This movie documents the Apollo missions perhaps the most definitively of any movie under two hours. Al Reinert watched all the footage shot during the missions--over 6,000,000 feet of it, and picked out the best. Instead of being a newsy, fact-filled documentary, Reinart focuses on the human aspects of the space flights. The only voices heard in the film are the voices of the astronauts and mission control. Reinart uses the astronaunts' own words from interviews and mission footage. The score by Brian Eno underscores the strangeness, wonder, and beauty of the astronauts' experiences which they were privileged to have for a first time "for all mankind."Written by
Scott B. Fisher <email@example.com>
There is a shot of the moon appearing in the window of the capsule. Director Al Reinert says there was no shot available of the moon showing in the window of the command module, so a film crew went down to the Johnson Space Center, pasted a photo of the moon on a hatch cover at the museum, and filmed it to illustrate astronaut Ken Mattingly's description of what he saw in his flight. See more »
The opening of the documentary incorrectly states that: "During the four year between December 1968 and November 1972, there were nine manned flights to the moon." The last lunar mission, Apollo 17, took place in December 1972. See more »
T. Kenneth Mattingly II:
I had the only window at this point, and I looked out, and doggone if the moon wasn't visible in the daylight right straight out the top of the window. I know they're doin' their job right because the moon's right straight ahead and that's where we're pointed and they're gonna launch us right straight to this thing.
See more »
This film is indebted to the staff of the Johnson Space Center. See more »
Courtesy of Opal Records (Music For Films III)
Written and Performed by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno
Licensed by Upala Music/Hamstein (BMI) See more »
Our Promise to Jack
This was effective for this viewer. Usually what that means in cases like this is that it made me cry.
The hook is that it reviews its subject through the eyes of the astronauts. I was wary of this. I got involved in the program later, during the beginning of the shuttle era and even then the astronauts were pretty much there only to have been taken there. They were chosen some of them for how good they looked on newsprint.
The magic of the program and its heroes were a few visionaries and an army of competent engineers.
Yet it was effective because we see the story through the eyes of witnesses. There role here is simply as witness, and if you were alive during this time, you will be impressed at how it affects you.
There were all sorts of paths that could have been followed in this. The quest of man to explore; the mysteries of the unknown; the vast game being played by two enemies to demonstrate superiority of ideology; the hidden weapons programs.
They cover all these slightly except that last, and that's excusable because these witnesses saw none of that. But the story that dominates is the Kennedy one. Its hard to imagine today, but we loved our president and he deserved it. He was intelligent and articulate. His advisers came off not as louts or bullies, but men (and a few women) smart enough for difficult times. He was the Peace Corps president.
Kennedy promised to go to the moon and return without consulting anyone at NASA, and riding on the crest of a national enthusiasm for science and hardware. The nation really was engaged. And then he was killed, and with our rising self-doubt (Vietnam, race) we decided that as a people we owed it to him, or what he stood for. So when it happened, and the world watched, re affirmed the man and what he stood for. It was a good feeling, not pride as much as wonder about who we discovered ourselves to be.
This will evoke that same feeling again, the original tears, followed by tears of disappointment at the massive collapse of esteem which followed. A serious of botched opportunities to be worthy of the accomplishment.
Its an effective documentary in that regard, all the more so since everything was designed to be photographed, and was. If you really want to learn of this program, you need to go elsewhere, But this delivers on the promise.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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