Location: Los Angeles, California

Saturday, September 15, 2007

In the Shadow of the Moon

I admit I'm a sucker for anything about outer space. It's probably why "2001: A Space Odyssey" is my favorite film. There's something about exploring the vastness of space that grabs me - the universe's ability to make us feel simultaneously unique and insignificant in the large scheme of things, and its ability to remind us of all the unknown mysteries still out there to be discovered. And, despite mankind's current (and troubling) disinterest in space exploration, it still is the next logical hurdle for our species to conquer on our journey of ultimate self-fulfillment.

So, I went into David Sington's documentary, "In the Shadow of the Moon," knowing that I'd most likely enjoy it. I also went in thinking I knew pretty much everything there was to know about the Apollo missions.

I was wrong. I may have known most of the details, but I had failed to consider how life-changing these missions were for their occupants. These astronauts are the only people to have ever stepped on a celestial body, and that is a triumph unlike any other. It's a triumph that makes all the bickering, all the wars, all the silly political skirmishes that occur today seem trivial. For a brief moment, humankind had a collective goal to reach into the unknown and achieve something that will forever be a hallmark of our species' history. When and if other civilizations talk about mankind's accomplishments, landing on the moon will be at the top of the list.

"In the Shadow of the Moon" captures this joyous moment in a way that's wholly satisfying, emotional, and awe-inspiring. To listen to the surviving astronauts' stories is a genuine pleasure, especially since they all are still such intelligent and witty gentlemen. I especially appreciated their philosophical asides - their realization that their accomplishments were greater than themselves.

It took impeccable technology and an unwavering spirit to reach the moon, and after seeing this film, you will leave with an appreciation for both.

Rating: **** (out of ****)


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