What's On The Dark Side of the Moon?

On September 8, 2011

  • Apollo 18 attempts to go where no film has gone before. Courtesy of Dimension Films


            A supposedly top secret mission – which has been debated about since the '70s – finally gets leaked by the government, letting out the "truth."

            This is the premise of Apollo 18, a film that attempts to answer the controversial question of the existence of extraterrestrial life. The film consists of what is meant to be actual mission footage documented by astronauts Lieutenant Colonel John Grey (Ryan Robbins, Cold Blooded,), Commander Nate Walker (Lloyd Owen, The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones,) and Captain Ben Anderson (Warren Christie,Three Weeks, Three Kids).

            After Commander Walker and Captain Anderson land module Liberty, the audience is shown the typical astronaut cinematic activities: gathering lunar rocks, breathing heavily in the space suits, and taking pictures of the protagonists next to the American flag.

            However, all the while the audience is clued in to images moving behind the characters. This isn't just any documentary; it is also what happens when the plots of Alien and The Blair Witch Project are fused together.

            Director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego (El Rey De La Montaña,), in his first full-length English spoken film, fails to introduce anything new into an overplayed genre. What makes the premise interesting is that the film contains raw footage of an actual space mission, and what "actual" astronauts would have done in a situation of alien contact.

            What the film fails to portray are the reactions of Commander Walker and Captain Anderson as everything they know vanishes and they are left alone in the midst of space surrounded by deadly space bugs.

            One would think that intelligent men, in this case astronauts, would at least bring a challenge to the struggle. It would have been intriguing to view well-educated professionals attempting to find a legitimate solution to an alien attack, yet there was no such convincing material.

            What this film brought to the table is all of the secrecy surrounding it. Few trailers have been released, and there has been a question of what is real and not real within the film. Moviegoers are already bickering about both sides of the argument, and perhaps, to the delight of the studio, people will attend the show to gather their own opinion on the event that may have happened.

            Unfortunately, there is nothing memorable about this film. The beginning sequences showing the authentic-looking NASA footage are appealing to an extent, and home footage of the characters enjoying one last barbecue with their family before liftoff are touching. Once the infected alien plot is kicked in, however, the realism is thrown out the window.

            Hardly any substance is portrayed in the finished film. The only result is another attempt to make the audience jump as much as possible, which admittedly it accomplishes a handful of times.

            There are decent moments that will make Apollo 18 a mediocre scary movie, but the finished product definitely took a wrong turn, and a lot of promise and potential is left by the wayside.


Email: arts@ubspectrum.com

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