Friday, October 26, 2007

The Wonder of It All

All alone in the movie theater, I sat on the edge of my seat transfixed for much of the nearly 2-hour film. Documentaries rarely do that, but In the Shadow of the Moon easily brought me back into that sense of awe and wonder and optimism I had as a boy watching the Apollo astronauts go to the Moon, land there, explore a bit, and come back. I was 10 years old again, except this time it was in color and on the big screen, rather than the black-and-white TV we had in the den.

For a couple of reviews of this film that give a good flavor of my own experience, see the Hollywood Reporter:
"In the Shadow of the Moon" unites 10 of the 12 astronauts who flew on nine Apollo missions and descended to the moon between 1968 and 1972 along with remastered archival footage from NASA, much never seen before. The value of this film, not just to moviegoers today but to future generations, is simply enormous.

Documentaries these days tend toward doom and gloom, so "Moon" is a welcome relief. The movie is about an uncontrovertibly glorious moment in U.S. history. ThinkFilm should see a nice run in art houses and perhaps beyond. The Discovery Films and Film 4 production is sure-fire TV and a collector's item on DVD for any space and history buff. If anything, when the film ends, you feel a bit like Olivier Twist, the boy who cried out for "more."
and Ad Astra at
Not only do we get to see this Apollo footage as it has never been seen, and get to hear the astronauts express themselves as never before, but they have gone one step further by marrying the sound and film from Mission Control. We are all so familiar with the words spoken by Neil Armstrong as he stepped onto the dusty lunar surface, and the voice from Mission Control that answers him (Charlie Duke), so it may come as a surprise that all film footage inside Mission Control was silent. The producers found the audio loops and painstakingly matched the voices to film for the first time ever. This is a memorable feat that may go unnoticed by many viewers, but from a historical perspective, it is a welcome show of the diligence of the filmmakers of "In the Shadow of the Moon."
"It was a time when we made bold moves," observes JIm Lovell of Apollo 8 and 13, the only man to go to the Moon twice, neither time able to land. Indeed, as one of the astronauts described feeling the dance of the engines keeping the mighty Saturn V rocket pointed up during the launch it struck me just how bold the whole enterprise was. Especially compared to how risk-averse a society we have become today.

Look here to find out if In the Shadow of the Moon is showing on a Big Screen near you. Listen to astronauts reflect upon having gone to another world, re-live (or, for you young whippersnappers, see for the first time) the excitement of a great excitement, and get a good look at the American spirit at its best.

1 comment:

Pastor Zip said...

Thanks to correspondent E.W. for offering this alternate link for In The Shadow Of The Moon and other similar films.