In the Shadow of the Moon
September 7, 2007
On the Big Board
||Nothing new really, but good to see it on the big screen anyway.
No one can argue about special place Americans have in the hearts for the Apollo space program. It captured both the pride and elitism of American patriotism at a time when the country desperately needed it. Mired in the middle of the Cold War, Americans felt the burden of the civil rights movement, the despair of assassinations of popular social and political leaders, the fear of nuclear war, and the foreshadowing of the coming war in Southeast Asia. America needed a uniting triumph, and our journeys to the moon provided just that. One can still get chills when reading or hearing Kennedy’s address at Rice University in 1962 – “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard”.
In the Shadow of the Moon appropriately opens with a quote of near equal emotional resonance - “Today there are seven billion humans on planet Earth, nine of whom have walked on another world. In their own words, this is the story of the men who journeyed to, and walked on, the moon.” It is a documentary that doesn’t focus on the technical achievement of traveling to another celestial body, or changes it to a Ron Howard Hollywood narrative, but instead focuses solely on the emotions and recollections of the living Apollo astronauts (minus Neil Armstrong), much like Al Reinert’s 1989 doc, For All Mankind. While the film is mostly made up of talking head interview segments, and archival news footage, the most anticipated aspect of the film is the digitally remastered footage of the Apollo missions – including some clips that have never been seen before.
Picked up during the buying frenzy of 2007’s Sundance by ThinkFilm for a seven figure advance, In the Shadow of the Moon has made a smallish film festival run before a fall theatrical release and potential Oscar run. Considering how great the BBC series The Planet Earth looks on Blu-ray/HD or how cool Disney’s recent Blu-ray release of Roving Mars is, one hopes that Think uses this doc to dive into the next generation market when it releases on home video early next year. (Nouvelle Vague/BOP)