'Apollo 18': New Top Secret Clips!
A fictional documentary about a doomed moon mission is bound to arouse conspiracy theorists
Films that consist solely of so-called “found footage” date back as far as the 1980s (“Cannibal Holocaust”). The genre came into its own, however, with the unexpected runaway hit, “The Blair Witch Project” (1999), which spawned many less-successful imitators. It was further strengthened by films such as “Paranormal Activity” (2007 with sequels in 2010 and 2011) and “Cloverfield” (2008). Most of the movies in this genre are true horror films featuring unknown people and situations. I guess it was only a matter of time before actual historical events would be given the “found-footage” treatment.
“Apollo 18,” a new sci-film directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego, purports to be a documentary pieced together from recently discovered NASA footage of the Apollo 18 mission. The footage had been hidden from public view ever since the astronauts failed to return from the 1974 mission. The trick here is that there actually was an Apollo 18 mission planned by NASA but it was cancelled for a variety of reasons including budget cuts and waning public interest. Apollo 17, in 1972, was this country's final manned mission to the moon.
Or was it?
The conceit with these found-footage documentaries is that the filmmakers inevitably try to cast doubt on whether the footage just might be real. With some of the films, it’s quite obvious to any sentient being that we’re being asked to go along for a fictional ride, but with others, there can remain some doubt in the minds of many viewers. I admit that when I first saw “The Blair Witch Project” I had barely heard anything about it and I wasn’t at all sure in the beginning if I was watching actual footage of real people.
Which is why I can’t help but question the decision to bring historical events into the mix. When I recently wrote about the upcoming film, “In the Event of a Moon Disaster,” which does not pretend to be anything but a fictional re-imagining of the Apollo 11 mission, several commenters revived the crazy 42-year-old “debate” about whether we landed on the moon at all. These nuts believe that the images of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the lunar surface was part of a carefully orchestrated government stunt shot on a soundstage in Burbank. That anyone ever believed such a thing still amazes me, especially because of the massive collusion that would have had to occur among thousands of NASA employees and many others in order to pull it off.
Don’t get me wrong—I like the premise of “Apollo 18” and its scary take on the alleged “real reason we’ve never gone back to the moon” but I worry that if the conspiracists are whipped into a frenzy over the fictional “In the Event of a Moon Disaster,” they’re going to go into convulsions over the expertly simulated fake footage of “Apollo 18.”
The film is being released by Dimension Films on September 2. True to the genre, Dimension’s head honcho, Bob Weinstein, denied in an interview that the film was fictional. “We didn’t shoot anything, we found it. Found, baby!” Oy.
Is it the filmmakers’ fault if some of the viewing public is too ignorant to get the joke? I’m sure it’s what they pray for. But where will this playing fast and loose with history end? A missing reel of the Zapruder footage in which it’s revealed that an unharmed JFK was ferreted away from Dealey Plaza in Dallas and replaced with a critically injured lookalike? Footage discovered in an abandoned Manhattan warehouse that proves that 9/11 was an inside job and that the World Trade Center buildings were imploded by a series of carefully placed bombs? Why not cater to all the whims of conspiracy theorists and “prove” them all true? Footage of the Second Coming of Christ? Elvis, Princess Diana, and Michael Jackson in hiding? Hitler living out his days in Argentina?
The synopsis of “Apollo 18” provided by Dimension Films states clearly that “in December of 1974, two American astronauts were sent on a secret mission to the moon funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. What you are about to see is the actual footage which the astronauts captured on that mission.” The studio is releasing a series of teasers in advance of the opening including these two short clips that came out today:
Do you think the American public is gullible enough to start confusing the work of creative filmmakers and screenwriters with actual historical fact?
There is no proof at all to show that we actually landed on the moon,,,ever.
There is more proof that there is a Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause, and God! Presents under the tree, money under the pillow, and the Bible---at least! But show me proof that man made it past the astaroid belt, back and forth, and back and forth with no comments about radiation, astronaught's health reports, nor any "narrative" at all in any of the Apollo transcripts that document such things. The USAF just took over the Apollo Mission stuff and therefore will from now on be "Classified." NASA should be sued by the US taxpayers for a full refund of those moneys that were actually used to support an unpopular war and the "Mooning" the USA gave us and the world just to flex our techno-muscles, which we did not have. You can Google Earth, and you can Google Mars and far, far beyond. . .but you CAN NOT Google the Moon! Hmmnnn... hmmnnn...."Please 'spain Lucy??"