Directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego. 2011
Since I wanted to be an astronaut until one day my 4th-grade teacher turned the television on so we could watch The Challenger take off. I remember we all sat there watching intently and started to applaud as it took off. I remember the huge blaze of fire and the puff of smoke, my fellow classmates and I were still clapping, while Mrs. Reineir looked horrified. She literally turned the TV off and ran into the hallway. When she returned moments later she said the Challenger had actually blown up. Wow! Well so much for being an astronaut. I say all this to say, I’m a nerd that loves NASA, who gleefully visited Huntsville, Alabama’s Space Camp and I am sad that there will not be any more shuttle launches.
So, imagine my joy when I read the media kit for this one. Although I have started to really sour on the “found” footage shtick, since it’s about the Apollo program, of course it will be a masterpiece. Nope, not so much. We are introduced to these characters through on-camera interviews with each astronaut explaining their involvement and the importance of the mission. We are also told they have all vowed to not reveal their future whereabouts to anyone. Now that was my first issue, if you live near Cape Canaveral how did the residents surrounding the area not notice an Apollo launch. They would. Just saying. Nonetheless our two astronauts’ are launched into space successfully. Now for a little nerdy background for ya, Apollo 17 was the very last mission of the Apollo program, think that beautiful picture (The Blue Marble) of Earth shot from the moon. I could go on, but I shan’t continue to bore you with my Jeopardy winning knowledge.
While our two astronauts’, Ben and Nate (Warren Christie and Lloyd Owen) land Apollo 18 onto the moon without any issue, the two go about their business of sample collection. Everything is going along nicely until they happen upon another module, but not a NASA module-a Russian one. That’s right folks not only did the Soviets have Sputnik their Cosmonauts (that’s what Russia called their astronaut’s, more Jeopardy knowledge. You’re welcome. ) walked on the moon as well. Damn Commies! Of course this never happened in reality, but the discovery makes for some fairly interesting plot devices. For instance, if Mother Russia (you have to say that like Natasha from Bullwinkle, btw) if Mother Russia did successfully launch Sputnik first, how did old Neil and Buzz beat them to the surface ahead of schedule? Something must have happened to keep Khrushchev’s mouth shut. Did I also mention I have a thing about history too? Sorry. Just be happy this film isn’t about World War II, because I can rattle off facts about that shit all day.
Nonetheless, Ben is afflicted with something off a moon rock or something, I couldn’t really tell. He becomes batshit, leaving Nate to try to figure out what’s going on exactly. Of course, something bad has happened suddenly to the module and it’s taking NASA a few days to figure out the issue, so our astronauts’ are stuck on the moon. Another gripe, in their attempt to make the footage found look authentic they over processed the actual film, you can’t really see what’s happening in certain parts.
Ok, since I’ve spit some history and let my nerd flag enough in this post, I’ll just say this. This film had potential to be really awesome, I think if they had amped up the action just a notch, you would yawn less. But, I would still say rent it, you will be entertained and left with some feasible good theories if you are one of those people who don’t think we ever really went to the moon at all.
Apollo 18 is currently available on DVD and Blu-ray.