Space Films of Childhood

Below are the top five space-related films that influenced my love of space as a child.

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
I don’t remember how old I was when I saw this movie for the first time, but I was pretty young – young enough that it didn’t seem “weird” to me at the time, just a bit creepy. Getting to live in a spaceship, with help from my immersive imagination, especially one more realistic than other fictionalized film portrayals, definitely added to my love of space travel stories.

2. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
I do remember the first time I saw this movie. I was 4-years-old and saw it at the IMAX with my father. I remember seeing Darth Vader appear for the first time, nearly six stories tall. I proceeded to be educated in the Star Wars universe throughout the rest of my childhood, watching the original trilogy multiple times and the prequel trilogy in theaters with my family. Now the sequel trilogy graces my adulthood and I never cease to get super excited about the increasing expansiveness and depth of the world and its characters.

3. Apollo 11 footage (1969)
My dad was a child in the days of the Apollo missions and was awed by the real-life space travel of the 60’s. Therefore, my early childhood education included watching footage of these actual events. I remember seeing the astronauts inside their ships, dealing with zero gravity and all the intricate buttons and contraptions. I even turned my closet into a spaceship for while based on this and other inspirations. I remember seeing the first Moon landing, and though it was years after it really happened, it was still amazing to witness.

4. Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (2000)
I was already a Toy Story fan (what 90’s kid wasn’t?) but I also had the benefit of a brother who was 6 1/2 years younger than me. He helped keep me extra young even as a reached double digits, and we shared a lot of favorite shows and movies. One of these was the spin-off movie and subsequent TV series about Buzz Lightyear in which the non-toy character has adventures in space with aliens, robots, and other humanoid beings.

5. Treasure Planet (2002)
Something I love about as much as space: the ocean. I watched Muppet Treasure Island probably a dozen times as a child and the original book by Robert Lewis Stephenson is one of my favorites. So if you take a sea voyage in search for treasure and translate it to outer space? I’m in love. The animation in Treasure Planet was great for its time, the map and how it worked was soooo cooool, and those steampunk-style ships I am so on board with (pun intended). This movie definitely helped inspire my own book Planetarium and the symbolism therein.

Honorable mentions:
– Superman (1978)
– Muppets from Space (1999)
– Scooby Doo and the Alien Invaders (2000)

There are definitely other space movies (not to mention TV series!) I saw as a teenager and adult that have enhanced my love of space and space travel. Some of these include: Serenity, Firefly, Interstellar, Cowboy Bebop, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Outlaw Star, The Fifth Element, and more. And there are plenty I still haven’t seen yet! But I wanted to give homage especially to these I saw as a child that set the scene and made it all so wonderful to begin with.


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