We all love space travel! It offers something more to humankind and shows the power of man.
But at what cost does this knowledge come to those who have left their footprints on the moon? In 1969 everyone watched, enchanted, as Neil Armstrong took the first lunar steps. He was seen as an idol of mankind, but does the world really know what he went through to get there? We live in a time where most of the original space pioneers, who once seemed like immortal superman, are now resting in the stars. Directed by Mark Craig, The Last Man on the Moon follows the life of an astronaut from some fifty years ago, to share the personal reality of the challenging journeys these men endured.
Before Armstrong reached his milestone moment in history, there were others astronauts overcoming an onslaught of technical and emotional challenges, risking their lives to explore the unknown. The Last Man On The Moon follows the timeline of 1960s astronaut Eugene Cernan, a man romanticised by the world. Eugene Cernan launched into space three times between the 1960s and the 1970s. He is the only man to have descended towards the moon in a lunar module twice, and became the eleventh – and last – man to walk on the moon. This documentary successfully captures the love, loss and success that came from being part of the space program at the time, and how no progress was made without sacrifice.
The film begins in Cernan’s early years with a strange medley between his everyday home life and quickly escalating career achievements: his upbringing on a farm, his transition into a cocky jet pilot, falling in love, having children, being called on a secret mission to apply for the NASA space program, flying to space. The mix of intimate happy family moments cutting to a roaring rocket launch brings new adrenaline to a story we already know, showing just how spectacular the first explorations of space travel really were.
As Cernan reaches the crescendo of his career (reaching the moon) and begins a decent into normal life, we witness his resistance. The ethos of the film becomes highly poignant as Cernan’s refusal to let go causes the destruction of his family life.
The film successfully captures intense moments, subtle humour and deep sadness. It does however drag on, with a little too many wide shots of senior Cernan voicing worldly advice while looking nostalgically at the spaceship; riding a horse; going fishing; sitting on a swing with his daughter; walking around the space station; talking to his co-pilot; talking to fans; doing his tie… well, you get the idea.