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The producers of made-for-TV "Challenger" had a tough problem: how do you make an engaging movie about a story that has no happy ending or silver lining? They largely succeed by focusing on the training and bonding of Challenger's crew. The movie gives a pretty good idea of an astronaut's personality and what goes into the training of an astronaut. The flying scenes are very captivating, but a lot of the acting (particularly Karen Allen) is uneven. The dialog, particularly in the scenes involving the engineers' sub-plot, is guilty of being written with heavy-handed 20/20 hindsight of what's going to happen. Still, the scene of the launch decision meeting is well-done in showing the way engineers and technical managers have to make important decisions.
A made for TV movie with a budget to match. I have always respected it though for not covering the disaster itself and descending into a bad taste sensationalist film that are all too frequent these days. Unfortunately, i felt the character development wasn't that great, it also missed out on lots of interesting details, such as how Dr. Ronald McNair was a saxophonist, and before the mission he had worked with Jean Michel Jarre on a piece of music and that it was intended that he would record his saxophone solo on board the Challenger, making it the first piece of music played in space. Due for a remake/modern look at the tragedy.
Saw this when I was younger when I was a total space cadet. Offers an insight into the life of an astronaut as well as the sheer complecency at which the shuttles were launched (the astronauts had simple blue tracksuit like overalls with a helmet that looked like one worn on a motorcycle when they went into orbit). Allen is very hammy as McCaulife the teacher. Is warrenting a more serious look at the disaster in an upcoming film which was to be reviewed at the Cannes Festival. Wait for this telling of the disaster.