Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes follows the story of the Space Shuttle Challenger and its crew, specifically Christa McAuliffe, the first civilian to be launched into space. McAuliffe was a... See full summary »
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This film profiles the astronauts, crew, and civilians who were involved in the January 28, 1986 flight of the space shuttle Challenger, that resulted in its explosion 73 seconds after takeoff. Center point of the film is the safety inspections and arguments surrounding the use of the o-rings that ultimately were blamed for the explosion. Film is lent authenticity by being filmed at the Johnson Space Center in Texas. Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
I revisited this for the first time in 14 years after watching more recent docudramas of the space program like "Apollo 13" and "From The Earth To The Moon" to see how well it held up. I have no problem with the acting, or the manner in which the Challenger's crew is depicted. What I do think hurts this film though is the decision to not depict the explosion and the aftermath and just end it with the launch. I realize this was done because in 1990, the events were still too fresh in public memory to want to see the images of disaster again, but this decision ultimately hurts the film's ability to be a long-term definitive telling of the story. What was needed instead was a flashback framing device of the Rogers Commission investigation, with Roger Beaujolay and Lawrence Molloy being subjected to the painful admissions of what went wrong, and how they were impacted by the tragedy. And thumbs down for the cheesy ending of the Challenger astronauts reciting the poem one line at a time instead of providing something more moving like President Reagan's remarks to the nation that afternoon.
For all it's virtues, the story of the "Challenger" disaster ultimately deserves a better treatment than this version gave it because it was simply made too soon after the tragedy for there to be appropriate perspective.
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