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SpaceCamp (1986) - Blu-ray Review

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Spacecamp (1986) - Blu-ray Review

4 beersDire Straits, bubble gum, and lots of girl talk.  Alongside the prime directive of “put Max in space”, SpaceCamp, now in its Blu-ray debut, remains a solid celebration of all things bright and shiny and so very 1986 that I can’t help but love its spirited sense of adventure as a group of teens take command of a space shuttle after a rocket’s ignited engine forces them to cancel their practice in the cockpit and take orbit. 

A child’s wish for space travel becomes a goofy robot’s mission as Jinx sends his best friend, Max (a very young Joaquin Phoenix), into orbit around the planet.  How cool is that?!  The thing is that Max and his friends are summer camp attendees at NASA’s real summer camp and, while the dream of flight might be hung in their starry eyes, they are nowhere near ready for REAL duty.  And Jinx, already seen as unfit for space work due to his literal-minded encode, has a quite a bit to learn about his human creators. 

But that doesn’t mean that the little droid can’t help the Star Wars-obsessed Max and his friends return home in the meantime. 

In spite of the obviously dated effects, the adventure contained within SpaceCamp holds up quite well.  It is quick on its feet, develops characters in an intelligent manner, and remains optimistic about our future in space.  Director Harry Winer might have made a name for himself as a television director but here, with his starry-eyed directorial debut, he lays out the groundwork for a promising career in film that never really took off…

…all because of the Challenger disaster. 

While the movie was filmed and finished months before the accident, it was released a mere four months AFTER the incident and, yeah, critics tore SpaceCamp to shreds; the power of the pen used to be a mighty, mighty one.  Damn SpaceCamp for being so blatantly optimistic!  Ridiculous even!  And how the hell is NASA going to explain this unexpected orbit to these kids’ parents?! 

SpaceCamp can now be viewed and appreciated as the thrilling teen-centered adventure that it is thanks to this Blu-ray release from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.  Thank the maker for second chances!

Starring Kate Capshaw as Andie Bergstrom, a camp instructor and astronaut whom Lea Thompson idolizes as she was one of the first females in NASA, and up-and-comers like Kelly Preston, Larry B. Scott, (the aforementioned) Lea Thompson, Tate Donovan, and Joaquin Phoenix, the film was a quick guide to who would be the next “IT” person in Hollywood and, as has been recounted by many involved in the shoot, served as inspiration for a number of youths at the time.  It also features Tom Skerritt (Alien) and Terry O Quinn (The Stepfather, LOST) as those on the ground at Mission Control scrambling to find a way to get the team back down to earth safely. 

The film remains a fun and fantastical tale of imagination and ingenuity as teens, often stereotyped by their looks and their ethnicity, get the opportunity to live out their dreams and prove that, yes, they do have the right stuff.  Growing up SpaceCamp was pretty exciting stuff.  Its fans may not have been above the age of 13 but, damn it, we never forgot this space age tale of flight and fantasy.  As an adult, it remains a guilty pleasure.  Name me one boy who didn’t have a crush on Lea Thompson?  Or Kelly Preston?  YOU CAN’T DO IT!

When Richard Donner’s Superman was released, we were told that we’d believe that a man could fly.  Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind made us believe in aliens.  With the release of SpaceCamp, we saw that even teenagers – albeit thanks to a glitch-ridden robot – can become astronauts.  And, you know what, I still believe that can happen.  It has to.

Lift off!  SpaceCamp is now available on Blu-ray thanks to Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

Spacecamp (1986) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: PG.
Runtime:
107 mins
Director
: Harry Winer
Writer:
Clifford Green, Casey T. Mitchell
Cast:
Kate Capshaw, Lea Thompson, Kelly Preston
Genre
: Adventure | Sci-fi
Tagline:
They came to SpaceCamp with the dream of becoming astronauts. Suddenly...Without warning...Before they were ready...They were launched into space..
Memorable Movie Quote: "Whip me, beat me, take away my charge cards... NASA is talking!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 6, 1986
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 26, 2017
Synopsis: he Stars Belong to a New Generation! Zero gravity meets zero fear in this cosmic comedy-adventure about a summer camp where regular kids check in... and real astronauts check out! Kathryn (Lea Thompson, Back to the Future trilogy), Tish (Kelly Preston, Mischief), Max (Joaquin 'Leaf' Phoenix, Walk the Line), Rudy (Larry B. Scott, Revenge of the Nerds quadrilogy) and Kevin (Tate Donovan, Memphis Belle) are a group of bright but incorrigible high school students spending their summer at the NASA SpaceCamp. But when a frightening miscommunication occurs during a space shuttle training mission, the teens and their astronaut instructor (Kate Capshaw, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) are accidentally launched into orbit. Can this young team of unlikely heroes work together to survive the outer-space adventure of a lifetime?

Spacecamp (1986) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- September 26, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

SpaceCamp, barring a few effect shots, looks solid in HD.  Kino Lorber Studio Classics give fans of this adventure something to be happy about.  The 1080p transfer, presented with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, has bright and bold colors to match the energetic cast.  The fashion is loud and so too are the details running throughout the location shoot at the actual U.S. SpaceCamp in Huntsville, Alabama.  Flesh tones are solid and Preston looks as tan as tan can be.  The black levels are strong and lines are well defined.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 provides enough sonic boom to be memorable for your home theater sound system.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Kino Lorber gives a good interview with Thomspon and Winer and then a look at a collection of trailers.

  • Interview with Star Lea Thompson
  • Interview with Director Harry Winer
  • Trailers

Spacecamp (1986) - Blu-ray Review

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