This science fiction movie came out a few months earlier in 2012, and I have just watched the DVD in the last few days. Now, what kind of movie did I think it might be? It was sci-fi yes, but just what kind? I could see the poster artwork, which depicts a terrorised astronaut on the surface of the Moon, seeming to have been attacked or beaten by someone or something.
It did not present itself as a highly serious or philosophical film along the lines of Solaris or 2001:A Space Odyssey. This was a much simpler, energetic hyped up, though tense movie. It was possibly one of the very first obviously ‘found footage’ sub-genre films to be science fiction. Usually, these ‘found footage’ fake documentary movies have most notably been more successful in the horror movie genre, probably due to the more manageable lower budgets of horror.
For a fairly basic and simple sci-fi premise of astronauts go to the Moon, but then encounter some mysterious danger there, it does actually do this with more than expected realistic authenticity. The early scenes introduced us to the main astronauts, through candid hand-held camera footage, and the scenes do look convincingly set in the sixties at the era suggested.
While I was surprisingly impressed with how genuine the retro earth footage looked, it seemed to stagger along slowly before the men eventually set off into space. After that, the film moved into a much more interesting and then gradually tense level.
Of course it could not at all avoid resembling the all-time classic of science fiction films, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001; and this was possibly too much of a challenge for it to meet. This film does though have a much different plot to go through to that one. Not before too long, something happens that was very unexpected and the men up there confront an unknown and shocking terror in space.
When the movie opens out to meet the space horror, then it of course quickly recalls the other sci-fi/horror classic ALIEN. We all know that one so well, and this movie is not too far from the events seen there, the saving difference that holds your attention is due to the ‘found footage’ gimmick.
Now, while it continues on as an interesting movie, with engaging camera angles, dramatic scenes between the characters, soon enough much of it sadly feels easily just too derivative of other movies. This is a sad thing, as this does begin well, and seems fresh and promises a new angle in science fiction fear.
I am not saying avoid this movie, as though it slows and recalls other movies regularly, it does hold some very creepy and disturbing visuals on the Moon. I might have simply been too unimpressed and judgmental having seen this a few months after seeing Prometheus, one of the most special and outstanding sci-fi films in years.
It did seem that the tale held back from providing us with what could have been more of a mind-blowing final act, although it does still shock with blood and nasty creatures wriggling around as the astronauts try to escape.
Apollo 18 may not offer many great surprises or originality for sci-fi fans, but is worth seeing as one of the more chilling space movies to have come along in a long while.