Charles Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton) once wanted to be an astronaut. He pursued his dream by earning his degree in aerospace engineering, joining the Air Force as a pilot and a member of NASA's astronaut training program, and was set on his dream until the death of his father, which caused him to end his career.
But Farmer kept his dream alive. He spent all his time and money to build a rocket in his barn on his ranch in Story, Texas. He and his wife Audie (Virginia Madsen) and young daughters Sunshine and Stanley (Logan and Jasper Polish, the director's real daughters), and 15-year-old son Shepard (Max Thieriot), an inspired teenage engineer with dreams of serving on "mission control" in the future, had the the same aspirations. Even Audie's father Hal (Bruce Dern) lends his moral support.
As Farmer pursues his quest to successfully launch his home-made rocket into space by himself, the odds are against him. On the eve of the launch unexpected problems arise. He must secure 10,000 pounds of high grade fuel, which catches the attention of the media, FBI, CIA, FAA, and the U.S. military, specifically his former NASA friend Col. Bud Masterson (Bruce Willis). They all see Farmer as a risk to civilian safety and try to put a stop to the launching operation.
In the casting of the Farmer family, I was overwhelmed by the sincerity in everyone's performances. It was so sensitive and emotional that I felt connected to each and every turn in the plot. It's good to see a family film with a well-rounded cast.
This is a story about overcoming obstacles, taking calculated risks, and overcoming your fear, by perseverance. This film will give every member of the audience a lesson in determination, courage, and integrity. I give this movie two thumbs up.
Directed by: Michael Polish
Run time: 1 hr. 44 mins.
Release date: February 23, 2007
Distributor: Warner Bros.
MPAA Rating: PG