Apollo 18 Review

Movie: Apollo 18
By: Maniac E
Date: September 14, 2011

There's a reason we will never go back to this movie

What do we have here, another Blair-witch project… this time in space. When I first heard about Apollo 18 I was actually quite intrigued when I heard about a “lost” NASA mission to the moon that had footage mysteriously turn up online. Obviously fake as fake can get, but a rather clever concept for a film and subsequent viral marketing campaign. This really brought the bit of hype for me to go watch the movie.


The film opens with factual information on previous Apollo missions. Apollo 17 was the eleventh and final manned mission in the American Apollo space program in 1972; however this film would like audiences to believe there was a secret additional mission in 1973. “Apollo 18” presents itself as a film that is culled from top secret footage depicting American astronauts sent to the moon on an eighteenth Apollo mission funded by The US Department of Defense. The mission is veiled in the utmost of secrecy and is kept from the general public and even the family members of the astronauts involved. Commander Nathan Walker (Lloyd Owen) and Captain Benjamin Anderson (Warren Christie) pilot NASA’s lunar module named Liberty, while Colonel John Grey (Ryan Robbins) is tasked with piloting Freedom, the command module.

Apollo 18 1

The astronauts have been led to believe their mission entails setting up high frequency transmitters on the surface of the moon which are allegedly part of an anti-missile defense system (for keeping watch over the Soviet Union). However, the true nature of their mission unravels early in their lunar investigations as the astronauts discover mysterious fresh, man-made footprints. With additional evidence of possible alien life forms existing on the surface of the moon, they realize they’re not alone and that the true nature of their mission could be far more mysterious and terrifying.

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All of this was set up in a good way on paper but ended up suffering a lot in the movie itself. Thanks to sloppy editing work the whole movie pretty much gets scrambled. The movie was feeling bleak and empty. As I said, I really do love the concept, and even think it’s handled well in the film. The “other” that’s discovered is subtly crafted and well designed, and this really could have been a good movie.

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But why isn’t it? Well, there’s a huge disregard for actual science, as it’s depicted that the gravity inside the lander is earth-like, while things a few feet away on the surface are quite a bit bouncier. In fact, there’s so much bad science here, NASA actually had to abandon its involvement with the film, deeming it too “off-the-wall.” This is the same NASA who worked with Transformers 3 for a few segments earlier this year, so you know it’s pretty bad. Just makes you think about how serious the movie makers really didn’t wanted to go.

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Moreover, the film’s real issue is the editing, which is the most schizophrenic of practically any movie I’ve ever seen. They’re playing up the “found footage” angle to an extreme degree, claiming the movie is assembled from bits and pieces of 84 hours that has leaked. But the way it’s put together is just unwatchable. No scene or camera angle lasts longer than 2.5 seconds. The film is constantly jumping across cameras and filters, and throwing in unnecessary distortion effects at every turn. It actually takes WORK to watch, and it’s so heavy on quick cuts and attempting “authenticity” by mucking with the footage that your head will be swimming by the end.

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All in all the movie isn’t for everyone I myself am getting a bit sick of the “found footage” movies. They lack realization power they end up looking either dull and cheap or overdone like Apollo 18. The movie is like watching a Michael Bay movie on steroids. The audiences won’t get any satisfaction from this or any pay off ending. And let’s face it for a 89 minute movie like this it’s not worth it visiting price. Suddenly we know why NASA did not want anyone to know about the Apollo 18 project. Let’s keep it that way!



Image quality

In assessing this transfer of Apollo 18 one must take into account the effect that the filmmakers went for. It is not intended to look like the perfect HD images or a clean, crisp 35mm film. It is meant to look like vintage 8mm and the beginning of the 70s video recorded on the moon and sent back to earth. In fact, Apollo 18 was set at 16 mm and HDCAM had heavy doses of the aging effects applied. So, you see scratches, stains, dirt, tramways, video noise, scan lines and much more. For the most part, but this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfer of The Weinstein Company and Anchor Bay looks pretty faithful. There are even a few moments scattered about the place where strong detail manages to sneak through.


Well, I must say, this is a very well made soundtrack in lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. It certainly does its best to increase the tension of the film with great atmosphere in the surround channels and wide panning of sounds. It is not a mix that will hit you in the face with a lot of noise and explosions, of course, given the setting, but there are many subtle, but audible foley effects are here and the little things that can be heard making a great case for this lossless codecs.


None not even a menu.


E1 Entertainment


Apollo 18


Apollo 18


Gonzalo López-Gallego






Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen, Ryan Robbins