Apollo 18: Movie Review

"Apollo 18" is another film in the found footage genre. While it may sound oh-so-similar to other found footage films, it actually does something unique and daring (and it's not a "Paranormal Activity" rip-off as others may say). Whereas most happen here on Earth or feature the occult, "Apollo 18" ties up the lunar space race, aliens and the confining space of a land mass no bigger than Pluto and a space vehicle as big as a small room. It's amazing that it holds its own for one and a half hours without us batting a single yawn. Even an interesting story does not save "Apollo 18" from being bad. It suffers badly by choosing a stifling medium - the fact of the matter is you can only do so much with a found footage film as you are limited by the "cameras" themselves. Mix that with small confined spaces and you spell doom.

Captain Ben Anderson (Warren Christie), Commander Nate Walker (Lloyd Owen) and Lieutenant Colonel John Grey (Ryan Robbins)are called upon by NASA and the Department of Defense to go on an 18th Apollo Mission. The mission is considered top secret that even their families are unaware that they are going to the Moon. Their mission is to collect lunar rock samples and install the DOD's radio frequency detectors to alert the United States of Soviet ICBM threats. Everything seems normal not until Ben and Nate hear unusual sounds and movements on the lunar surface. Both men now consider the fact that they may not be alone on the Moon. Question is, who or what is it and is it human, extraterrestial or maybe even paranormal?

"Apollo 18" is the perfect movie to have a case study on how choosing the right medium is key from it being bad from being good. In this case, "Apollo 18" suffers from the former. The movie in fact has an interesting story - a creative one at that. If presented as a normal sci-fi film then we guess it could be better-than-average even great. It was really a frustrating experience at times. If you could only see more, feel more then the suspense, thrill and horror that was building up would actually develop fear. But since we are limited by the cameras themselves and the vacuum of space, the characters only see very short glimpses of the antagonists. The good things for "Apollo 18" is first, the overall presentation and feel. It was top-notch as the grainy quality and other visual cues make "Apollo 18" feel super authentic. Some may hate the minor fillers (that are obviously from old space footage) but for us, it made the experience better. The actors had believable performances as well. In the end though, it is not that "Apollo 18" had a bad story or bad actors. It also wasn't the presentation, the effects or the setting. It just limited itself too much by choosing to be a found footage film more than anything else - and that limited its capabilities in exploring and developing its mythology further than it could have.

Rating: 2 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- the story holds the movie from complete catastrophe
- you'll be surprised who or what the antagonists really are

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the found footage medium limits what the narrative can do

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