Now, about the movie in question, 'Apollo 18'. When I was a kid, I loved all things space related. I was huge into space travel and so when I heard about this movie.... I was geeked. The commercials peaked my interest even more, but I was concerned that this might not be what it was promising to be. Soon the reviews came in and they seemed to back-up that theory. Regardless of the bad press, I still wanted to see it for myself so that I could make an educated decision on it. I'm glad I waited and decided to see it myself, as it really needed to be seen. It's an original idea and I'm all for stories of 'alternate-history'. (ie: the upcoming 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter') I have to admit that in the beginning of the movie, I was impressed by the quality of the production and how good they made it look. It really felt like old school NASA footage. That, sadly, didn't last. It seemed as though they ran out of money or steam midway through. The whole thing just kind of fell apart about 45 minutes in. I felt like I was just watching any other movie about astronauts.... only with weird alien thingys. (I don't want to give away the alien thingys too much, in case you decide to watch it for yourself.) Despite the sudden drop in quality, I watched on in the hopes it would payoff in the end. Things just continued to get worse and by the end, I felt like I'd wasted my time.
The plot: (taken from IMDB.com) "Decades-old found footage from NASA's abandoned Apollo 18 mission, where two American astronauts were sent on a secret expedition, reveals the reason the U.S. has never returned to the moon." That pretty much sums it up. The producer and director really push the point that it's supposed to be real. A lot of it matches up with the technology of the times. I'm assuming that somebody felt that this was going to be a blockbuster.... too bad it wasn't as big as they'd hoped. It's not that the plot was lacking, it's just that the aliens were kind of lame and the acting was sub-par. The writing for these two astronauts, made them look kind of unintelligent. They made stupid decisions that made a bad situation worse. I mean, they didn't get chosen for the space program for being good looking. They went through a battery of tests and were found to be extremely competent people who could thrive under pressure. I saw none of that here. And the cover up angle was weak, at best.Despite the uninspired execution of this movie, I still have faith in the "found footage" genre. I think there are still good stories out there waiting to be told. I'm not sure that every movie would fit in this genre. (like the possilbe decision to make 'Halloween 3' a "found footage" film) But after seeing what was done with 'The Blair Witch Project' and 'Paranormal Activity', I really see potential. Actually, the night I watched this, I made it a whole "found footage" fest. I also watched the Spanish film 'Atrocious' and the low budget 'The Poughkeepsie Tapes'. (reviews coming soon) They were 3 very different movies and complimented each other well. This was 'alternate history', 'Atrocious' was kind of a ghost story type thing and 'The Poughkeepsie Tapes' was a faux-documentary with footage included that was shot but the serial killer in the story. Four hours I'm actually glad I spent, even with this movie included.
After all is said and done, I don't regret watching 'Apollo 18'. I only wish they'd kept up with the quality they started off with and that they'd gone another direction with the villan. I really tried hard to get past all of that, but it just didn't work. There's no two ways about it, this movie is not something I would recommend. I settled on 2 out of 5 stars. The main reason I ended up there was the fact that it just went so far downhill. This movie could have been amazing or at least a whole lot more fun. The tagline basically read that this was the movie that explained why we never went back to the moon.... I think it was really the reason why we'll never go back to watch this again. Maybe this is footage that never should have been "found".
Much better examples of the "found footage" genre: 'The Blair Witch Project', the 'Paranormal Activity' films and 'Paranormal Entity'