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'Moonshot' at the BFI

a rather belated and shorter review than i wanted - i've got the 'flu!

i had a quick look at the History shop and it will cost almost $24 to post it 'parcel post' to UK - maybe better to phone and get them to airmail it for that amount of money.  i'm damn sure it cost less than that to send my THREE Dresden audio books here!

At least the DVD is 94 minutes, plus extras and would be the full director's cut?  The whole film for the HC anyway, even if it is trimmed a bit.  i'm trying to remember how long Director Richard Dale said the original film was but it escapes me.

i loved the film and know it won't have quite the same impact it did, seeing it on a big screen [says she smugly!] but so worth the effort.
The almost seamless blending of film and archive footage was excellent and in colour - i'd only seen it in black & white remember - the voice blends were slightly odd but James had the majority of them, with Buzz counting down the landing - i'm sure his voice work made this relatively easy for him.  Sometimes you have the two voices overlaid, which was...interesting.

i was pleased to wait my turn to ask Dale a question after the film, as i wanted to see what was asked of him, especially with so many of the production crew in the audience apparently [lots of seats reserved with names on them].  No mention of the actors, so it was my chance to do so and get a mention of James up front and centre if possible.

He'd been saying not sure how many of the audience would have seen the live footage etc, after a LONG intro of new-age and hippy sentiments of wanting to make sure the Whole World appreciated what had happened and that it had been done on behalf of the Whole World, etc, etc, etc.  Yes, he did labour the point at every oppotunity.

i started by saying i thought it really was a beautiful film and i had watched it on live tv age 21, [with a smile] and then, how did he pick the actors to play the main parts?

What he said in essence, after a load of flim-flam about the difficulties of getting actors to travel to Lithuania etc, was that they picked the best they could for the money and from who was available. So nothing really new there.
He did go on to say that Armstrong was a hard man to cast being so reserved and that James Marsters was about perfect for Buzz, being both well known on TV [via the Spike Show~!]and for being 'eccentric' like Buzz [!] and willing to shout at him, if he thought what he was doing was wrong!!  Here Dale laughed and said he needed it sometimes.  He didn't really mention casting Collins, who i thought was the better actor than Armstrong but he essentially had more character here.  i guess that could make him the better actor in retrospect as Armstrong came off as bland at best and pretty uninteresting at worst.  Very hard part to make 'punchy' if you are only interested in the engineering as he was apparently.

Dale went on to say that there are a lot of really good actors who came to do work with them for one or two days and how glad he was to get them - but none that most of us would ever have heard of unless you knew them personally, i'm thinking.  This made him sound like he was trying to please everyone [like those Oscar acceptance speeches where the winner thanks everyone down to his pre-school teacher!] and that toned down some of his - i was going to say 'credibility' but it's not the word i want, more like he'd made the film for Mom, truth & justice, apple pie and the American Way.  By laying on the Message of Whole World-ness with such a heavy hand, he sounded like nobody mattered individually [except the production team of course]...

Have to say as usual the camera loved James and they were smart enough to let it linger where they could, whether or not they meant to, and he comes alive on the screen in a way neither of the others do. 
The behind-the-scenes shots were [i]very[/i] interesting and i'm sure we only saw a fraction of the politics and back-biting - the argument of who was stepping onto the moon surface first is a prime example.  There was obviously opposition to Aldrin being first on a very personal level, but i think the better decision was made with the mission commander going first.  Nothing to do with personalities.
We also only get a small part of the actual training etc, which i'm hoping the extended DVD version will flesh out more and maybe some parts of the interviews with the guys when they came back.  i felt it stopped a little abruptly but what do i know??
Given the fact that Buzz Aldrin has seen the film and does the introduction, makes me sure he was happy with the finished product - he's still fiesty enough to tell them to shove it, if he wasn't!  And after all this time, he has nothing to lose.

James' performance was controlled, intense and totally watchable - indeed when he is on the screen, you simply don't watch anyone else.  i loved the scene mentioned already where he is trying to figure out how to pick up things without bending down, using brush, long-handled dishpan and clothes, while his long-suffering wife is trying to hang out the washing.  His face, when she says he's in her way, is a treat.

i'm tempted to buy whatever version will be released, both there and here, if they are different.

i'm interested to know if anyone else who came to the BFI felt the same way i did.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 13th, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
Not the swine flu?!! It's becoming rampant around here. Glad you enjoyed the film. Lol at 'eccentric.' :D
Jul. 13th, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC)
No, don't think so. Just some nasty little bug my neighbour passed onto me - he still walking around, so i guess i will be too, shortly.
Had to cancel a couple of things over the next couple of days, which is irritating but i'm not passing this on to anyone else if i can help it.

i had this lovely little vigniette of James shouting at the boyish director for being a daft prick - which made me smile. He was nice enough but he was starting to irritate me with all this 60's gush... i'm just a sour ol' bitch but i did all of that 40 years ago, so don't want to get back into all that earnest crap again, y'know?

Take care, dear Ditto
Jul. 14th, 2009 11:38 pm (UTC)
Lol, for a sour ol' bitch you don't half make me laugh. :D Hope you're feeling better by now. We have swine flu around here, well on the next avenue where my son lives...eek and me such a hypochondriac!
Jul. 14th, 2009 12:43 am (UTC)
Hope that you recover soon and kick the bugs ass ;)

I have to say that the review, for me, is pretty bang on. I'm all for passionate directors as it shows belief in their project and the team involved, but he was way to 'gushy.'

I loved the scene you mentioned for James/Buzz's childlike enthusiasm and ramblings and also the look on his face as his wife shoo's him out the way with the voice that tells of her sufference at having to listen to him. All that was missing was the roll of her eyes.. It reminded me of home.. Paul waffling on about sash windows while I have to listen and juggle kids etc around him. Such a natural element.

The film was well done and very watchable and I will watch it again without pause.

Take care sweets, here if ya need me :)
Mucho smoochies
Jul. 19th, 2009 02:16 am (UTC)
Hi Jill! Longish time, no comments.

I´ll see Moonshot tomorrow, on Swedish television. Yey! I have the german version downloaded and yesterday I got the Italian one, but at least it has the original English soundtrack. Going to tape it tomorrow or check if someone has a DVD burner and can burn it down for me.

Home from the 4 day trip to Budapest, with Riikka, my sister. You remember her from Union Chapel last year? We had a great time and Budapest is a wonderful town to visit. Cheap, lots to see, easy to get around and fantastic food. Just loved it! Walked 65 km´s in those 4 days. I like that kind of exercise. And I got lots of photos. Haven´t started working on them yet, lots of LJ and stuff to catch up on after 5 days offline.

Hope you´re feeling better now. It´s 4.30 in the mornng so I just might go to bed now. Don´t have to work until Friday :O)
Jul. 20th, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC)
'Moonshot' is on tonight - 10.50pm! Why so late is beyond me... Problem is they've been doing these little 10 minute slots over 5 nights after the late News, leading up to tonight and instead of finishing it last night and just having the film tonight as the finale, the silly buggers are putting it on after this little Mission to Moon series. Someone has no sense of the drama or scheduling finesse...
Either way, i shall of course be glued! Be nice to see it again.

Glad you had fun in Budapest, yes of course i remember your sister, though regretably didn't have time to meet her properly. 65KM??? That's so typically you! i'd have died of exhaustion 3 kms in! i shall look forward to your pictures, however.

i spent the weekend at the London Film & Comic Con and by the time i got home last night, i felt as though i had done part of your hike! It was worth the effort however, but it really is spread out over too big an area and unless i can get a proper mobility scooter or a mobilised w/chair, i doubt i shall be doing London again. i will continue to do the Collectormania MK ones, when they have finished the facilities next year.
i'm writting a report on the weekend but have to upload and sort my pics and scan in my photo-ops, hang in there!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )