Newest Reviews
Watch List
Kat and the Band
Perfect 10
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Traitor, The
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
Three Outlaw Samurai
Echoes of Fear
Guinea Pig, The
Newest Articles
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
  For All Mankind From The Earth To The Moon
Year: 1989
Director: Al Reinert
Stars: Various
Genre: DocumentaryBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Between 1968 and 1972, NASA sent nine missions into space with the purpose of exploring the Moon, as President John F. Kennedy had promised the world would happen within his lifetime. Sadly, he was assassinated before the first Moon mission was undertaken, but his promise was always in the mind of those scientists and technicians who were working day and night to get the project into shape, and though he did not live to see it fulfilled, those who remembered him noted not simply his hopes, but the hopes of a nation, indeed the whole world, were satisfied by this monumental achievement. This documentary pieces together the footage of the missions...

Director Al Reinert has access to countless feet of film taken by NASA's onboard cameras, all placed around the hardware to document what was going right - and what may go wrong. It's mentioned at the end, but there were those who lost their lives in the space program, both American and Russian, and that was a sober reminder that no matter how much fun some of this looked, and how awe-inspiring the rest was, it was still a highly dangerous endeavour that could have ended in disaster. We are possibly more aware of this thanks to another film Reinert was involved with, Apollo 13, which highlighted the perils of space travel; two space shuttle disasters too.

What For All Mankind turned out to be was essentially an eighty minute montage of the clips taken from various missions, accompanied by the sage words of the astronauts who had taken part in them, and a selection of music tracks for atmosphere (as after all, there is no sound in space). Much of that music was drawn from Brian Eno's ambient works, and that was a very good fit, seemingly appropriately epic while oddly intimate when matched with the visual splendour of our nearest satellite and our own homeworld spinning in space. The footage alone, particularly when in space, was fascinating, and of course the eventual landing on the Moon delivered a collection of gems.

However, Reinert was not without his critics, mostly in his choices for assembling what NASA gave access to. He played fast and loose with what part of which mission went where, even to the extent of re-editing Kennedy's famous speech, as if it was not important-sounding enough for this director's liking (JFK actually dedicated the program "for all people", which does seem more inclusive in these days of poring over every gender-based noun and pronoun). Also, purists were irked when scenes not from the Moon escapades were included, to make it appear that a Gemini spacewalk had been part of the Apollo flights, for instance, and parts that genuinely were from the Moon exploration were mashed together to create more of an impression of what it was like to be there, rather than something more chronologically authentic.

You may regard these as quibbles, you may have wished for a little less creativity in the editing, but what you could not argue with was the footage would be evergreen as a depiction of possibly the greatest success of the twenty-first century, and seeing as how that century was afflicted with some of the worst excesses of humanity, we needed something like this to redeem ourselves. Watching the Earth passively but weightily hanging in the void was impressive enough, but the shots of the moonscape were as gripping now as they had been back then, when the world was looking on, riveted. Perhaps the repetition of these scenes in various media through the decades may have robbed them of some power, yet witnessing them gathered together in one place brought home the vastness of the task that the missions had been to bring them to us, from the craters gliding by under the lunar lander, to the lunar rover speeding across the surface, even to finding out what the first words spoken by the second man on the Moon were. Alas, Neil Armstrong, the first, declined to be interviewed, but the anecdotes, curiously anonymous here, helped build a vivid account.

[The Criterion Collection release For All Mankind on Blu-ray with these director-approved features:

* New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by producer-director Al Reinert, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack)
* Audio commentary featuring Reinert and Apollo 17 commander Eugene A. Cernan, the last man to set foot on the moon
* An Accidental Gift: The Making of "For All Mankind," a new documentary featuring interviews with Reinert, Apollo 12 and Skylab astronaut Alan Bean, and NASA archive specialists Don Pickard, Mike Gentry, Morris Williams, and Chuck Welch
* On Camera, a collection of excerpted on-screen interviews with fifteen of the Apollo astronauts
* New video programme about Bean's artwork, accompanied by a gallery of his paintings
* NASA audio highlights and lift-off footage
* Optional on-screen identification of astronauts and mission control specialists
* PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by film critic Terrence Rafferty and Reinert.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 529 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg


Last Updated: