“Space Warriors” family film premieres Friday, May 31, Hallmark Channel 8/7

Hallmark Channel

Friday, May 31, 2013

8/7

Jimmy Hawkins (Thomas Horn) is the son of a retired NASA astronaut, Captain Andy Hawkins (Dermot Mulroney) who once worked on the International Space Station.  Jimmy lives with his mom, Sally (Mira Sorvino), who is divorced from Andy.

Jimmy love astrophysics and has always dreamed of being an astronaut and against his parents’ wishes, secretly applies to attend a special summer camp session at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Alabama. The program is designed to train teens in teamwork as well as to discern their scientific abilities.

Jimmy is accepted into the camp program and his team, The Warriors, is made up of gifted teens from around the world. They compete against another team for a seat on the next space shuttle. The camp’s program is run by  a former astronaut  (Josh Lucas) who runs a tight ship, so to speak.  The teens are learning and sharing a lot about science and when a crisis arises at the International Space Station it is up to the kids to save the day.

The Hallmark Channel, Walmart, Proctor and Gamble, ARC Entertainment and Walden Media, has created a new franchise, “Walden Family Theater” aimed at the family audience. “Space Warriors” is the first film the collaboration has produced and it will premiere on The Hallmark Channel on Friday, May 31, 2013, 8/7. The DVD will be released on June 11.

According to Micheal Flaherty, co-founder of Walden Media, the film “encourages kids to be inquisitive and to advance their knowledge in technology.” He also said it has a “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” kind of premise where kids have fun working together to solve problems.

Here’s the deal with “Space Warriors” as a family film. It will only work if parents or significant adults watch the movie with the kids and talk about the themes and issues that come up: following your dreams, team work, sacrifice, problem solving, studying hard, being a person of character as well as the negative themes that appear to create drama, however mildly: lying, consequences, divorce, bullying. I think the age interest is between 7 – 10 with a year or two on each end of the scale. The sponsors, Proctor & Gamble and Walmart, said on the teleconference for journalists that “Space Warriors” and family films like it are a good commercial venture for advertisers as they want to support programming with “messages that support what moms want.”

Family-friendly director Sean McNamera knows how to work with kids and the main actors are A-listers who have made a film they can be proud to show their children (please note, for sophisticated teens this film may be a hard sell.)

There is one part in the film that was a little mystical and it surprised me and made me like it a bit more. Lacey (Ryan Simpkins) and Jimmy are talking about space and Jimmy looks to the sky and recites some lines from a poem, “High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. What a fine touch to add to what is basically a kids’ movie. (See below for the poem).

For parents and caregivers who want their children to see positive stories then tune into “Space Warriors” and support these efforts on the part of media producers and advertisers. They are trying to give you what you want, what you ask for. A little gratitude would be nice here.

I have heard that the next “Walden Family Film” in the fall is going to be terrific.

“High Flight”

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings

Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

Of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,

I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue

I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace

Where never lark, or even eagle flew

And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

By John Gillespie Magee Jr., who was killed in the Battle of Britain at age 19.

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