Promotional film poster
|Directed by||Stuart Gillard|
|Produced by||Roger Birnbaum|
|Written by||Oren Aviv
James Pickens, Jr.
|Music by||Michael Tavera|
|Cinematography||Steven B. Poster|
|Editing by||William D. Gordean|
|Studio||Walt Disney Pictures
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|Running time||95 minutes|
RocketMan is a 1997 science fiction comedy film directed by Stuart Gillard, and starring Harland Williams, Jessica Lundy and William Sadler. It was produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Caravan Pictures, and was released on October 10, 1997.
NASA is training for the first manned mission to Mars. Due to a supposed glitch in the computer navigation system, NASA looks for the original programmer of the software to see why the software seems to be broken. Fred Z. Randall (Harland Williams), the eccentric programmer who wrote the software, meets Paul Wick (Jeffrey DeMunn), the flight director of the Mars mission; William "Wild Bill" Overbeck (William Sadler), the commander of the Mars mission; and astronaut Gary Hackman (Peter Onorati), the computer specialist. After a display of hard headed stubbornness by Gary, he's hit in the head by a model of the Pilgrim 1 Mars lander, resulting in a skull fracture. NASA decides to replace him instead of delaying the mission. Fred is brought to NASA to see if he has what it takes to be an astronaut; he, along with Gordon Peacock, go through a series of exercises, which sees Fred do well, even going as far to break every record that Bill had. In the end, Fred gets the job.
While getting ready to go on the space shuttle, Fred chickens out and refuses to go on the mission. Bud Nesbitt (Beau Bridges), who Wick claims is the cause of the Apollo 13 accident, tells Fred about the three commemorative coins given to him by President Johnson. He gave one coin to Neil Armstrong, another to Jim Lovell, and finally shows Randall a gold coin reading, "Bravery". "It hasn't done me much good," Bud says. "Maybe it'll mean something to you one day."
Fred, along with Commander Overbeck, geologist Julie Ford (Jessica Lundy), and Ulysses, a chimpanzee being trained at the time, will look for fossils on the planet, Mars. To save on resources, crew members are put into "hypersleep" for eight months while the shuttle heads towards Mars. Ulysses purposely takes Fred's "hypersleep chamber" for his own and Fred has to sleep in Ulysses' chimp-shaped chamber. He sleeps for only 13 minutes and has to stay up for eight months. While looking at Mars weather data Fred notices severe sandstorms that could endanger the crew. He contacts Bud at Houston and tells him about the storms that are forecast to hit the landing site. If the crew get caught in the storms, they could be lost forever. Bud tells Wick about the situation but Wick ignores him. The crew makes it to Mars, after Overbeck barks at Fred for being awake the whole time, and using all the food, except food that the former despises (anchovy paste, creamed liver, and gefilte fish), for painting. They land the Pilgrim on the Martian surface. As Overbeck prepares to be the first to step on mars, Fred slips and lands first followed by Overbeck. Then Fred says "It wasn't me" and then a USA Today newspaper shows up with the headline saying "First Words On Mars (next line) 'It wasn't me!'".
A day after the crew lands, the sandstorms arrive ahead of schedule. After almost losing Overbeck and Ulysses in the sandstorm, the crew immediately flies off the Alien surface. Wick is replaced by Bud after they learned that Wick didn't trust his NASA crew. The ship almost makes it out of the sandstorm until rocks kicked up by the wind hits the lander. Pilgrim 1 having lost its power, begins to spin out of control. Fred has to rewire the entire system, reboot it and power everything back up in less than 2 minutes or they will crash. With less than 20 seconds, he has to complete the circuit. He frantically searches for something and finally shoves the commemorative coin into the slot, allowing the lander to regain power. The crew safely return to the space shuttle orbiting Mars. Fred then asks Julie to dance with him in zero gravity to When You Wish upon a Star.
As Fred gets ready for "hypersleep" one last time, Ulysses climbs into his "hypersleep chamber" once again, forcing Fred to stay up again for another eight months on the journey back home.
After the credits, the crew's flag pole on Mars is shown missing its flag. It is revealed that Randall's American flag boxers, which were earlier used as a replacement for the original flag, had been stolen by a Martian.
|Harland Williams||Fred Z. Randall|
|Jessica Lundy||Julie Ford|
|William Sadler||William 'Wild Bill' Overbeck|
|Jeffrey DeMunn||Paul Wick|
|James Pickens, Jr.||Ben Stevens|
|Beau Bridges||Bud Nesbitt|
- "Rocket Man". rogerebert.com. Retrieved 2011-12-20.