To the MOON

Sakal Times
Friday, 19 July 2019

As we celebrate 50 years of the moon landing, here are five epic movies that will take you on a journey to outer space

On July 20, 1969, mankind achieved a never-imagined-before feat. It was the day when, for the very first time, humanity reached the moon. This historical event of stepping on an extraterrestrial body has been captured in many forms. From books to documentaries, to conspiracy theories, and to movies, the story of Apollo 11 mission has been portrayed in hundreds of imaginative ways. Here are a few movies that will keep you on the edge of your seats and take you on a riveting journey!  

First Man (2018) is an immersive, intimate and meditative movie that will leave you thinking about it long after it’s over. The movie is Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle’s attempt at a biopic of legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong. Set during the tumultuous decade leading up to Armstrong’s historic Apollo 11 moon mission, First Man stars Ryan Gosling as Armstrong, the smart, brave, determined, extremely stoic engineer-pilot-astronaut who becomes the first person to walk on the moon. Along the way, he and NASA must weather life-threatening situations including mission failures, dangerous test flights, and deaths of valued team members. Watch the fascinating story outlining NASA’s mission to land on the moon at the Indian television premiere of First Man on July 20 at 1 pm and 9 pm only on Sony PIX and AXN.

Apollo 11 (2019) is a tribute to human achievement and the beautiful loneliness of outer space. It is a documentary that uses historical footage to put viewers inside the NASA control room, and on the rocket itself, during the United States’ historic mission to the moon. It offers an incredible opportunity to understand everything that went into that awe-inspiring event, from prelaunch to splashdown recovery. It is amazing to know that the mission’s success wasn’t the noble effort of just three astronauts but thousands of NASA employees, contractors, volunteers, and a vast team. 

Hidden Figures (2016) is based on the inspiring true story of three brilliant coloured women who worked at NASA in the 1950s and 1960s as ‘human computers’. They made calculations and contributions that were crucial for launching the manned spaceflight program. Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), and Katherine Johnson (Taraji P Henson) were engineers and computers at NASA at a time when women, especially of colour, were widely discriminated against, particularly in segregationist Virginia, where NASA’s Langley Research Center is based. 

In The Shadow of the Moon (2007) tells the story of the most exciting and challenging years in spaceflight, with two superpowers engaged in a titanic struggle to land one of their own people on the moon. With the US racing to beat the Soviet Union into space, NASA began a series of test flights, culminating in Armstrong’s 1969 walk on the moon and briefly uniting the world in awe of the United States’ accomplishment. The movie explores the inspirations, ambitions, personalities, and experiences of the select few whose driving ambition was to fly to the moon. 

Operation Avalanche (2016) is a Cold War comedy about a pair of CIA agents who find themselves faking the Apollo moon landing mission. With some of Apollo 11’s most iconic images – Aldrin’s footprint and full-body portrait, the film gives an intriguing explanation as to how the first moon landing might have been hoaxed. Packed with peekaboo shots through curtains and door grilles, Operation Avalanche weaves the well-known conspiracy theories into a goofily entertaining satire of youthful ambition.

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