When I first saw the trailer for Apollo 18 I got kind of excited. I saw a lot of potential. The first thing I thought was “Paranormal Activity in space” and that idea interested me greatly. I know the found footage genre is really hit or miss (probably even more so than other genres) so I went in with much trepidation. And I must say, once I found out that the film wasn’t about ghosts, it lost me.
The story follows three astronauts traveling to the moon for a secret mission. A few quick interviews with the astronauts give us some insight as to who they are then they are thrown up in space for the craziness to begin. Two men go down to the moon while one stays up in space. Then everything goes horribly wrong.
It’s really hard to talk about the second half of the film without giving too much away, but I will say what they tried to do, sadly doesn’t really work. The move crawls along at a snail’s pace. The scares are very few and far between and when they come you mostly go “Oh, is that it?” I mean, mysteriously moving rocks really aren’t that scary, at least they weren’t to me.
Again, I went into this film thinking it was going to be a ghost story and as the mystery slowly begins to unfold, the ghost theory goes quickly out the window (or in this case, a space capsule). I know this isn’t going to be a deterrent for everyone, but what ends up happening in the film isn’t half as interesting as I had hoped it would be.
Even beyond my ghost hang up, I had a lot of problems with Apollo 18 from a logistical stand point. The following questions popped into my head while watching the film: (WARNING: SPOILERS IN THIS PARAGAPH) If the creature in the film ran off with one of the motion sensor cameras, how was it “found” for the editing of this film? Also, when running for your life from alien spider rock creatures, who thinks to hold onto the video camera? And lastly with the way the film ends, how was this footage ever found?
But the film isn’t all bad. From a production stand point, Apollo 18 is actually pretty fantastic. If nothing else this film nails the feel of what it would be like to be a ’70s astronaut on the moon. All of the external moon footage looks fantastic. The film also does a really good job of making you believe the footage was shot in the ’70s. It’s just a shame that what the film shows isn’t that interesting.
This film is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and 5.1 DTSHD-MA English Surround. The film looks awesome. It perfectly captures the look of American astronaughts on the moon in the 70’s. Sure the footage is rough, but that’s the point here and that aspect of the film works perfectly. I’m not sure how much the Blu-ray improves this film, but it doesn’t hurt it either.
Audio Commentary: with director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego and editor Patrick Lussier. This is one of those rare cases where the commentary is more interesting than the film. These guys are obviously proud of this film they’ve put together and they provide great inside into how they made all the moon stuff look so authentic. Deleted and Alternate Scenes: (20 min.) The most intersting thing about this is seeing some of the footage before it’s 70’s processing. Alternate Ending: (5 min.) Watch Ben Anderson die four different ways. All of which are slightly more interesting than the one used in the film. You also get a a DVD and Digital Copy of the film.
For me Apollo 18 had a lot of potential, and while the look of the film works wonderfully, the rest of the film fell flat. It’s really a shame too because had they done a ghost story on the moon and I think they really could have had something.
Anchor Bay Entertainment present Apollo 18. Directed by: Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego. Written by Brian Miller. Starring: Warren Christie, Ryan Robbins and Ali Liebert. Running time: 87 min. Rating: PG-13. Released on DVD: December 27, 2011. Available at Amazon.com.