Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The moon is a balloon

I have just seen the film, In the Shadow of the Moon. ( I actually had just written Dark Side of the Moon, blame that on growing up with Pink Floyd being on high rotate in our household).

For those of you who have not too much idea of what I am talking about, it is a doco that brings together the last surviving Apollo astronauts as they share their memories and feelings about their missions to the moon. It is supported by lots of never-seen-before archive footage, has an incredible music score and it is just such a fascinating watch.

Even for me, cause it's not like any of the astronauts fell in love with an alien. (It did look like they went off roading, though).

It was directed by David Sington and Richie Cunningham (one of the most sucessful gingas in the film industry, aside from Garfield) even lends his name to it. It's kind of strange as the film opens with 'Ron Howard Presents', however we never see or hear him. Apparently he was brought on board to throw a bit more weight behind the promotional machine.

But really, how much promotional horsepower are you really going to need when you have a story that is being told by ten astronauts? Stories don't come better than that. Competitve story conversationalists are really quite screwed if they enter the ring with an astronaut.

'I had lunch with the Senior Assistant Vice-President's Budget Advisor on whether or not we are going to sell Hawaii to the Chinese, last week.'

'Oh really? I haven't been to China, however I did see it when I was re-entering the earth's atmosphere recently.'

Years ago I interviewed an astronaut and I had this incredible reality check just after I started the interview when it dawned on me that this guy had actually been to the moon.

And come back.

In one piece. (That's most probably the more pertinent part to the story).

Not having any shame I blerted, 'Oh my god, I've just worked out that you've actually seen the earth from outer space.'

'Oh, and there was me thinking you were talking to me because you wanted my recipe for pumpkin pie.'

So he didn't say that, but he should have.

He was, from memory, a really nice guy and he was very patient as I asked exactly the same questions every other journalist who had interviewed him in the last thirty or so years, had asked.

And the same type of realisation happened to me when I was watching In the Shadow of the Moon. I am in totally awe of what those guys managed to achieve.

Even if I was given a brain transplant and suddenly became capable of handling the task of heading to the moon with the other rocket scientists, I am confident that I would be far too chickenshit to ever have the courage to climb into a burning, flying tin can and hurled into outer space.

I know this because I remember as a child saying to my Fruitcake mother, 'Can we please never go to the moon for a holiday or live under the sea?'

She couldn't promise that we most definitely wouldn't, but did say that there were no plans in the immediate future.

And then this film makes you think about all sorts of other things, it untangles you from your life and makes you consider (well made me consider) HOW ON EARTH ARE WE HERE ? How come we are this little oasis of life in the middle of this giant solar system?

I mean, what is with that?

Did Earth win the Solar System Lottery or something?

'And Life shall go to Planet Earth! You'll most probably enjoy it for the next 4.5 billion years -or so - after that you tend to eat your own.'

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