Saturday, October 13, 2007

In the Shadow of the Moon

Today I saw the documentary In the Shadow of the Moon.

I'll admit—I've never been a space fanatic. I had no aspirations as a child to be an astronaut, and up until now the only reason seeing footage of a shuttle launch would give me goosebumps is because it serves as a reminder of good old fashioned MTV (who used the clip to introduce videos in its early years).

But on my Cinebanter partner's recommendation, I decided that I would give this documentary a try and I'm so glad I did.

This may be the most endearing talking-head documentary I've ever seen.

Basically, it traces the steps of America's arrival on the moon from the point of Kennedy's challenge to the present day using the actual men who've walked upon it as narrators (save for Neil Armstrong, who is only seen in archival footage).

The split-screen clips of them at the time and them now only adds to the brilliant nostalgia that permeates this incredibly patriotic glance at what America used to be capable of. A president says we need to do something: a team of brave men get together and do it—within a decade.

We catch a glimpse of how the international community viewed Americans in the 60s (they trusted us), we learn that some of the astronauts felt guilt for not fighting in Vietnam (as if their mission was any less dangerous), we begin to understand the overwhelming peace that these men gained from realizing just how beautiful the earth we live upon is—only after traveling so far from it.

It's a simple film about an almost supernatural accomplishment, led by men of dignity and honor.

I hope it will be shown to future generations in the years to come.

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