A NASA astronaut (Thornton), forced to retire years earlier so he could save his family farm, has never given up his dream of space travel and looks to build his own rocket, despite the government's threats to stop him.
Texan Charles Farmer left the Air Force as a young man to save the family ranch when his dad died. Like most American ranchers, he owes his bank. Unlike most, he's an astrophysicist with a rocket in his barn - one he's built and wants to take into space. It's his dream. The FBI puts him under surveillance when he tries to buy rocket fuel; the FAA stalls him when he files a flight plan - it's post-9/11, after all. His wife is angry when she finds out their bank is initiating foreclosure. Charlie fears failure and decides, precipitously, to launch. Are twenty-first century American dreams just a sign of insanity? Are those who believe in dreamers only fools?Written by
The premise is similar to Salvage 1, which was a short-lived TV series (starring Andy Griffith) in 1979 in which a small company builds a small commercial rocket for outer-space salvage of space hardware. Just like in that series, both rockets use Hydrazine for fuel. See more »
During the flight, Farmer's capsule comes very close to what apparently is a communications satellite. Typically communications satellites are in geosynchronous orbit 22,236 miles above the surface of the earth. Since Farmer's orbit was planned for 100 statute miles perigee (and presumably an apogee around 175 statute miles, typical for Project Mercury), there is no way he would ever come within sight of a communications satellite. See more »
I received free passes to an advance screening of Astronaut Farmer and figured, "what the hell, free movie in advance. I'll take it." I proceeded to the theater, which was packed with children and adults of all ages. I settled into my seat and let the magic begin.
Astronaut Farmer is the story of Charles Farmer (Billy Bob Thorton), a man who used to work for the military, but was forced to retire to save his family farm. He dreams about going into the inky blackness of space, a place he has aspired to reach for a long time. So he sets out building a rocket in his backyard, which soon draws the attention of NASA, FAA, FBI, CIA, and the press.
When you go into Astronaut Farmer, be prepared to throw the laws of physics and logic out the window, as this one tries to be real, but suffers from a few flaws. First, the rocket is built in Billy's garage, which is made of timber. Timber would incinerate immediately on take off. Good idea? NO! The movie also pulls out the cliché handbook and takes an example from every chapter. The looming bad guys, the goofy sidekicks, the bank's foreclosures, the family tension, failing now and succeeding later, and poor jokes. The movie is entertaining enough, but there's something wrong with a movie that's 100 minutes and feels like 2+ hours.
Would I have purchased tickets to see this? No, but I probably would rent it on DVD. It is a good film for the family though, so on that level I'd say see it (the movie is rated PG). Or just wait until it comes to DVD and rent it for the family then. Fun movie, but only worthwhile in a family environment.
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