For All Mankind

For All Mankind

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of For All Mankind

Commentaries are best solo, second best duo. This is a bit of both. Director Al Reinert and astronaut Gene Cernan, the last man on the moon (only 12 actually set foot), share the commentary slot, except Cernan takes the biggest share, which is good because he has the experience, having done the trip twice. He reminds us that when President Kennedy made his speech, announcing America’s determination to explore space, the people at NASA were not exactly prepared. “You have more computer technology under the bonnet of your car today than we had going to the moon.”

Reinert uses many different astronauts on many different flights, which is not clear at first. Although, as a breed, they are highly competitive, “they saw themselves as interchangeable on the same journey,” according to Cernan. Talking to them one on one is fine, but in a group they can’t be serious, making fun of each other constantly. This adds to the charm of the film.

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The moon may be “dead from a geological point of view, but not from a spiritual.” The beauty of the earth, as seen from space, was felt by all and will be seen by everyone who watches this DVD. Ed White’s first ever space walk is equally breathtaking, beautifully filmed and genuinely exciting.

Reinert was a magazine journalist when he discovered the 6000 hours of film, much of which had never been seen before, in cold storage at the Johnson Space Centre, California. He talks about those who helped him in the Making Of featurette, which is illuminating. The astonishing sequence of the rocket taking off for the moon was achieved with 20 cameras. The quality is amazing.

Paintings From The Moon are really rather good. Alan Bean, one of the 12 who walked on the surface, says, “I am an artist who used to be an astronaut rather than an astronaut who paints.” His pictures speak for themselves.

Reviewed on: 18 Nov 2009
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For All Mankind packshot
The astronauts who walked on the moon film themselves.
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Product Code: EKA40313

Region: 2

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Audio commentary by director Al Reinert and ex-astronaut Gene Cernan; Making Of featurette - An Accidental Gift; Behind The Scene interview snatches; ex-astronaut Alan Bean shows and talks about his paintings

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