IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON: DVD
Between 1968 and 1972, nine American spacecraft were hurled at the moon and 12 men walked on it. The surviving crew members from every Apollo mission which flew to the moon come together to tell their stories of danger, pride and passion, illustrated with clips of remastered archival footage from NASA, much of it never seen by the public.
Review by Louise Keller:
'One day you're an aviator; next day you're an American hero.' It's as close to space travel and landing on the moon as most of us will ever get, this enthralling documentary that recounts and relives the historic moon landings in the late 60s and early 70s. There is no narration; simply the thoughts of the astronauts from each of the Apollo missions, who emotionally recall the events that showed them to have 'the right stuff'. At the heart of the film is the beautifully remastered footage of the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing (some previously unseen), interspersed with testimonials from not only two of the men who were there, who describe their innermost thoughts and feelings, but with added footage from mission control as the events took place. Tension, drama and elation are the emotions we feel, as we share this monumental event, putting context behind those words 'One small step for man; one giant step for mankind'.
The reclusive Neil Armstrong is the only prominent astronaut missing from David Sington's wonderful feature film directing debut, and although his input would have added to the overall, his Lunar Module Pilot and Command Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins deliver great insights. Also, I especially enjoyed the input from Apollo 16 Lunar Module Pilot Charlie Duke, who was the all-important communicator with the Apollo 11 astronauts, seen in archival as well as present day footage. The film also gives a sense of the times as it takes a look at the culture of the 60s: President John Kennedy's famous speech about putting man on the moon, the civil rights movement, the women's movement and the Vietnam War.
It is impossible not to have a sense of awe and wonderment, watching this absorbing film. We hear about the feeling at lift-off: the buzz, the apprehension. There's even the sombre, sobering speech from then US President Richard Nixon, written 'just in case' the lunar module failed to lift off from the moon. As for the moment of re-entry into the atmosphere, we are told it is like being literally on fire, as if inside a gigantic lightbulb, as the spaceship hurtles at the unimaginable speed of 26,000 miles per hour. And from the moon itself, we can only imagine the sight of the seemingly powerful, yet fragile planet jewel of Earth below was a mass of crystal blue oceans, brown land, pure white clouds and snow, hanging in the blackness of space.
DVD special features include an interview with director David Sington, trailer plus two featurettes: Behind the Shadow and Scoring Apollo.
Published August 20, 2008
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IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON: DVD (G)
CAST: Documentary featuring the Apollo astronauts
PRODUCER: Duncan Copp
DIRECTOR: David Sington
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Clive North
EDITOR: David Fairhead
MUSIC: Philip Sheppard
OTHER: Ron Howard - Presenter
RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 6, 2008
SPECIAL FEATURES: Behind the Shadow, Scoring Apollo, interview with director David Sington, trailer
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
DVD RELEASE: August 20, 2008