For thousands of years, humans have looked up at the moon and puzzled over it. What is it like? How did it get there? Would it ever be possible to go there one day? Come the 20th century, and humankind had developed to a point where they could send rovers up to the moon to answer some of these questions – but the desire to see a person step foot on the moon remained.
On July 20, 1969, this dream was finally realized, as the Apollo 11 mission made it possible for Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to walk on the surface of the moon, and truly extend our reach beyond our own planet. It’s been 50 years since that mission, and the moon remains a source of fascination for people across the globe. That fascination has led to numerous cinematic imaginings of trips to the moon – and some of these films are so imaginative and compelling that they once more give us the urge to go up there, and walk where so few have walked before.
A Grand Day Out
The 1989 animation ‘A Grand Day Out’, made by British studio Aardman Animations, demonstrates perhaps the most genial trip to the moon ever made. Driven by a dire lack of cheese, eccentric inventor Wallace decides that he and his dog Gromit will take a trip to the moon – which, as everybody knows, is made of cheese – to restock. What follows is a masterclass in animation, comedy, and imagination. ‘A Grand Day Out’ is a deceptively powerful film. It presents a simple enough concept, but before long draws you in with the strength of its characters, perfectly-deployed jokes, and an emotional left-hook that seems to come from nowhere. One of the funniest 20 minutes in animation history, ‘A Grand Day Out’ is absolutely worth a watch for the sharp humor and endearing animation, and a surprisingly touching storyline featuring a sentient oven.
1950 sci-fi film, ‘Destination Moon’ comes from a time when walking on the moon was still a distant dream. However, the spirit that sent people to the lunar surface almost 20 years later permeates this film – about a group of astronauts who launch a secret expedition to the moon in spite of being forbidden to do so by their government. Despite its cosmic subject matter, ‘Destination Moon’ is a deeply personal story, following a group of people who make a journey to the stars motivated by nothing but the desire to discover. Along the way, they experience the truly humbling majesty of space, and reaffirm their commitment to discovering what lies beyond the heavens, even when everyone else is telling them to keep their feet on the ground. Although ‘Destination Moon’ features graphics and costumes that are decidedly 50s, the strength of the performances and the spirit of the film make it well worth checking out.
Released in 2009, ‘Moon’ is a compelling story about one man’s solitary life on the moon, and his realization that it may not be all it seems. The film concerns Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), an astronaut who is alone on the moon as the sole operator of a lunar fuel station. An accident leads Sam to suspect that something suspicious is occurring on the moon, prompting an investigation that changes his worldview forever. ‘Moon’ is a truly unique film, contemplating loneliness and what exactly it is that makes us human, against the stunning backdrop of a desolate moon. A thoughtful sci-fi with intriguing secrets to it, ‘Moon’ is one of the most engaging lunar films in recent years.