Apollo 18 Preview

Patrick stops his car in the parking lot of a local Bob’s Big Boy. He shudders at the thought of the unhealthy cuisine held within, but knows that’s just the Stallone talking. He looks over in the front seat at young Kyle and wonders how long the rap for kidnapping is in 1989. If Tango & Cash is any indication, jail isn’t a place for Sly Stallone. “Kid, I got a lot of explaining to do.” Over the next four hours or so he details the history of BMT and the role he eventually plays in it. By the end the child looks up at him in wonder. “Mr. Stallone,” he squeaks, “that’s a great story and all, but what am I supposed to do about it?” What indeed? As he looks around he sees an ad in the window of the Big Boy detailing “out of this world prices.” Out of the world? Space? Space and time! “Kid,” he says to Kyle, “buckle up cause we’re going galactic.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t help you,” Kyle says, concern etched on his face. At first he had listened to Jamie’s claim that he wasn’t actually Frank Stallone with curiosity, but when the Dongle came up his face darkened. Jamie doesn’t know what he can do, frustration builds until he does the only thing that comes naturally and belts out the first verse of Your Body is a Wonderland by John Mayer. Kyle is moved. Not only is the song a beautiful soft rock ode to the human form, but channeled through the voice of Frank Stallone it takes on an otherworldly beauty. Kyle stops in his tracks. When he turns Jamie sees tears in his eyes. “Alright,” he sighs, “but I can’t make any promises.” 

That’s right! We’re going galactic for the otherworldly beauty of Apollo 18, one of the lesser titles in the found footage surge we experienced following The Blair Witch Project. We are pairing that with a moon-centric straight-to-video horror The Dark Side of the Moon from 1990. Gotta love the moon… seriously, what are you some animal who hates the moon? It does so much for us and asks so little. Let’s go!

Apollo 18 (2011) – BMeTric: 59.0; Notability: 23

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 6.8%; Notability: top 28.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 19.7%; Higher BMeT: Jack and Jill, The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World, Shark Night, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, The Darkest Hour, The Roommate, Hellraiser: Revelations, Conan the Barbarian, Abduction, I Don’t Know How She Does It, Zookeeper, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil; Higher Notability: Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Green Lantern, Cars 2, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Hop, Your Highness, New Year’s Eve, Jack and Jill, The Smurfs, Battle Los Angeles, Red Riding Hood, Sucker Punch, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, I Am Number Four, The Hangover Part II, In Time, Johnny English Reborn, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Season of the Witch, and 51 more; Lower RT: Hellraiser: Revelations, Faces in the Crowd, Jack and Jill, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, The Roommate, A Little Bit of Heaven, Hick, Abduction, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, Dream House, New Year’s Eve, Trespass, Red Riding Hood, Season of the Witch, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Atlas Shrugged: Part I, The Darkest Hour, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, There Be Dragons, The Moth Diaries, and 27 more; Notes: Fantastic BMeTric there. We talking about Zookeeper level? That’s impressive.

Entertainment Weekly – D+ –  In space no one can hear you scream. Or groan. Apollo 18 hopes to tap into the same shivery, voyeuristic vein as its found-footage predecessors The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, but it doesn’t seem to understand how those films managed to get under our skin. While their half-a-shoestring budgets forced them to be inventive — transforming mundane sights like shaking tents and swinging doors into conductors of genuine fright — this purported documentary of the final, secret moon landing is just a Hollywood production playing pauper: the grainy 16mm film doesn?t mask the fact that the movie is put together with the same juddering editing and bad characterization as most traditionally shot thrillers.

(“I doubt many will be checking the far corners of their lunar modules.” And that right there’s the rub, right? Why is this scary when the monsters exist on the dark side of the moon and are so remote as to be unknown to even the biggest conspiracy nuts for 40 years?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RGhKzUUaME/

(Excuse me? In the years that followed there was unconfirmed evidence of Apollo 18. B-b-b-b-b-b-b-but the film itself purports that they got the evidence only after some hero posted it on the internet! Looks terrible.)

DirectorsGonzalo López-Gallego – ( Known For: Open Grave; The Hollow Point; El rey de la montaña; BMT: Apollo 18; Notes: He’s mostly an Editor. He, for example. Edited the BMT classic Backdraft 2 …)

WritersBrian Miller – ( BMT: Apollo 18; Notes: There is literally nothing about this guy. He wrote and directed a short called Paracusia.)

Cory Goodman – ( Future BMT: Underworld: Blood Wars; BMT: The Last Witch Hunter; Priest; Apollo 18; Notes: Do yourself a favor and look at the posters for all of the movies this guy wrote … they look all the same. Dark with shades of blue/green.)

ActorsWarren Christie – ( Known For: Land; Gray Matters; Beneath; Magic Flute Diaries; BMT: This Means War; Apollo 18; Notes: Huh, he played Bruce Wayne in the Batwoman series. From Ireland.)

Lloyd Owen – ( Known For: The Man with the Iron Heart; Free Ride; Miss Potter; Thugs of Hindostan; The Republic of Love; BMT: Apollo 18; Notes: I thought I recognized him! He’s Elendil in Rings of Power! Funny. Didn’t recognize him without the beard.)

Ryan Robbins – ( Known For: Dangerous; Spectral; Life on the Line; Passengers; Coffee & Kareem; The Confirmation; Reasonable Doubt; Vampire; Scorched Earth; Wrecked; Boundaries; Liberty Stands Still; Stark Raving Mad; Manson, My Name Is Evil; Unrivaled; Marilyn; Cold Blooded; Future BMT: The Shack; BMT: Warcraft; Seventh Son; Walking Tall; Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem; Catwoman; Paycheck; Apollo 18; Notes: Mostly a television actor I think. He was in 26 episodes of Riverdale. Although, he is a seemingly big character names Zero in the Sniper series.)

Budget/Gross – $5,000,000 / Domestic: $17,687,709 (Worldwide: $26,236,153)

(And here you see why this film was made. A cool profit, easy peasy, and if it had ended up being even remotely good they’d be swimming in sequels and making money hand over fist.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 24% (18/75): A boring, suspense-free Paranormal Activity rip-off that feels long even at just 90 minutes.

(Oooooooooooof. Something feeling long at 90 minutes is a bad sign. And I HATE found footage already.)

Reviewer Highlight: Make no mistake, Apollo 18 is a *terrible* movie. – Keith Phipps, AV Club

Poster – Sklog-pollo 18

(I like the font, but like… come on. Even looking at the poster I’m thinking “you can’t be serious.” But they were… they were serious. C+.)

Tagline(s) – There’s a reason we’ve never gone back to the moon. (C+)

(Yeah… money. It does the job. Wish it was more clever.)

Keyword(s) – past

Top 10: The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Forrest Gump (1994), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Django Unchained (2012), Gladiator (2000), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Schindler’s List (1993), The Prestige (2006), Shutter Island (2010)

Future BMT: 88.6 BloodRayne (2005), 72.9 The Unborn (2009), 70.3 Texas Chainsaw (2013), 70.1 Black Christmas (2006), 69.7 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 65.8 The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2014), 64.5 The Final Destination (2009), 62.1 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 59.7 Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), 57.6 Bolero (1984)

BMT: Epic Movie (2007), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), The Fog (2005), Movie 43 (2013), Super Mario Bros. (1993), Glitter (2001), Holmes & Watson (2018), The Master of Disguise (2002), The Legend of Hercules (2014), Grease 2 (1982), The Bye Bye Man (2017), Jonah Hex (2010), Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), Wild Wild West (1999), Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994), The Ridiculous 6 (2015), Highlander: Endgame (2000), Black Knight (2001), Chernobyl Diaries (2012), A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), Cool World (1992), The Musketeer (2001), An American Haunting (2005), Apollo 18 (2011), Ishtar (1987), The Nun (2018), The Curse of La Llorona (2019), Pinocchio (2002), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Bones (2001), Shanghai Surprise (1986), House of Wax (2005), Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991), Season of the Witch (2011), The Tuxedo (2002), Mannequin: On the Move (1991), Pompeii (2014), Ghost Ship (2002), Assassin’s Creed (2016), The Scarlet Letter (1995), Timeline (2003), Dolittle (2020), The Quest (1996), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), Wagons East (1994), The Three Musketeers (2011), Diana (2013), Ben-Hur (2016), Rambo III (1988), Around the World in 80 Days (2004), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), The Blue Lagoon (1980), Cutthroat Island (1995), Texas Rangers (2001), Sucker Punch (2011), Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001), Jobs (2013), Universal Soldier (1992), Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004), Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), Original Sin (2001), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), American Outlaws (2001), Winter’s Tale (2014), Harlem Nights (1989), The Identical (2014), I Dreamed of Africa (2000), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), The Chamber (1996), The Marrying Man (1991), Wild Bill (1995), In Love and War (1996), Sleepaway Camp (1983), Gods and Generals (2003), The Lone Ranger (2013), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Halloween II (1981), September Dawn (2007), Young Guns II (1990), Oscar (1991), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Evening (2007), The 13th Warrior (1999), White Comanche (1968), Gangster Squad (2013), Now and Then (1995), A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

Best Options (Horror): 88.6 BloodRayne (2005), 72.9 The Unborn (2009), 70.3 Texas Chainsaw (2013), 70.1 Black Christmas (2006), 65.8 The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2014), 62.1 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 59.7 Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), 59.0 Apollo 18 (2011), 55.1 Annabelle (2014), 54.9 The Quiet Ones (2014),… (and many more)

(As you can see there were a lot of options. Probably the other one that we might have done would have been the notorious Exorcist: The Beginning, but Apollo 18, having come out the year we started BMT, has been on the table for so long we had to do it.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 26) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Warren Christie is No. 2 billed in Apollo 18 and No. 7 billed in This Means War, which also stars Reese Witherspoon (No. 1 billed) who is in Devil’s Knot (No. 1 billed) which also stars Bruce Greenwood (No. 9 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 6 billed) => (2 + 7) + (1 + 1) + (9 + 6) = 26. If we were to watch Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde we can get the HoE Number down to 20.

Notes – This film was shot using old camera lenses from the 70s.

The prologue text at the beginning of the movie states that the documented footage of the secret Apollo 18 mission was uploaded to the website “www.lunartruth.com”. When the movie was in theaters, if you typed that address into your browser, it would redirect you to “apollo18movie.net”, which was the movie’s official website. Both sites have since been shut down.

This film has no score.

NASA’s liaison for multimedia, Bert Ulrich, has officially stated that “Apollo 18 is not a documentary … the film is a work of fiction.”

The actual Apollo 18 lunar mission flight crew would have been the Apollo 15 backup crew: Richard Gordon (Commander), Vance Brand (Command Module Pilot), and Harrison Schmitt (Lunar Module Pilot). Because of his expertise in geology, Schmitt was moved to Apollo 17 after Apollo 18, 19, and 20 were canceled.

Not screened in advance for critics.

Gerry Griffin, who worked as a Flight Director for every manned Apollo mission, is a technical advisor.

The release date was moved several times, from March 4, 2011 to April 22, 2011, then an almost entire year to January 6, 2012, then it was advanced to August 26, 2011 and finally was released on September 2, 2012.

An earlier version of the movie had giant moon rock monsters in it. Although they do not feature explicitly in the final cut, some brief glimpses of much larger rock spider creatures can be seen as the lunar rover carrying Captain Anderson (Warren Christie) and Lieutenant Walker (Lloyd Owen) flips over; and just before Walker is killed, a large shadow approaches him, and his body is quickly dragged away afterwards, suggesting a much larger creature.


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