“White Water Summer” is a mostly forgotten late 1980s adventure film that brings audiences to a camping site and lets them loose into the beautiful nature of uninhabited America. The film stars Sean Astin as Alan, who is a mature young boy who hesitantly goes to summer camp with a group of three other boys. In charge is Vic, played by Kevin Bacon, who appears to be a professional, but cool camp guide with a love for nature and children. The story also provides various cuts within the film that flash to a more grown-up Alan talking about the aftermath of the camping trip. The film begins with a light humorous tone, and the audience is excited to go along on this camping trip with the boys.
As the story unfolds, the kids go through many adventures with Vic, who teaches them lessons of hard work, dignity, and morality, in addition to camping techniques. The kids learn white water rafting, how to make a fire, and fishing. However, when the kids are forced to travel through a rickety bridge to progress with their hike, things start to get a little scary. The character of Vic becomes a little frightening in his attempt to teach the kids lessons. Vic later takes them mountain climbing, and after leaving the fearful and rebellious Alan to dangle above a rather steep pass, the kids start to see Vic as someone who does not have their best intentions in mind.
The children rebel against Vic and accidentally throw him off a cliff, which fractures his leg, making him unable to walk or even stand. However, though Vic had put Alan through so much trouble and fear, it is he who helps Vic the most. When the three other camp members look for help, Alan helps attach Vic to a boat, and the two sail to eventual safety.
Kevin Bacon shines as Vic in this movie, and I assume that would be the reason someone would watch this after so many years. But Sean Astin, who is known for later roles in Lord of the Rings, is also someone worth watching. His fearfulness and inability to associate with the crowd bring out his acting abilities, and the fact that he saves Vic at the end of the film speaks to his overall character. Overall, “White Water Summer” is a completely watchable and entertaining film for the whole family. It has elements of humor, mixed with some thrilling points and dramatic scenes. Audiences would be enthralled by nature and the adventure that goes with camping, and there is also a companionship we feel with the entire crew that cannot be explained.
The movie feels like an experience in itself as opposed to just another film. What I found most interesting was how Alan, the shyest member of the bunch, eventually becomes the most active and intelligent after inciting a rebellion against the leader Vic, as well as helping him to safety. It gives all audience members hope. And it brings us to a final thought: It does not matter who you are, where you’ve been, where you are, or where you’re going. What matters most is the journey of getting there.[fblike]