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Section Header
SpaceCamp
(1986)
1992 BMG/RCA

2010 Intrada

Composed and Conducted by:
John Williams

Co-Produced by:
Lionel Newman
Yashuhiro Wada

Orchestrated by:
Herbert Spencer

Labels and Dates:
SCC/BMG/RCA Victor (Japan)
(1992)

Intrada Records
(August 16th, 2010)

Also See:
Star Wars
Jurassic Park

Audio Clips:
1992 BMG/RCA Album:

2. Training Montage (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (235K)
Real Audio (146K)

7. White Sands (0:32):
WMA (209K)  MP3 (258K)
Real Audio (160K)

8. SpaceCamp (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

14. Home Again (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

Availability:
The 1992 SCC/BMG/RCA Victor album was a limited Japanese release of only 1,000 copies, printed as part of a 'CD Club.' Copies fetched prices in excess of $200 until a 2010 Intrada pressing of 3,000 copies was made available for $20 through soundtrack specialty outlets. The Intrada re-issue sold out within a single day and escalated in price to $40 on the secondary markets.

Awards:
  None.









SpaceCamp

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Used Price: $65.95

Sales Rank: 318400


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Buy it... if you adore John Williams' whimsy for patriotism and adventure like that which you'd hear in his countless rousing, stately concert pieces of the 1980's and 1990's.

Avoid it... if the sticker shock of the score's pair of rare albums is not worth redundant and surprisingly flat-sounding Williams music that would be more finely tuned in future works.



Williams
SpaceCamp: (John Williams) When anybody in the summer of 1986 thought about NASA and the American space shuttles, their memories would become fixed on the sight of the Challenger exploding tragically against a blue sky on a crisp morning earlier that year. And yet, in an incredibly bad stroke of luck, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was just finishing up its collaboration with ABC Motion Pictures to release SpaceCamp, a comedy thriller about a bunch of bratty kids who are accidentally launched into space aboard a real shuttle. The true-to-life summer camp teaches bright young kids everything about flying a shuttle and claims that the best of the lot could actually do it. The film spends over an hour trudging through endlessly boring and predictable character conversations between the kids. Kate Capshaw is the unfortunate leader of this group of twits, and she gets propelled into space along with the group when a robot conveniently launches them unexpectedly. Anybody who believes that NASA would actually allow a group of these kids into a shuttle during a booster rocket test might find some merit in this ridiculous movie. You almost wish that the shuttle had blown up all over again and saved the country from the potential of these kids spawning a future generation. At any rate, being a children's movie, everything turns out fine in the end. That is, except for audience reactions. The studio delayed the production a few months because of the Challenger explosion, but that didn't save the film from quietly slipping through theatres after grossing only $10 million despite a hefty marketing campaign. As laughable as it is, one might wonder why composer John Williams was so enthusiastic about his involvement with the project. This would be his lone film score in the years of 1985 and 1986, and while the assignment may seem like an odd choice when considering the low quality of the film, it makes sense if you look at the direction Williams was taking with this career. Part of his limited score production at the time was due to scheduling issues (including the endless delays of Hook). But since becoming involved with the Boston Pops at the start of the decade, and achieving almost God-like status on the conductor's podium, he began writing themes for concerts and special events that were all extensions of his Star Wars-born orchestral bombast. In the mid-1980's, Williams discovered this highly patriotic style of concert writing that would eventually lead to specialty themes such as "Liberty Fanfare," "Celebrate Discovery," "Jubilee 350," his Olympics work, and even the "Mission" theme for NBC News. His music for Steven Spielberg's popular Amazing Stories television episode, "The Mission," was also saturated with this sound.

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In his film scores, this uniquely American style of writing would debut in SpaceCamp and forever be best represented by that score. Between the concert track and album's finale, Williams' patriotic writing is at its very best. The grandeur and exuberance of these fully orchestral statements of broad, hopeful themes are what define Williams' career, and these two similarly-minded performances in SpaceCamp save the entire soundtrack from its otherwise average underscore. Despite Williams' best intentions, much of this score dwells in non-descript regions of the composer's writing that takes considerable pages from his disaster scores of the early 1970's, as well as some of the less interesting underscore from the original Star Wars film. The suspense presented in the latter half of the score ("White Sands" is very similar in style to Jurassic Park) fails to state itself with effectiveness, with flat performances and surprisingly poor sound quality hindering significant portions of the whole. Once spoiled by the brass fanfares of the title theme, the training cues do their best to mute their heroism with restrained, but still hopeful brass solos. The identity of the kids really isn't addressed, even in the woodwind and string interludes over flowing harp; Williams seems to have his sights set on the expanse of space and little else. The only exception is the outrageously dated "Training Montage" cue, in which Williams poorly infuses a modern light rock rhythm with a drum machine. Some of the mechanized elements in the film are handled with subtle motifs, including the robot and the shuttle itself. A cute rising and falling string figure introduced in "In Orbit" cleverly represents weightlessness. The remainder of his score is pleasing despite the fact that listeners have heard every element of the music rendered with better results in other works, on screen or in concert. There are several outstanding moments in SpaceCamp, but a flat recording and lack of stylish performance aspects are the ultimate downfall. A CD album was not released until 1992, when a limited, 1,000 copy run was produced in Japan to match original LP contents. This BMG/RCA "club" album escalated rapidly in value and sold in auction for over $200. In 2010, Intrada Records was able to license and reprint an identical presentation for a 3,000-copy run that sold out within a single day. Unfortunately, the label's efforts to improve the sound quality are only moderately successful and a few notable cues from the score remain missing from the jumbled selection of cues (by necessity). Overall, while the score would be a very strong find at normal used CD prices, or even at new CD bargain prices, its outdated sound and lack of distinct ideas reduce its attractiveness. It's an admirable effort from Williams, with two incredible cues, but you'll hear everything in SpaceCamp to a much finer degree in other places. ***   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For John Williams reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.74 (in 69 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.59 (in 336,762 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.





 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  


Regular Average: 3.12 Stars
Smart Average: 3.08 Stars*
***** 70 
**** 84 
*** 92 
** 73 
* 52 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Nice Score
  S.Venkatnarayanan -- 5/7/08 (4:06 a.m.)
   Re-release?
  UPhonic -- 6/6/07 (10:43 a.m.)
   A Gem
  Jojo -- 11/11/05 (1:10 p.m.)
   Spacecamp wasn't Williams' lone score from ...
  Erik Woods -- 11/10/05 (7:52 p.m.)
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 Track Listings (1992 SCC/BMG/RCA Album): Total Time: 48:41


• 1. Main Title (3:08)
• 2. Training Montage (1:59)
• 3. The Shuttle (5:04)
• 4. The Computer Room (1:54)
• 5. Friends Forever (2:20)
• 6. In Orbit (3:13)
• 7. White Sands (6:53)
• 8. SpaceCamp (4:07)
• 9. Viewing Daedalus (2:44)
• 10. Max Breaks Loose (2:21)
• 11. Andie is Stranded (4:05)
• 12. Max Finds Courage (2:19)
• 13. Re-Entry (3:54)
• 14. Home Again (3:31)




 Track Listings (2010 Intrada Album): Total Time: 48:32


• 1. Main Title (3:07)
• 2. Training Montage (2:00)
• 3. The Shuttle (5:02)
• 4. The Computer Room (1:54)
• 5. Friends Forever (2:20)
• 6. In Orbit (3:12)
• 7. White Sands (6:52)
• 8. SpaceCamp (4:06)
• 9. Viewing Daedalus (2:45)
• 10. Max Breaks Loose (2:21)
• 11. Andie is Stranded (4:08)
• 12. Max Finds Courage (3:53)
• 13. Re-Entry (3:55)
• 14. Home Again (3:30)




 Notes and Quotes:  


The inserts of both albums include the note below by John Williams. The 2010 Intrada album also includes a detailed analysis of the score and film.

    "In the creation of SpaceCamp, Director Harry Winer and Executive Producer Leonard Goldberg have given us a marvelous movie! The film succeeds aspure entertainment while simultaneously succeeding on several other levels.

    The story embraces the excitement of discovery and the exultation of being on the edge of a great new frontier -- a frontier which presents unparalleled opportunity for all of us.

    In the film our student astronauts are presented a daunting challenge as they make their first flight into space. They rise to this challenge brilliantly and experience that first great flush of success that is the result of their hard work and courage.

    The movie also brings us some of the wonderful atmosphere and ambience of NASA and of the great effort involved in the exploration of space. Our entire country -- the whole world, in fact -- feels a sense of inspiration from this great endeavor and, despite setbacks and growing pains, the space program continues to be one of our country's most lustrous success stories.

    In composing the music for the film, I've tried to express the exhiliration of this adventure in an orchestral idiom that would be direct and accessible... speaking directly to the "heart" of the matter. I feel honored to have been asked to compose this score, and I feel particularly proud of my association with SpaceCamp and its creators."





   
  All artwork and sound clips from SpaceCamp are Copyright © 1992, 2010, SCC/BMG/RCA Victor (Japan), Intrada Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 7/20/98 and last updated 9/17/10. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1998-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.