March 4, 2013

Movie Review: Apollo 18

Movie Review: Apollo 18

In space nobody can find your footage.

Apollo 18 Movie Poster
Apollo 18
Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Writer: Brian Miller
Starring Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen, Ryan Robbins
Studio: Bazelevs
Release Date September 2, 2011

For years, conspiracy theorists have long believed that NASA is up to no good. Between faked and secret missions to the moon, people have long suspected nefarious deeds in our space program. Enter Apollo 18, an alleged found footage movie that chronicles a previously unknown mission. Much like it’s genre predecessors, it’s supposed to fuel speculation but all it does is make the audience wish for a mission to end the movie.

Under the guise of secretly placing sensors to detect ICBMs from Russia, three astronauts are sent on an unpublicized trip to the moon. While on the moon, they encounter a Russian lunar unit with blood inside. Things start to fall apart when something is inside one of the astronaut’s suits. It ends up under his skin and when removed, it resembles one of the moon rocks. They then begin to theorize that their real mission is to place sensors to monitor these “rocks”.

If you are a fan of the genre or maybe a fan of some other popular movies, you may enjoy this movie. Almost every single plot device has been done previously and with a better result than in this movie. By borrowing from so many other movies, Apollo 18 can’t quite find it’s own footing. Too many scenes are reminiscent of other, better movies that it’s just not satisfying. The most glaring copy cat scene is when one of the astronauts uses a film camera to illuminate the crater where they find the cosmonaut. The use of the camera sounds, with the flash illuminating the crater’s horrifying sites is so similar to the opening of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that I expected Leatherface to appear. The worst part of this analogous scene was that it didn’t accomplish anything. The images were so quick and poorly lit that it does not produce the any fear or expectations.

Aside from the lack of originality, the movie falls short on suspense. It’s not for lack of trying though. The filmmakers attempt to create confusion by showing rocks that move and hover. There’s also a mysteriously abandoned Russian ship where it appears there as a struggle. These scenes are so slowly paced that just can’t produce any tension. Because of this, the big reveal of the source of all of the issues – aliens falls flat. The bigger issue might be that the aliens are rocks instead of, you know, something scary. Granted, the rocks can float and they appear to turn into something with tentacles that resemble the facehugger from Alien, but the aliens are rocks about 99% of the time. There’s just nothing scary about a rock that floats.  Not recommend.

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