In the Shadow of the Moon - Field notes

Published August 17, 2011

After my rather foolish admission that I hadn’t necessarily paid much attention to those that went to the moon after the main three, Steven Roy recommended I watch this documentary film on 4OD - In the Shadow of the Moon.

I watched, and I learned, and I made notes. I’ve posted the distilled version for Film Watch, but these are the full notes I made along the way - 90 minutes of brilliant space travel stuff, I highly recommend it.

Shadow of the Moon

  • Oh, Ron Howard, eh? He likes his space stuff.
  • The astronaut man thinks of two moons, the one in the sky and the one he visited, but can’t reconcile the two. “That’s science fiction.”
  • “Between 1968 and 1972, nine American spacecraft visited the moon.” I knew that. Honest.
  • The actual Jim Lovell!
  • He’s running on the sand. a) that’s hard and b) I want a go!
  • You have to be some kind of brave to want to go into space after watching all those other rockets blow up.
  • It’s the getting them back safely that is the tricky bit.
  • John F Kennedy said the nation had to go there, but did he expand on why? Is just getting there enough, or should there be more of a reason?
  • These astronauts have all started as pilots. Is that true today?
  • I do so love archive videos from the 50s and 60s, particularly the prim and proper voiceovers!
  • “The higher and faster you flew, the more dangerous and exciting it became.”
  • They actually asked Buzz Aldrin’s mother how she’d feel if he landed on the moon? Spooky!
  • Lots and lots of models being built out of wood. MDF spacecraft!
  • Their plans include metal alloys that have not yet been invented. This sounds all kinds of safe.
  • It’s sad that JFK didn’t get to see the moon landings.
  • 100% oxygen doesn’t seem like a good idea to me and I know nothing about science.
  • He didn’t want to speak out about dodgy wiring in case they fired him? Jeez louise, I’d rather speak out!
  • Ooh, a special news bulletin. We don’t get them so much these days with the 24 Hour News channels.
  • Yet more bravery to keep on going.
  • He feels guilty about not fighting in Vietnam, despite risking his life for the space programme.
  • The big crawler things haven’t changed much, even if what they’re carrying has.
  • Wowsers, goosebumps knowing they were the first launch of the deep space kind.
  • Jim Lovell, just 60 miles away. Breaks my heart.
  • They were in space on Christmas Eve! I love it. That’s one way of getting away from it all.
  • An atheist lady sued them for reading out the Bible in space? Like there aren’t more important battles to fight!
  • Mike Collins doesn’t sound at all bitter about being the one left in the command module. That’s good.
  • Neil Armstrong had to emergency exit a weird flying thing, and was majorly calm about it just a few hours later. No wonder they picked him to go up.
  • They all look absolutely terrified. Bit of an understatement saying they didn’t get much rest the night before Apollo 11’s launch. And I think I have sleep troubles!
  • Collins appears to be more worried about doing something wrong in front of 3 million people, rather than what might happen if he did do something wrong.
  • So much debris coming off the rocket as it goes up!
  • I like the guy saying he wasn’t nervous, what’s to be nervous about unless something goes wrong.
  • “It shakes and vibrates so much more than I ever imagined.”
  • All the people watching and taking pictures with their old cameras. I wonder what kind of pictures they got out. Did they have the development disappointment that I always used to with film cameras?
  • “Before you set sail for the moon.” Set sail!

Shadow of the Moon

  • I don’t really know what we’re looking at. Some kind of TLI ignition thing. The radio is great though. Sounds like the NASA people were just the same then as now.
  • Imagine seeing the Earth in its circular form. And so tiny.
  • Three days to get from the Earth to the moon. Would it still take that long now?
  • That guy has kept papers from his kids that they inserted into the flight plan as a surprise. Those papers have been to the moon and back and still survive to this day!
  • I would be a fearful astronaut too. “If that window blows out, I’m going to be dead in a second. There’s death about an inch away.”
  • Going into darkness after being in daylight that whole time sounds scary. The titular Shadow of the Moon.
  • “I did not sense any great invitation on the part of the moon, for us to come into its domain.”
  • They’d practised a lot but did not always make a successful landing, so they were really just going down and hoping for the best.
  • Ooh, footage of the guy talking on the radio, with the radio soundtrack. Way cool.
  • That lunar module looks so spindly.
  • Uh oh, some kind of computer alarm before they get to the surface of the moon. Computer overloaded.
  • They’re going so fast towards the moon!
  • “He wasn’t coming home and saying, I got low on fuel so I didn’t land it.”
  • Tranquility does seem to be quite a big word to say over the radio to the moon.
  • Mike Collins talking about him being the loneliest man in the world at that point, except he says he wasn’t, because Mission Control were “yakking in my ear half the time”. He quite enjoyed the feeling of solitude.
  • First live pictures from the moon. Wowsers.
  • The surface of the moon is fine grains, almost like a powder. Powdered cheese?
  • The flag thing is so weird. How does it stay up in such powdery ground? It stays wide out like a perfect flag. No gravity is fun!
  • Woah, that’s actual Apollo 13 footage.
  • I love their view. Don’t panic, because even if you spend ten minutes bouncing off the walls, you’re still going to be stuck up in space in the same predicament.
  • And I love the other astronauts all working together to sort out a solution.
  • Forgive me, but I must say, the casting for Apollo 13 the movie is excellent.
  • This is the bit I don’t really know about. All the other peoples that landed on the moon.
  • Just two people on the whole of the surface on the moon.
  • I wonder if it is fun to travel such giant non-gravity steps, or if it is quite tiring.
  • So, when that guy just said the moon was untouched… he wasn’t really telling the truth. They’re stealing things from the moon!
  • Re-entry: “Like being inside a giant lightbulb.”
  • Landing in the sea seems like an undignified way to end such great missions.
  • That’s the Queen!
  • I think Collins is my favourite.
  • “We have yet to return to the moon.”
  • Hiding the entire earth behind your thumb sounds like a good idea.
  • “Since that time, I have not complained about the weather one single time. I’m glad there’s weather.”
  • All three of them inaugural moon chaps were born in the same year? That’s odd!
  • “Somebody had to go and they happened to pick me.”
  • Great credits montage sharing their feelings about the moon landing conspiracies - “Why did we fake it nine times, if we faked it?”
  • “Nobody can ever take those footsteps I made on the surface of the moon away from me.”
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