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Rotary Action - helicopter movies
featuring: the Apollo astronauts
director: Al Reinert
79 minutes (E) 1989
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Eureka DVD Region 2 retail
review by Steven Hampton
For All Mankind
Former journalist Al Reinert co-wrote Ron Howard's blockbuster movie Apollo 13 (1995), and he also contributed to magnificent TV docudrama
From The Earth To The Moon (1998), presented by Tom Hanks. Before any of that, however, Reinert's dedicated researches for this low-budget
celebration of the first voyages off-world mined the NASA film library to study archived footage, shot by crews and teams of astronauts themselves
between 1968 and 1972, much of which had never been seen before by the general public.
"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard" - JFK
Taking individual narratives, detailing seven missions to the Moon, and editing the highlights together into a single condensed vision of space
flight reveals the Apollo programme as the most audacious endeavour in history. And here, with astronauts positioned as both 'challengers of the
unknown' and 'representatives of humanity', we embark upon - certainly - the most expensive 'home video' ever created, "shot on location."
Although there were prosaic reasons for NASA to film everything they did, the resultant compilation of 'best' moments, and stunning images of the
finest quality possible, covering every aspect of the various Moon journeys, is assuredly a thing of great beauty. There is a particular word that's
often misused or repeated, today, ad nauseam. That word is 'awesome'. It's a word that genuinely fits the bill here, and it can honestly be applied
to describe the staggering emotional impact of viewing this unique film about an undertaking that changed human perspectives.
"This is the Moon. That is the Earth."
For All Mankind is not simply, or merely, just another 'space-travel docudrama'. It's a wholly successful attempt to capture the meaning of
a sequence of events that begins with President John F. Kennedy's rousing speech in 1961. This film cleverly recycles JFK's words as the perfectly
apt coda for its closing scene where the Apollo capsule splashes down back on Earth, safely; mission accomplished. With engaging and frequently
eloquent narration by the astronauts, and surprising visual dramas, this tribute reminds us that the Moon-walkers are usually viewed not as brave
lone heroes but as a single body of men - united by esprit d'corps of The Right
Stuff, and fulfilling their memorable roles as pioneers of a future, so rich in promises, that we cannot easily predict the nature of, or
extrapolate a likelihood of its probable reality, and it's a bold future that we have, so far, failed to take the next obvious steps towards. If there's
an overarching message here, of course, it's that any further missions into space that return to the Moon and reach beyond it; must be done "for
"We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the
progress of all people." - JFK
This special edition in the masters of cinema collection from Eureka has been fully restored and re-mastered for its home viewing premiere, with
comprehensive extras: a director's commentary (with Eugene Cernan, last man on the Moon), the making-of 20th anniversary documentary featurette
An Accidental Gift (with astronaut Alan Bean interview and some NASA archive staff), a gallery of Bean's artwork, optional subtitles, and
identification captions. DVD or blu-ray formats also include a lavish booklet, but that particular item was not provided with the review screener.