Compiled mostly of NASA film footage of the Apollo missions, 'The Space Movie' is actually much more than that. It is both uplifting and inspiring in documenting the achievement of the US aerospace industry when given a seemingly impossible goal.
The NASA footage combines not just the Apollo 11 flight, but other Apollo missions, Gemini missions, Mercury capsule testing, Skylab and the Apollo-Soyuz mission as well. It's frustrating that so much footage, although visually stunning, is disjointed, from different missions, and at one point even run backwards to follow the plot of the first moon landing. That being said, the launch sequence alone is incredible, both in the majesty of the Saturn V slowly leaving the pad to the many connectors, swing arms, latches and ice shards seemingly interconnected in a technological slow-motion dance. Just incredible.
Accompanying the visuals is an stunning soundtrack by Mike Oldfield. Although never released as a stand-alone CD, some of the tracks are well known. The choice by Tony Palmer, the director, to use Mr. Oldfield's works is a masterstroke, and perfectly fits the action.
Somewhat surprisingly, this film does suffer from some obviously cheesy special effects. Why the director ever felt the need to produce crude backdrops for still photos, with so much beautiful film footage available, is puzzling.
This film could have been astronomically (pun intended) better, because all the elements were there. A great story, fantastic photography and inspired soundtrack. It just doesn't fully take advantage of what it had to offer.
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