July 20, 2014
Movie Night: Destination Moon.
Review #617: Destination Moon.
John Archer (Jim Barnes), Warner Anderson (Dr. Charles Cargraves), Tom Powers (General Thayer), Dick Wesson (Joe Sweeney), and Erin O'Brien-Moore (Emily Cargraves) Directed by Irving Pichel.
In honor of the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing today, I've decided to do a double feature of films dealing with expeditions to the moon, both movies being released in 1950, this one being released second. This was made way before Sputnik helped begin the Space Age, and 19 years before Apollo 11. This was produced by George Pal, who would later produce the 1953 version of The War of the Worlds and later direct 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (#430). So how is this film? This is a really interesting movie that manages to seal itself and its premise in a 90 minute window, with really dazzling special effects to boot. While there is a small cast, it more then makes up for it by being exceptionally entertaining, the cast itself is fine, Wesson steals the show and makes for a good wisecracking relief character. The effects by Lee Zavitz are really astounding to watch, even the matte paintings by Chesley Bonestell are nice to look at. My favorite scene for some reason is the scene in which a cartoon is shown to would-be funders of the spaceship Luna to help explain how a rocket can get from the Earth to the Moon and how it lands, starring none other than Woody Woodpecker. It's a amusing scene, but it also is a informative scene that just shows how cool space travel can be. The story (written by the trio James O'Hanlon, Rip Van Ronkel, and Robert A. Heinlein) is pretty good, it's balanced well and certainly adds to the level of entertainment, The movie is fun to watch, especially in the last half hour, which is actually pretty riveting. In the end, this is a good film to watch not only on this day, but any day, for anyone looking for a good sci-fi flick. That, and one with the Moon in it.
Overall, I give it 9 out of 10 stars.