Sunday, August 03, 2014

Apollo 18

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

I’ve been getting codes for free movies at Redbox.  Because of their limited selection, I’ve been renting movies that I might not otherwise rent.  (I’ve been hoping to rent Thor and Tron: Legacy, but they’re always out of Thor and I’ve only seen Tron: Legacy in Blu-Ray.)  Apollo 18 is one of those movies that I had seen advertised when it first came out.  I kind of knew that it was going to be one of those movies that I might only end up watching if I could get it for free.

In case you missed the coming attractions, no, this isn’t the fifth sequel to Apollo 13.  Officially, there were 17 Apollo missions.  Unofficially, there was an 18th mission to the moon that was never mentioned to the public.  The movie is comprised of ‘footage’ that was ‘leaked’ through a Web site,  (It’s like if Wikileaks had done their own version of The Blair Witch Project.)

Three astronauts are selected to go into space for a top-secret mission.  They’re to place equipment on the moon, most likely to spy on the Russians or something.  That’s the only reason they can think of for the secrecy.  They begin to question their mission when they find a Russian lunar module and a dead Russian.  Mission control is somewhat reserved with the details, which leads the astronauts to start asking questions among themselves.

Things go from bad to worse.  First, their recording devices are on the fritz.  Also, communication is patchy right before it goes out completely.  Also, their flag disappears and their lunar rover is flipped on its side.  It looks like it’s going to be one of those days.

As you may have guessed from this and other reviews, there is a similarity to The Blair Witch Project.  It’s presented as found footage edited together and presented to the public, in this case as a conspiracy.  It’s like, “Hey!   Guess what we didn’t know about.”

The three main actors are Warren Christie as Ben Anderson, Ryan Robins as John Grey and Lloyd Owen as Nate Walker.  Ryan Robbins was the only one I recognized, being that I watch Falling Skies and Sanctuary.  Warren Christie is from Alphas, which I don’t watch.  I don’t think Lloyd Owen was in anything that I would have watched, either.

I don’t want to say that the actors aren’t good, but they’re not huge names.  Nonrecognizability does add something to it.  Watching Robbins, I was constantly like, “Oh…  It’s that guy from Sanctuary again.”  With the other two, it was easier to believe that they were really two guys up on the moon.  (Grey stays in orbit while Walker and Anderson are on the moon, so I was alternating between belief and disbelief.)

This is one of those movies that’s more enjoyable the less you think about it.  I had several issues, mostly technical.  First, there’s no radio lag.  It’s conceivable that it was edited out, but it takes light about two seconds to get from the moon to Earth or from the Earth to the moon.  Thus, there should have been a four-second lag as the astronauts sent a message, then waited for a response.

Also, while on the moon, the astronauts don’t seem to be affected by the lower gravity.  The moon is one-sixth the mass of Earth.  This means that you weigh a sixth of what you would on the Earth, meaning you can jump higher and lift more mass than you would be able to on Earth.  I also remember from a Myth Busters episode that there was a reason actual astronauts walk funny on the moon.

It seemed like the astronauts were putting up their reflective masks a lot.  On Earth, we have an atmosphere to reflect, deflect, absorb or otherwise deal with harmful rays.  On the moon, no such protection exists, which is why the astronauts have a mirror over their faces.  It’s to keep out as much of that harmful radiation as possible.

There are a few other issues I had, but I don’t want to get into it.  I don’t want to completely ruin the experience for you, just in case you’re still set on watching the movie.  Personally, I kind of regret renting it, even though it was free.  I didn’t care much for the Blair Witch Project and I feel like I should have known that this would have been the same.  I’m pretty good about picking movies that I like.  This is one of the few cases where I let the coming attractions get the better of me.  If you’re not into found-footage movies, you might want to skip Apollo 18.

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