Destination Moon (1950)
3 out of 5 stars
Hmmm … quite the blast from the past. I watched Destination Moon via Netflix DVD while visiting my daughter last weekend. I placed this movie in my queue based on a recent post (one of his last) by John Scalzi over at his FilmCritic.com blog, wherein he mentioned nine science fiction films often overlooked or underappreciated.
Even with the help of legendary science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein (both on the script and as a technical adviser), Destination Moon just doesn’t hold up well when viewed through the lens of the space age. Yes, they got some things right and tried to demonstrate weightlessness, pricinciples of inertia and some of the obstacles needed to overcome and survive space travel. For a hard scifi flick from the mid-20th century, I give the film an A for effort.
I did not care for the ending though. If you’re going to go to all the trouble to get to the moon, and almost not make it back due to poor planning (i.e. too much weight to return with the fuel alotted, no slack planned for when they had trouble landing and used extra fuel). The only real drama from the entire movie boiled down to who might have to stay behind and die on the moon. The characters finally achieve their weight goal with just seconds to spare and successfully take off from the moon.
And that’s it. The movie ends there. We have no idea if they made it back to Earth or if they splashed down safely in the ocean (another idea they got ‘right’ as proven later by NASA and the Gemini, Mercury and Apollo programs).
I found it interesting to compare and contrast with science facts from 1950 and what I now know in 2012, I don’t know that I’d consider this a ‘must see’ science fiction film. Maybe at the time (in the early 50s), but not now.