Do you remember a certain awesomely awful 80s movie called Space Camp (factual errors in a movie? How can that be?)? It starred Lea Thompson, Tate Donovan, Kate Capshaw (Mrs. Spielberg), and a teeny tiny Joaquin Phoenix (who was Leaf Phoenix at the time). Not only was it hampered by an embarrassingly cheesy storyline, it also had the grave misfortune of opening six months after the Challenger explosion. Who was in the mood for a space (near) disaster movie?
Well, for whatever reason, my entire family saw it. Multiple times (they used to show it a lot on TV). Perhaps we were just big Lea Thompson fans. That was one of my absolute favorite movies during my childhood. Despite the fact that it was an abysmal failure, I've run into countless people who love the movie, in spite of (or because of) its faults (I've found the same thing with another awesome 80s failure, Return to Oz). I really wanted to go to Space Camp, despite my immense lack of scientific interest or ability (I just wanted to go on the thing that spun you around until you were almost sick).
So, when I reached the space exploration section in my reverse nonfiction order reading plan, I knew I had to check out Space Camp: The Great Adventure for NASA Hopefuls (well, I really wanted to read about Apollo 11, but all the books were checked out due to the recent anniversary).
Immediately upon beginning this look at a handful of Space Camp attendees, I thought several things. One, the actors were way too old in the movie.
Two, wow, the actors were way too old in the movie.
For the most part, the kids in this book are really young (preteen/tween). While they do do some of the things I thought were pretty cool about Space Camp (the tilt-a-whirl thingy), they also do a lot more learnin' and experimentin' than the young bravehearts in the movie. This is for serious super duper young scientists, no doubt.
You don't have to be a space camp wannabe to enjoy this candid look at young Space Campers. The kids are earnest and unashamedly excited at this terrific opportunity. It's a fun look at a very special experience.
And now, to rent Space Camp from Netflix.