1969, the U.S. has launched Apollo 11 into deep space with a certain urgency to beat the dreaded Commies to the moon. A time when all the world’s events were seemingly galvanized by those reported on the grainy images we collectively called “the television set”. I was far from being born when we may or may not have landed on the moon. It’s difficult to get myself in the mindset of what witnessing that must’ve been like. The idea of not having a clue as to what might happen when Neil Armstrong first stepped foot on that spacely rock is lost on me. It’s been fact from day one of my existence. That’s where the value of history and movies come into effect. Moonwalkers, starring Ron Perlman and Rupert Grint is an example of that and might I say is utterly worth your time.
The film opens with Perlman deep, so very deep in the Korean jungle, facing off against a worthy adversary. We quickly move from that war to the war at home which is a populated with a starkly juxtaposed community, populated solely by war mongering weapon tech geek militants and their flower wielding, drug addled, artistic counterparts. We’ve all seen this before, but the richness of the scene and texture in Moonwalkers breathes new life into this otherwise tired trope. I haven’t even mentioned Kubrick yet. Christ!
So… set in late 1960’s U.S. military backrooms and the old school gangster streets streets of London, Moonwalkers is supremely simple. The American government is worried about being globally embarrassed in the event of a failed moon landing. They’ve got their boys hurling towards that mysterious orbiting rock, but certainty is elusive and they want/need a backup plan. A little (now giant film) known as 20o1: A Space Odyssey happens to be making a lot of noise at this very time in history. Moonwalkers would have you believe that a CIA agent is deployed to the UK with the mission to track down that very film’s creator and attempt to commission him to create/fake the moon landing as a backup plan in the event that something goes wrong with the actual mission. Problem is the CIA agent (Perlman) doesn’t get the real Kubrick and is instead left to rely on an unreliable manager of a failed UK rock band, to find a solution which ultimately leads to a rotund and heavily intoxicated “film director”.
I’ll leave the nitpicking f0r my shows at The Film Vault and CinemAddicts, but can tell you that Moonwalkers is less about what happened and much more about how it happened. Some great details and just enough nods to Stanley Kubrick himself to not come off as exploitative and or disrespectful.
Will I Remember This Film?: Definitely Probably, Maybe, Probably Not, Nope
4 0f 5
Must Watch = 5 0f 5 (See it in the theater if possible/buy it or pay for rental)
Should Watch = 4 of 5 (Worth a theater visit or sending away for)
Could Watch = 3 of 5 (If it’s on a pay channel or streaming for free)
Should Not Watch = 2 of 5 (Only if friends or family insist)
Do Not Watch = 1 of 5 (Don’t allow friends or family to make this mistake)