- Title In the Shadow of the Moon
- Director David Sington
- Year 2007
- Run time 1hr 46m
- Genre Documentary
- Tagline The original NASA film footage
America's quest to put a man on the moon, while both fascinating and inspiring, has been well-covered on film, perhaps most notably in 'From the Earth to the Moon' and 'Apollo 13'. Add to that a space program that by the early 2000s ranked near 'Abscam' in terms of public interest, and it's easy to see why the documentary In The Shadow Of The Moon might be a tough sell. Yet this simple, stylish look at the Apollo space program is a quietly powerful rumination on the nature of patriotism, heroism, and humanity.
It’s taken me a while to figure out which films should count for this Film Watch lark, but I’ve come to the conclusion that if it has an IMDB Box Office figure, no matter how big or small, then it counts. This was recommended to me, and I typed up extensive notes, but these are the distilled highlights.
0:27 - Oh, Ron Howard, eh? He likes his space stuff. 1:53 - He’s thinking of two different moons, the one in the sky and the one he visited, but can’t reconcile the two. 4:02 - He’s running on the sand. a) that’s hard and b) I want a go! 4:29 - The actual Jim Lovell! From Apollo 13! 8:40 - I do so love archive videos from the 50s and 60s, particularly the prim and proper voiceovers! 9:47 - “The higher and faster you flew, the more dangerous and exciting it became.” 16:22 - 100% oxygen doesn’t seem like a good idea to me and I know nothing about science. 18:30 - Ooh, a special news bulletin. We don’t get them so much these days with the 24 Hour News channels. 23:26 - Jim Lovell, just 60 miles away. Breaks my heart. 24:16 - They were in space on Christmas Eve! I love it. That’s one way of getting away from it all. 27:36 - Mike Collins doesn’t sound at all bitter about being the one left in the command module. That’s good. 38:16 - So much debris coming off the rocket as it goes up! 45:01 - I love hearing the radio. Sounds like the NASA people were just the same then as now. 50:36 - Going into darkness after being in daylight that whole time sounds scary. The titular Shadow of the Moon. 52:16 - “I did not sense any great invitation on the part of the moon, for us to come into its domain.” 54:13 - That lunar module looks so spindly. 58:51 - “He wasn’t coming home and saying, I got low on fuel so I didn’t land it.” 1:00:35 - Tranquility does seem to be quite a big word to say over the radio to the moon. 1:02:54 - 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. 1:09:58 - Woah, that’s actual Apollo 13 footage. 1:14:07 - This is the bit I don’t really know about. All the other peoples that landed on the moon. 1:24:59 - Landing in the sea seems like an undignified way to end such great missions. 1:28:40 - “We have yet to return to the moon.” 1:32:58 - “Since that time, I have not complained about the weather one single time. I’m glad there’s weather.” 1:33:52 - “Somebody had to go and they happened to pick me.”
I loved it! I think I was expecting it to teach me a bit more, perhaps be more educational rather than emotional, but it was brilliant throughout, and did give me a taste for the many different missions that went up to the moon. I loved hearing from the astronauts themselves, particularly right at the end when they talked about how their space travel had affected them, and what they think of the conspiracies. There’s a lot of quotes in the above notes, but that’s because it was all so very quotable!
Rating: 5 / 5