In the Shadow of the Moon

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4 Stars
In the Shadow of the Moon is a documentary, currently in limited release, about the Apollo space program. The narration is provided by eight of the surviving Apollo astronauts, the men who actually went to the Moon. The film is not flashy or pretentious; it lets the astronauts and the spectacular archival footage speak for themselves.

If you’re interested in this stuff then you want to see this movie, preferably in a theater. (If you’re not interested in this stuff then you’ve probably stopped reading already.)

Many of the images are familiar of course, but there is some spectacular footage that I had never seen before. Particularly impressive is a sequence in which a lunar lander training simulator spins out of control, hits the ground and explodes in a fireball, just as Neil Armstrong’s parachute opens in the sky above. (If he had been a fraction of a second slower, someone else would have had to be the first to walk on the Moon.)

This is an inspiring story about men who took great risks and pushed their technology to the limit to achieve a dream that was widely assumed to be impossible. It’s well worth seeing.

(The movie poster implies that it comes from Ron Howard, the director of the fictionalized blockbuster Apollo 13. However I don’t see his name on the actual credits, so I suspect this is just marketing hype.)