Well, here’s some good news for what I would imagine is a small demographic of people: If you’ve been thinking to yourself “You know, they just don’t make enough ‘conspiracy theory/Blair Witch Project/aliens that look like rocks and want to kill us’ movies that are set in SPACE!”---get ready to rejoice. Hollywood has managed to dredge up this piece of work for you.
The Good: Allow me to get right to the point here, because I don’t believe in putting a skirt on a skunk —the only good part of this movie is that it had POTENTIAL to be good.
The underlying premise of this film is that the Apollo 18 mission to the moon that was officially cancelled, was, in fact, actually launched secretly in December 1974, and never returned. It sounds promising, but the entire movie is one tedious clip after another of “lost footage” from the mission that three astronauts were chosen to carry out, only to discover once they are on the moon, that they are governmental guinea pigs, and that—SURPRISE—the government is very aware of everything these poor space cowboys are finding out firsthand.
It’s not that the underlying idea of this movie is a bad one. In fact, I was completely on board with the concept of there being a secret mission to the moon and finding out that another country had beat us there, with all the national security issues that might entail. And if the writer’s had only made THAT their focus of the movie, we might be having a different conversation than the one we are having now. But no, once again, someone felt a movie just wouldn’t be complete without alien creatures whose sole purpose of existing is to decimate the human race.
The Bad: You should know this--- I’m not a huge fan of any type of horror film genre. In fact, I am the proverbial giant weenie when it comes to anything to do with people being attacked by unknown forces and creepy stuff in general, so I was steeling myself for what was coming my way. And I admit that I did jump a handful of times ---mostly because of things that kept flying at the camera. There seemed to be an odd sort of a “made you blink!” game going on. The real problem with this movie, aside from the aforementioned items, is that when filmmakers try to convince you that you are watching “lost footage” reels, they have to make most of those tapes pretty boring or mundane, so that it builds up to the whole purpose of releasing these tapes in the first place. Unfortunately this leaves you with an enormous amount of time to get bored and check your watch. If this gives you any indication of what I’m saying, my 14 year old son who was with me started playing a game on his phone about halfway through the movie, and I only made him stop out of courtesy to the other movie goers around us. Put another way, for those who have read my previous reviews: I would rather watch a 24 hour loop reeled marathon of Cowboys and Aliens, than sit through this little number again.
The Ugly: If there is an upside to the alien beings in this movie, it’s the fact that we weren’t forced to endure another giant hulking bug rendition like always. You will, however, feel like you just wandered into a “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie when you see what the visionaries DID have in mind for our extraterrestrial buddies. And for those who are squeamish when it comes to blood, you will want to avert your eyes when one of these little suckers has to be removed in a makeshift surgical procedure from one of our fearless cosmonauts. Not to worry, Swiss army knife to the rescue. Shudder.
If only the writers had taken the time to develop the characters for me, I might have actually CARED about their ultimate fate. As it turns out, I just kept wondering how these so called lost tapes survived everything. And to be perfectly honest, the only time I felt like screaming was when I looked at my watch about 30 minutes in and thought to myself “I wish someone was removing an alien from my stomach with a pocket knife, instead of being here for another hour” I think I’ve made myself clear on how bad this movie was.