In 1974 the Department of Defense, in conjunction with NASA and probably in conjunction with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and no doubt with the blessing of a fourteen year old Barack Obama, launched Apollo 18. You’re saying ‘you’re lying man, the moon missions stopped with Apollo 17!’ Yeah… you keep thinking that dawg, because that’s exactly what Rupert Murdock, MSNBC and President Obama wants you to believe. You might’ve thought that the moon missions ended because… well… there’s nothing on the moon so going there is a complete waste of time and resources, but you’d be wrong again. Damn near forty years after the fact, we finally have THE TRUTH! And it’s a conspiracy. And Fox News and Alex Jones is behind all of it.
Commander Nathan Walker, Lt. Col John Grey and Captain Benjamin Anderson greet us with some grainy footage discussing their super top secret mission to the moon. So secret that even their families don’t know that they are going. I gotta say, in 1974 I would think the controlled footage of them talking in a conference room probably shouldn’t be so grainy and stuff, but I guess that what happens to footage when you try to suppress the TRUTH! Also, since launching a rocket ship looks a lot like a mini nuclear weapon, you would’ve thought that somebody in Florida might’ve noticed Apollo 18 taking off, but again, these are the things that the powers that be do to suppress what we need to know.
So Apollo 18 orbits the moon with Lt. Col Grey at the controls while Cmdr. Walker and Capt. Anderson land on the moon and set up shop. They will proceed to do an awful lot of nothing for like the next hour or so. I mean I’m pretty sure it’s critical moon mission type stuff, collecting rocks, setting up equipment, planting flags, talking about their families… but it just doesn’t make for gripping, conspiracy styled, hidden camera type entertainment is all I’m saying.
Eventually the weird stuff starts happening. Occasionally we’d see a vibrating rock through one of the plethora of hidden cameras or something, but when our astronauts
start investigating, they see footprints. Now I don’t how the moon thing works, but I would initially think the footprints were from one of the many previous pointless moon missions, but these guys know better than me. Then they find a Russian space pod not too far from their own location, followed by a dead Russian Cosmonaut hanging out in a crater. Now our astronauts know that something isn’t right.
They contact Houston and attempt to get some intel, but are advised that they are on a need to know basis. Next thing they know, something outside has wrecked their communications and knocked over their moon rover. And worst yet, it’s destroyed the flag. I don’t know what this thing is out there causing this ruckus, but clearly… it hates freedom.
While our astronauts are loyal patriots, they aren’t freaking idiots and they know it’s time to get the hell out of there. But dang if this thing hasn’t messed up the lander. Plus, Cmdr. Walker is starting trip out a little bit. Maybe because there’s a space moon pod in his rib cage or something like that, but I don’t know. And then a bad situation gets worse, and Houston is doing our crew no personal favors. And the truth is lost… until today. Or not.
In the vein of those ‘Paranormal Activity’ movies, we have ‘Apollo 18’ which amps the ante up by putting our beleaguered hidden camera participants in space and it’s a mixed bag of stuff, to be sure. One of the things that works against director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego’s film a little bit, at least in my opinion, is that actors Warren Christie and Lloyd Owen are fairly recognizable. I mean, we know this isn’t real footage, but I think it does help sell the belief of it, while sitting in the theater, if the actors playing the parts are complete unknowns. Another thing you have to get through while watching ‘Apollo 18’ is the first half of the movie is slightly on the tedious side. If you can find a way to take a personal interest in the mundane goings on of our astronauts, it would be greatly to your benefit in making it though the first half of this movie. There is some stuff going on that leads to the ultimate revelation, but it’s wasn’t enough as far as I was concerned. I also wouldn’t have been too upset at Lopez-Gallego and his editing team if they could’ve toned down the ‘realistically authentic’ camera effects just a little. It did get somewhat nausea inducing with all the pops, and noise, and dirty film, and cuts, and drop outs and what not. We’d also like to know how Alex Jones or whoever blew the lid off this thing got a hold of this footage which I would’ve imagined was lost in space somewhere. Maybe Apollo 19 retrieved it.
What the filmmakers behind ‘Apollo 18’ are trying desperately to do is keep you around until the payoff. And the truth of the matter is that it’s actually pretty good. I can’t say that I was ever ‘scared’ or anything like that while watching this movie, but as the second half rolled around, with the dead Cosmonaut and Cmdr. Walker going all nuts and whatnot, I was finally involved with the story and some genuine thrills starting kicking in.
I certainly enjoyed the concept of ‘Apollo 18’, and I’d even go as far to say that the idea is genius. It’s the execution of this fine concept that could’ve used some fine tuning.