Tuesday, October 16, 2007
In the Shadow of the Moon (2007)
Good stuff, although a little paint-by-numbers as so many documentaries tend to be. Nothing really surprising, this just hits all the marks from Kennedy's announcement that the country would land on the moon to the Apollo 1 tragedy to the triumphant landing of Apollo 11 and the hiccup of Apollo 13. Most of the movie is hanging out with the former astronauts, a bunch of mild-mannered military types who think the literary idea of 'the right stuff' is kind of funny.
Actually now that I'm writing about it, the movie's gaps stick out more - nothing is said of why the Moon landings were curtailed after Apollo 17 in 1972 and I would have loved to know what each of the various astronauts did with their lives after their missions. The movie ends by having the men talk about how fragile the world seemed, how small its problems felt in context, which is one of the movie's more interesting segments.
I also liked hearing from Michael Collins, aka the Apollo 11 astronaut who didn't actually walk on the Moon, who thought to himself that as he orbited, on one side of him were three billion people on the Earth plus two on the Moon, and on his other side...what? Anything?
Lastly, I'm a little embarrassed for the movie that the filmmakers even had to address the various wingnut conspiracy theories about the Moon landings being faked. It's an aside over the end credits, but it's a shame they felt the need to debunk these ideas at all.