Narrated by award-winning actor Gary Sinise, WHEN WE LEFT EARTH is the incredible story of humankind's greatest adventure, as it happened, told by the people who were there. From the early ... See full summary »
When Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan stepped off the moon in December 1972 he left his footprints and his daughter's initials in the lunar dust. Only now is he ready to share his epic but deeply personal story of fulfillment, love, and loss.
This movie documents the Apollo missions perhaps the most definitively of any movie under two hours. Al Reinert watched all the footage shot during the missions--over 6,000,000 feet of it, and picked out the best. Instead of being a newsy, fact-filled documentary, Reinart focuses on the human aspects of the space flights. The only voices heard in the film are the voices of the astronauts and mission control. Reinart uses the astronaunts' own words from interviews and mission footage. The score by Brian Eno underscores the strangeness, wonder, and beauty of the astronauts' experiences which they were privileged to have for a first time "for all mankind."Written by
Scott B. Fisher <email@example.com>
The staging footage was captured because NASA wanted to document the flight process of an unmanned Saturn flight for feedback in case there was a failure for engineers to look at footage to see what went wrong. Cameras were mounted in strategic locations, kicking on at critical moments to document the staging process for less than half a minute. After completion, the light-tight canisters containing the exposed film were jettisoned, dropping to earth with homing beacons and parachutes inside protective heat shields. Air Force C-130 transport planes, towing gigantic nets, recovered the canisters in the southern Atlantic Ocean. See more »
(at around 36 mins) During the Apollo 13 coverage, Houston is heard telling the astronauts to "try SCE to auxiliary." This is actually from the launch of Apollo 12 after it was struck by lightning. See more »
We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained and new rights to be won and they must be won and used for the progress of all mankind.
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Filmed on location by the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration. See more »
This was effective for this viewer. Usually what that means in cases like this is that it made me cry.
The hook is that it reviews its subject through the eyes of the astronauts. I was wary of this. I got involved in the program later, during the beginning of the shuttle era and even then the astronauts were pretty much there only to have been taken there. They were chosen some of them for how good they looked on newsprint.
The magic of the program and its heroes were a few visionaries and an army of competent engineers.
Yet it was effective because we see the story through the eyes of witnesses. There role here is simply as witness, and if you were alive during this time, you will be impressed at how it affects you.
There were all sorts of paths that could have been followed in this. The quest of man to explore; the mysteries of the unknown; the vast game being played by two enemies to demonstrate superiority of ideology; the hidden weapons programs.
They cover all these slightly except that last, and that's excusable because these witnesses saw none of that. But the story that dominates is the Kennedy one. Its hard to imagine today, but we loved our president and he deserved it. He was intelligent and articulate. His advisers came off not as louts or bullies, but men (and a few women) smart enough for difficult times. He was the Peace Corps president.
Kennedy promised to go to the moon and return without consulting anyone at NASA, and riding on the crest of a national enthusiasm for science and hardware. The nation really was engaged. And then he was killed, and with our rising self-doubt (Vietnam, race) we decided that as a people we owed it to him, or what he stood for. So when it happened, and the world watched, re affirmed the man and what he stood for. It was a good feeling, not pride as much as wonder about who we discovered ourselves to be.
This will evoke that same feeling again, the original tears, followed by tears of disappointment at the massive collapse of esteem which followed. A serious of botched opportunities to be worthy of the accomplishment.
Its an effective documentary in that regard, all the more so since everything was designed to be photographed, and was. If you really want to learn of this program, you need to go elsewhere, But this delivers on the promise.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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