Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood (2022)

13 Dec

Smith’s Verdict: ***1/2
Reviewed by Tanner Smith

I wasn’t especially fond of Richard Linklater’s previous film (“Where’d You Go, Bernadette”), and this new film was in the same rotoscope-animation style as a couple of his films that don’t do too much for me (“Waking Life” and “A Scanner Darkly”)–but could this new film win me over?

“Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood “(I keep wanting to call it “A Space Age Boyhood” in reference to Linklater’s big hit “Boyhood”) is like a mix of “The Wonder Years” and Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer”–in that a whole lot of it feels very real, though it’s very doubtful that this is totally autobiographical (but you know Tom Sawyer liked to stretch the truth).

How’s this for a conspiracy theory? NASA put a space module too small for grown-up astronauts and trained and sent a fourth-grade boy up to the moon in it. (Hey, I’ve heard crazier theories.)

“Apollo 10 1/2” is more about the memories of growing up as a child in that era, when the world was bleak due to the Vietnam War, racial tensions, assassinations, etc.–but the hopefuls looked to the future which promised a lot of optimism, beginning with the television vision of the first man walking on the lunar surface…..and it just happens to come from the point of view of a man (voiced by Jack Black) looking back at his childhood as the glory days–especially when he remembers being able to walk up on the moon before Neil Armstrong did. (Like I said, it’s a stretch–but it’s a story, not a conspiracy theory.)

And I appreciated it for being more of a modest memoir than a glorified space opera–one I’ll keep coming back to on Netflix every now and again.


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