The Last Man on the Moon

“Hotshots, Flyboys, Egotists, Dreamers.”  That just about sums up Gene Cernan and the boys of the Apollo Program.

The Last Man on the Moon is a look at the Apollo Space Program. Yes, it’s a documentary but this film is anything but boring. Eugene Cernan was very literally the last man to set foot on the moon. As you look up at the moon tonight, ponder that. We almost deify those who climb Mount Everest yet there are men who still walk amongst us, who walked on the moon…over 40 years ago!Alive media magazine august 2016 A Movie Review The Last Man on the Moon carolyn hastings

I believe we’ve lost our sense of wonder, of being part of something bigger.  We now have the technology to do so much, but we don’t seem to have the imagination or the will.

The Apollo astronauts were mostly hotshot fighter pilots. They knew there was a program being put together. They had heard President John F. Kennedy’s speech, just like the rest of the world—a speech of wonderment and hope.  Eugene Cernan didn’t even know he was being considered until he got “the call.”

This film is a perfect blend of the today and yesteryear. Rich in rare, archival material, compelling visual effects, and amazing access to a real super hero finally willing to present an iconic historical account, this film is nothing short of awe inspiring.

I lived through the early days of computers but when the footage of the Houston Control Room came on the screen, my jar dropped. While I’m watching movies, talking on the phone and looking up someone in my 3000+ contacts on a device that fits in my hand, I’m wondering what kind of man would volunteer to go to the moon on a spaceship controlled by a room full of computers, each the size of a walk-in closet! The “reception” was fuzzy and blurry and just plain undependable. When Gene Cernan did his information gathering flight around the moon just before Neil Armstrong’s epic “first step” flight, he re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere at approximately 26,000 miles per hour.

These astronauts knew that some of the fellow travelers would not make it, yet they volunteered anyway. The group became very close. They lived in the same neighborhood, played cards together and trained together. Their wives shopped together and grieved together. Cernan’s wife was quoted as saying, “You think going to the moon is hard, you ought to try staying home.”

The divorce rate among the group was 67% –a steep price to pay until you know that when Cernan left the last human footprints on the moon, he also left his daughter’s initials written in the lunar dust.

This largely unexplored chapter in the history of American space exploration and the lives that are rarely considered is now ours to view.  Director Mark Craig is brilliant.  This is a great family movie (probably best 11+ years). In fact, for you grandparents, it’s a movie to watch and talk about with your grandchildren. It’s a film about flaws and failures, guts and glory; a true story of American exceptionalism.

I look forward to your comments at chastings@rockcliff.com.