A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
People can change for the better. Animals are smart and have feelings. Some stereotypes about Germans.
Positive Role Models
Wilhelm is strict, rigid, and no fun as a parent. Suddenly he changes for the better. Billy is a curious, hardworking kid who has an affinity for animals. Donni is smart and compassionate.
Violence & Scariness
A chimp is subjected to G-force, shocks, dizziness, and other stress tests to prepare him for going to space in a rocket ship. At some points his life seems to be in peril. A saboteur tries to ruin a launch. A chimp climbs high near a warehouse roof and Billy climbs up after him to get him down. The chimp saves him from falling. A bullied boy punches a bully and gets a bloody nose.
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"Damn," "Nazi," and "butt."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Race to Space is a 2002 feature dramatizing the 1960s American race against the Soviets to launch a rocket into space. The focus is on the point of view of an 8-year-old boy whose dad is the chief German rocket scientist working on the mission. The movie is tailored to interest kids in space and science, as the young boy is so bright, curious, and compassionate that he's hired to help train a chimp to be the first live occupant of an American spacecraft. Family dynamics play a role in the drama as well (the boy's mom died a few years back and the neglectful dad is obsessed with work). Sabotage and greed also play roles as the head of a private company hopes the German rocket will fail, even if it means the death of the chimp. The lengths he goes to may frighten younger viewers. Language includes "damn." Kids call another student a "Nazi." Adults smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol. A chimp is subjected to G-force, shocks, dizziness, and other stress tests to prepare him for going to space in a rocket ship. At some points his life seems to be in peril. A chimp climbs high near a warehouse roof and Billy climbs up after him to get him down. The chimp saves him from falling. A bullied boy punches a bully and gets a bloody nose. Some stereotypes about Germans. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This movie has a lot to like, including its focus on the ingenuity, brilliance, and creativity of the team that started America's space program, but sometimes the plot turns hokey. It's possible, though, that the oversimplification of complicated matters may be exactly what makes it a good choice for kids interested in space exploration.
There are some minor issues with Race to Space. For example, the work-obsessed dad who dresses in suit and tie demonstrates his interest in his son by wearing a casual shirt and showing up in a cool convertible sports car, as if these superficial changes could repair their relationship. The plot takes many unbelievable turns for the sake of dramatic and comic progress -- chimps can be violent and powerful, and it's highly unlikely a small boy would ever be permitted to spend unsupervised time with a chimp, but many scenes show just that. Otherwise, the chimps are adorable and amazing, and young animal lovers and space enthusiasts will find much to enjoy.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.