September 4, 2011

Apollo 18 (2011)



"Decades-old found footage from NASA's abandoned Apollo 18 mission, where two American astronauts were sent on a secret expedition, reveals the reason the U.S. has never returned to the moon."

The prospect of yet another fake found footage movie may have many people yawning, but "Apollo 18" isn't too bad if you ignore all the derivative elements.

The big selling point is whether or not you believe in conspiracy theories and, more importantly, if you believe that there ever was an Apollo 18 mission. Personally, I don't believe that man has ever landed on the moon, but it doesn't stop me from enjoying these little far-fetched fantasies or the ongoing debates about them.

Starring Lloyd Owen from "Monarch of the Glen", Ryan Robbins from "Battlestar Galactica" and Warren Christie from "Happy Town", "Apollo 18" hasn't used complete unknowns, but I doubt that many people will recognise any of these TV actors especially as they aren't even credited. Whether or not this works in the film's favour is open to debate since it's unlikely that there is anyone gullible enough to believe that they are watching real astronauts rather than actors.

The astronauty stuff is quite interesting in places, and the attention to detail often makes it look like real NASA footage. The story itself though is little more than a low-rent version of "Alien" (1979), and there's hardly anything here which hasn't been done before.


"Apollo 18" isn't really like "The Blair Witch Project" (1999) apart from some of the camerawork, but that comparison will still be foremost in the minds of the majority of moviegoers. It's a little bit unfair as "Apollo 18" had an obviously larger budget even though it's still very low-budget in comparison to most other mainstream movies.

One thing which works well is the claustrophobic look and feel of the the movie. Unfortunately, "Apollo 18" really lacks the suspense which would make it a lot better. The usual tired gags of oxygen running out, communications breaking down, and the panicky ending almost sink this film to the rather forgettable category.

The blatantly obvious political message of the downbeat ending simply adds to the rest of the clich├ęs and will probably make even more people hate the film than praise it.

"Apollo 18" is still highly watchable, but it's just not very original in spite of its premise. I'm rating it as average.

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