Picofarad #26 movie review

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Apollo 18 (2011)

Directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego
Running time: 86 minutes

One of the key tests of a horror film must be that when you imagine the writer describing the premise of the horror to the producer at their first meeting, you should not picture the producer breaking out in laughter. On that count, Apollo 18 fails. Spectacularly.

Beyond a dreadful initial writing decision, there isn't a whole lot to complain about. Plot-wise, it goes through the standard horror-movie steps without much thinking about how or why they happen. As a "found footage" movie in the tradition of the Blair Witch Project, half the challenge is making the film look authentically non-professional, and here is where it shines. What the filmmakers really cared about was creating NASA spaceflight in 1972 in exquisite period detail, getting the lighting and film quality just so, to match the real home movies brought back from the moon voyages. There is a sense of real longing for the good old days when everyone watched every move of the space program, back when every mission was in some way a jump into the unknown.

And that is the biggest reason you shouldn't watch Apollo 18-- not because it will make you laugh, but because it will make you depressed. As the credits roll, you are left to reflect on the dismal future we have made where one looks backward to find the high point of the Space Age.

(Well, that, and that there is some Internet meme potential in adding "His body was never recovered" to random statements about people. Try it: "Alan Greenspan was chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006. His body was never recovered." "Edward Peter Hannaford, of Sittingbourne, Kent, holds the world record for longest piece of French knitting. His body was never recovered.")

If your interest in movies is entirely technical, then by all means watch this one and be awed. Otherwise, you can probably find a more enjoyable one by throwing a dart at your local movie listings.

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