Friday, September 4, 2009

For All Mankind (1989)

Title: For All Man Kind (1989)

Director:  Al Reinert


Many people take space exploration for granted. Everyone has got the general idea that space exploration is going on. And even as I type this, theres guys up there in space adding rooms to the space station. But have you ever stopped to really think about how grand it is? Space exploration I mean? Just a few decades ago no one had EVER gone into space! Much less gone to the moon. The Russians where the first guys up there, and even before them, the germans were the first to hurl satellites up into space. But it was in 1969, when the USA decided to join the space race! And a few brave souls were chosen to get their space suits on, sit on top of a bunch of rocket fuel and propel themselves up into space! And not only that, but land on the freaking moon!

For a while there, I was researching information on the whole hoax angle of this issue. You see, some people out there still believe that the lunar mission was a hoax. That humans were never on the moon and that it was all one gigantic hoax to get people to stop thinking about Vietnam. That they filmed the whole thing in sets, and exteriors right here on earth. Theres even a movie that addresses the issue called Capricorn One. Now, I don’t put it past any government to make fools of a whole nation and make them believe a fake story to deviate their attention from a given issue, but honestly, this lunar mission looks solid to me. NASA documented everything, from the preparation of the space cadets, their training…to them getting on the rocket and blasting off. I tell you, its really impressive to see that rocket blasting off into space. It’s a site to behold. NASA had cameras rolling on everything!

They even had cameras on the rocket. The documentary takes us step by step through the whole process that these guys went through. We hardly get to see the astronauts themselves as they narrate the documentary, but we hear their narration, we here them talking about their experiences and we see them in 1969 going through it all. And let me tell you, hearing these guys talk makes you see the planet, the universe and the galaxy in a whole different perspective. I thought it was awesome to hear them talking about how awe struck they were when they got to see planet earth for the first time from space. The thoughts that this kind of experience can conjure up in your head are quite unique! So it’s great to check out this documentary solely for that.

Not only do we hear them talk about the whole experience, but we get to see everything they went through. I don’t know how they were inside of that little spaceship for so long, it looked so cramped in there! You can even see the home movies they recorded themselves inside of the ship. They had some fun up there. Watching this documentary was like experiencing the whole thing with them. You can hear their frightened words, you can see them work to solve problems. There was one moment that was kind of terrifying really, when the ship suddenly has an oxygen leak! They quickly fixed the problem, but man, that must have been intense! Enough to drive somebody completely bonkers. Yet, they had nerves of steal because they solved the whole problem pretty quickly and did not loose it.

One of the most amazing moments for me is when they do their first space walk. When they open up one of the hatches and go out into space. I tell you, those guys were brave! They didn’t know what the hell was going to happen when they opened the hatch up, but they did it! And finally, when they get to the moon! What a memorable moment when they land, walk, hop and start fooling around in the moon. It was funny to see them cutting loose as they hopped through the lonely landscape of the moon. Those first few moments when they hover above the dark side of the moon? Kind of spooky! Its eerie looking at a completely alien landscape like that, its so different and unique. It all looks so desserted. Hearing them talk about how they felt being the only two humans on the moon is interesting.

My only complaint with this documentary is that I wish it had gone on a little longer. Why didn’t they show how the re-entry went? Don’t exactly know why they didn’t really go into that, but basically, we go from walking on the moon, to the guys dropping down in a parachute into the ocean. Wouldn’t the re-entry footage have been exciting to see? And a great and exciting way to end the documentary? I wanted to see what they had to say when they got out, what where their first words when they first got out of the ship? Their thoughts? Unfortunately the documentary just cuts you short right there. An interesting aspect of the documentary is that the images you see are compiled from different space missions, the images you see of the astronauts in space didn’t happen chronologically, the documentary uses images from various space missions, not just the first one.

This is an absolutely amazing and memorable doc. I salute these guys for having had the courage to explore the true unknown, and I continue to salute them for still going up there into space, exploring the universe and what’s in it. The exploration of space will definitely be one of the things that will help us understand our universe better, and the galaxy that we inhabit. In my opinion, it should be a priority to explore it, see what’s out there! Isn’t the curiosity just enough of a reason to go? Here’s hoping the next moon mission happens soon. I read somewhere that it should be on its way in the next couple of decades. Hope I live to see it.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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