had known about Moonshot for some time ever since James Marsters mentioned it on his blog. It’s the story of how the crew of Apollo 11 met and took on the challenge of landing on the moon. The History Channel aired it this past Monday night, 40 years to the day Neil Armstrong took that one small step for a man. Marsters portrays Buzz Aldrin, the second guy to walk on the Moon. He was portrayed as a bit of a hotshot,and a bit off beat. What other astronaut would have a monkey for a pet? Still, he’s also shown a man who was eager to meet the challenge. Marsters cuts quite a figure as the young Buzz Aldrin. Compare that to Daniel Lapaine’s portrayal of Armstrong, who is shown as a quiet and humble man, nothing special about him. However, when you see him and Aldrin try to land the Lunar module, you see that Armstrong was something special, too.
The movie admits that the script is based on transcripts, first-hand accounts and a bit of dramatic license. That may explain why they had to imply that Armstrong and Aldrin had a bit of a rivalry before the mission, or we see the crew have a certain body function you wouldn’t think should happen in space. However, it does include the reason why NASA decided that Armstrong should be the first man on the Moon. Basically, they preferred a humble hero that a guy with an ego that’s a bit too big. That part is true.
The film may slightly disappoint people who have seen the HBO mini-series about the space race, From the Earth of the Moon. However, that had a big budget. Moonshot is more modest, trying to preserve a 1960’s look with a limited budget. It also uses in film clips from that era including Walter Cronkite anchoring CBS’ coverage of Apollo 11. They were also careful to synch up the actors’ lips with the words their real-life counterparts said when they talked to Mission Control. The depiction of the landing is a mix of the actors with NASA film of the Moon landing.
Moonshot will air on the History Channel at 10 PM Saturday, Eastern and Pacific, and 2 AM Sunday. The History Channel website also has clips of CBS’ coverage of Apollo 11.