APOLLO 18 Review

The quick, easy way to describe "Apollo 18" is "Paranormal Activity" in space, and for the most part that would be right. This lost in space angle for the lost footage genre isn't as interesting as I had originally hoped it would be, and while it isn't all bad it certainly isn't something to write home about either. What makes the "Paranormal" movies work so well is there grounding in an honest environment from beginning all the way to that slow burning conclusion. With having these kind of happenings occur in a place where it might not be as hard to believe results in a movie we have seen one too many of this year: the alien invasion movie. Sure, there is always going to be films exploring the "what ifs" of space but this honest attempt to turn that premise on its head, while succeeding in a good number of areas, doesn't leave the viewer with a feeling of satisfaction. And so, we are left to wonder about what we weren't told and while that too may sound like a good indication that the film doesn't divulge too much the way most films tend to do, it doesn't mean it leaves us asking questions in a good way. I can applaud the makers of this for trying something interesting with this kind of genre mash up between alien movies and lost video footage horror, but this may have honestly worked better as a full fledged Hollywood production.

Were it to have been given a well rounded story with a definitive beginning and end with more perspective all while keeping its good use of restraint intact this could have been one of the more innovative movies concerning aliens this year. Given this isn't an alien invasion film in its truest sense of the word, it is still a story centered around a secret mission to the moon where the three astronauts at its core come in contact with something not of human origin. That sound intriguing? I agree and that is why despite the lack of critical buzz or promotion for this film period I had hoped it might prove to defy the odds. Where "Apollo 18" goes wrong though is the actual limitations it has placed upon itself. There are certain places, areas of this story that need to be more explored, need to be complete in order for this to actually make an audience feel as if they've been given their money's worth and while I can appreciate the directors commitment to staying as true to his format as he has done, I can't forgive not delivering as good a story as could have been had those limitations not been set. Find a way around them, return to "lost" interviews with officials after the so-called lost footage was discovered. If there is a will there is certainly a way, but there is ultimately no will behind the scenes of "Apollo 18" because it could have easily been so much more.

I know it seems as if I am staying focused on this one glitch of the film failing as a result of trying to capitalize on the "real footage" deal but it honestly is where the problem lies. The movie has fine, unknown actors in its lead roles who we buy as the early seventies cosmonauts without question and it does indeed contain a few jumps even if they do seem a bit too standard for what could have been created with that never-ending environment. The movie even goes as far as to give these astronauts little obituaries at the end while giving a website to where this footage was originally uploaded to. The credits are delayed and the cast is all uncredited. We get it, you are trying to make it as real as possible but for the sake of a great premise and not just that, but great promise, someone adapt this into a feature film rather than making a safe bet with this five million production. There truly isn't much more to say when it comes to "Apollo 18". It is more of a tedious watch than anything, and even when it does find a nice pace in the middle we can't help but know in the back of our minds that this isn't real. That the movie doesn't engulf its audience to the point they are taken out of the hoax should have been sign one this wasn't going to work like they thought it would.

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