The similarities between this film and ‘Apollo 13’ are uncanny, except that Apollo 13 was based on fact and this film is fictitious. The film follows the story of a space shuttle launch that should be just another routine mission, to position a new communications satellite in space. The mission is jointly funded between NASA and KAYSAT, the company who are the owners of the satellite. The satellite does not deploy correctly and in trying to rectify the problem the space shuttle becomes damaged. The crew then have to try to repair the spaceship before they are all burnt up as the craft drifts back into the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The crew of the space shuttle Endeavour are: The commander – Clay Jarvis (played by Bill Campbell). The pilot – Scott Hines (played by Ned Vaughn). The expert – Karen Daniels (played by Tasha Smith). The journalist – Jonah Randall (played by Geoffrey Blake). From the start this film is struggling, as the cast in Apollo 13 were so good (lead by Tom Hanks), that in order for these actors to compete they really had to be something special and unfortunately they were not. The acting isn’t too bad and the story line is OK, but nothing very exciting seems to happen in the film. Any drama that is created tends to be very false. During a space walk, a space suit gets damaged and they only have three minutes of air, or die. Well, there would have been plenty of time to get back into the space ship and get another space suit, but no, there has to be a few moments of false tension. On the ground ‘every technician within a hundred miles’ was called in to work on the problem, but one lady on her own knows how to save the ship. Paget Brewster who plays Rena Bartlett is very over dramatic and certainly pulls some very strange facial expressions as the ‘tension’ gets to her. Also on the ground the anxious f
amilies were gathered together, but their characters were very shallow and no real dialog had been written for them. The repeated shots of families staring at each other with blank expressions did not enhance the film. The title of the film – Max Q, apparently is the name given to a sequence during the launch of a space shuttle. Also it was the name of a bar where a lot of ‘has-beens’ from the space programme seemed to hang out. Although this kept being shown in the film it really did not add anything to the story and just seemed a bit strange. The space shots are good and the space shuttle does look very realistic. I assume some ‘real’ shots from space have been mixed into the film and overall it was OK to watch once, but I do think I would bother to watch it again. It just needed something extra to give it a bit more appeal.