Sunday, April 20, 2008

In the Shadow of the Moon

In the Shadow of the Moon (ITSOTM) is a documentary and I'm not the world's greatest documentary fan. This lack of enthusiasm could be something to do with the facts often getting in the way of a good story but this could not be said about this film, perhaps because the story and the facts are so good. ITSOTM documents the Apollo missions to the moon, and is narrated by 10 of the astronauts who were on those flights.

The astronauts themselves are hugely entertaining. For guys who are mostly in their mid-seventies they appear in remarkable shape and are articulate, interesting and funny. The footage of the launches, the moon landings and the views from space and in space is all spectacular and apparently much of it hasn't been publicly screened previously. Other people may be deeply familiar with the events and the material but having grown up in a house with no TV I certainly didn't watch the events at the time they occurred (despite being just old enough) and haven't spent time watching the documentary channel since, so it was all very fresh for me. And despite having seen it before, I find the earth viewed from space particularly beautiful and I hadn't appreciated until watching this film that lunar landing modules and their little gold feet were so pretty. Men walking on the moon is just fascinating, even if you've already seen it and watching Buzz Aldrin descending the ladder to the moon's surface is now just that bit more interesting because he revealed he was having a pee just before he stepped off the ladder. I really liked the footage of the crowds at Cape Canaveral watching the launch of Apollo 11 - they look so different from crowds now. It was July in Florida and all the men are wearing shirts and ties, which I find incredible.

At the time space exploration was cutting edge, exciting and just plain cool. Men landing on the moon was an incredible feat and the fact that it was broadcast live on TV meant that large numbers of humankind got to watch, and celebrate. Almost forty years later In the Shadow of the Moon lets you share or maybe relive the sense of excitement that the Apollo missions engendered.

Anne's rating 4/5, Ian's rating 3/5

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