've never watched it, but I'm not opposed to 80s kid films. I actually own Adventures in Babysitting -- the title probably deters much of the audience that would like it. I'll not be deterred by "Spacecamp" next time.

  2. Yeah, give it a shot. Makes for fun weekend viewing. Oh and "Adventure's in Babysitting" is a classic in my book. Brought whole new meaning to the superhero - Thor!