I don’t intend to jump into movie reviews in the near future, except when perhaps an exceptionally good or exceptionally poor and dangerous film is released. But, after visiting the theater for the first time in a little while, I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.
In the Shadow of the Moon is a documentary about the Apollo Space Program, focusing primarily on Apollo 11 but also integrating the other missions to and around the moon, as well as the attempts, failures, and political climate. I did not expect it to be so fascinating, and have a much better understanding now of the times, of JFK’s vision, the space race, Vietnam, and the ’70s. I think this is to be expected from any documentary, as well as any good history text, to bring to life the emotions of the age as well as the facts.
What I wasn’t expected from the movie was a Christian apologetic. Now, I’ve seen short films such as The Privileged Planet which show the statistical impossibility of our earth, but this new film had something missing in most of those appeals to science. It has genuineness, a real authenticity. Within it, the characters who are the real astronauts and privileged men to see the earth from beyond the earth share their spiritual experience as well as physical and emotional. In particular, it warmed my heart to hear the reading of creation from Genesis by the first Apollo mission to circle the moon. And toward the end, the testimony of an astronaut after the trip was greatly unexpected. As he said, his walk on the moon last only three days, but his walk with God will last forever.
Of course I don’t remember the film with absolute clarity, and so I encourage you to check it out. Check it out for historical value. Check it out for spiritual encouragement. Check it out for a new view of this world and to address the mistaken sense of significance that we can often have. It isn’t in many theaters, and I think only one is playing it in Pasadena, but perhaps it will be on DVD before too long.
It isn’t a cheesy Christian film, but just a well-made film that accurately depicts the realities of the time and program, which happens to include a personal testimony to our God. It is so well done that you might think the footage isn’t real.