Next up for John Wiliams week in #Johnuary is a film that many people might not have added to the list here, next to the likes of Jaws, Star Wars and Raiders. That film is SpaceCamp. I love this film though. A classic 80s story about how five children somehow get launched into space on the Space Shuttle because of a naughty robot and then manage to do space walks and operate the shuttle safely with no radio support from Houston. Totally ridiculous. Classic 80s. Kids in space. This was like my perfect movie for me when I was a child. Fun to rewatch now. Also good performances from Kate Capshaw, Lea Thompson, Tate Donovan and Leaf Phoenix (later to become Joaquin).
It was a marketing nightmare though as it came out in the same year as the Challenger disaster. Filming had already been completed, but they had to postpone the release date by a few months. A pretty awkward situation all round. It’s certainly not, in retrospect, the kind of film that you would expect John Williams to be attached to.
For some reason I actually felt some similarities to Star Trek soundtracks in this score. Perhaps it’s the slow horns in places, I’m really not sure. Surprising as Williams of course scored Star Wars not Star Trek.
There’s not an awful lot in this soundtrack. There’s certainly no separate character themes or anything like that as far as I could tell. It’s all about the vastness and epicness of space and the awesomeness of the USA space program (until they put kids in space). The main theme is still pretty great. There’s just not a huge amount other than that.
Here is the suite which contains all the best bits of the soundtrack.
The ‘Training montage’ is a very cheesy 80s track. Hasn’t aged too well but still works quite well in the film.
The soundtrack LP was actually taken off the shelves after the Challenger accident that happened in the same year.