Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apollo 18



(2011) ***1/2

Why has man never returned to the moon? Apparently we have. In Apollo 18 we learn that NASA and the Department of Defense sent a secret manned mission to the moon in 1974 in order to install a device to spy on Russian communications. The men were outfitted with Kodachrome hand-held cameras in order to document the mission. They never made it back to Earth. A space conspiracy website called “The Lunar Truth” somehow obtained 84 hours of footage from this mission and edited it down to 90 minutes before uploading it onto their website. Apollo 18 is a found footage movie detailing the fate of the astronauts.



I love stories that take place in isolated settings and the surface of the moon is about as isolated as you can get. Apollo 18 is yet another “found footage” tale and a fairly effective one at that. The isolation of the moon combined with the claustrophobic interior of the space capsule heightens the tension once otherworldly dangers are encountered. Apollo 18 takes a while to get going and in the interim we watch the 3 astronauts go through the machinations of their job while exchanging stilted conversation about their lives back on Earth. The scares are mostly of the things-that-go-bump-in-the-night variety but they work well here. The final 10 minutes are especially tense/gripping. The found “footage” looks terrific and matches the look of real moon landing footage that we have seen all of our lives. I know that some of you do not enjoy found footage movies (I love them) but for those who do this one is fun.

12 comments:

DCD said...

Cool! I wanted to see this but was discouraged by a few reviews I read. I'm happy to hear you liked it.

Catfreeek said...

I am on the fence with found footage. As much as I love the idea of seeing something that would otherwise have been unknown, I really despise the shaky camera and darting around. I do want to see this though, it sounds intriguing.

AC said...

outer space claustrophobia definitely gets to me. good find!

Octopunk said...

You know, I bitch a lot about shaky cam and Blair Witch but subsequent found footage movies that I've seen don't really have that problem to the headache-inducing degree that Blair Witch has.

I'm glad somebody saw this! I think the premise is awesome.

JPX said...

I'm always a bit reluctant to sound overly-enthusiastic about these films but I really enjoyed this one.

Jordan said...

This was supposed to be terrible, but I'm glad to find out otherwise.

JPX said...

I heard terrible things as well but it had echoes of Moon, which I really enjoyed. The astronauts are presented realistically as no non-nonsense, “Let’s do our job”-types and the “footage” is very convincing. The premise, while silly, is treated seriously. Others might watch it and declare that it sucks but I thought it was a lot of fun.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

I am not completely opposed to found footage flicks but I am growing very tired of them. I like the outer space premise and I'm curious as to the problems they encounter.

Jordan said...

Moon was excellent.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Agreed. This review reminded me of Moon's greatness. I can't think of a better sci-fi flick from the past decade.

I couldn't control myself and just read Apollo 18 spoilers. Now I'm feeling regret.

JPX said...

Yeah I never understood why you and Octo spoil movies that way. It's a shame that you did that because it's a pretty effective film if you don't know a lot going into it.

Octopunk said...

I only blow the movies I don't feel like seeing but am grudgingly curious about. It's great. I don't regret a thing. (Except recently I read some of the description of season 5 of Dexter, but that was kind of by accident.)

I'm definitely not ruining this movie, however.