Astronauts On Film: The Great And The (Not So) Good
Giant leaps and small steps.
At Zeff Towers, we’ll be honouring this week’s anniversary of the moon landings with an Astronaut Movie Triple-Bill. We’re avoiding the more-obvious 2001/Aliens/Apollo 13 options, and we’re not claiming these are the best space movies ever, but they’re what we’ll be streaming (plus we’ve added three that you couldn’t pay us to watch…)
We loved this film when it came out in 2016. It tells the story of the female, African-American NASA mathematicians without whom we wouldn’t have made it to the moon. It’s not subtle, but it’s a hugely important story, told with such feelgood energy that you can’t but help get swept up in it. Even Kevin Costner’s kills it.
Does a lovestruck trash-collecting robot count as an astronaut? If it means another chance to watch this classic, then yes! WALL-E is funny, moving, looks amazing and has one of the most astonishing opening sections you’ll see in any movie, period. As good now as when we were kids.
A space odyssey directed by Ziggy Stardust’s son might be expected to be pretty good. And this story of a lonely man on a moon-mine (it’s better than that sounds, honestly) doesn’t disappoint. A pleasingly small antidote to the usual, overblown sci-fi sprawl.
We’re fine with suspending disbelief. But Affleck and Willis as asteroid-nuking oil-riggers? Oh, come on!! And no, we’ll never forgive Aerosmith for that theme song either.
It won seven Oscars, but strip away the (admittedly stunning) visual effects and what’s left is a terrible movie. And let’s not even start on why George Clooney seems to be channeling Buzz Lightyear… Don’t take our word for its awfulness, though – real-life astronauts agree with us.
A 4% RottenTomatoes score should tell you all you need to know about this movie mess, made during Eddie Murphy’s ‘low’ period (see also: Daddy Day Care). If you’ve not seen it, a) don’t; and b) you’re not alone – despite costing around US$120 million, it took in just US$7 million worldwide.
We have lift-off.