One Small Step...
Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon
Review by Ross Anthony

With a back drop of deep space, TV-screen sized videos of astronauts and previous Apollo missions drift from the front of the large screen back into the backdrop of stars until they become the size of snapshots. The snap shots collect and make the shape of a spaceman or craft. It’s quite impressive. A tantalizing way to show 3D-esque something originally shot in grainy 2D.

In fact, the production goes to great lengths to help these 2D images feel more 3D. It also makes sure to include plenty of kids. There’s a 5 minute segment shot in modern day with youngsters one after the other answering a few questions about space and whether or not they’d like to one day step on the moon. This interview segment brings us back to Earth, only to land the lunar module on the moon. This event, moon walking (and hopping) etc. are recreated in a 3D simulation that looks pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. The lunar landing is quite enlightening as we’ve never seen grainy 2D of that. But what is sorely missing is a recreation of the splashdown return to Earth.

Tom Hanks does a splendid job of narration and is the obvious pick for the job given his work on the feature APOLLO 13. However, in voice over, various actors read quotes from various Apollo astronauts. There is no indication whatsoever that the voices are not those of the actual astronauts. I find this misleading. Likewise, I also feel that since this production is essentially a documentary, the recreation of lunar activity ought to have been labeled as such, lest the unsuspecting viewer assume they’re being shown actual footage.

Lastly, a wonderful sequence of the 11 other moonwalker (in actual original 2D footage) stepping out onto the moon for the first time is included. It’s warm and wonderful, but the actual audio is 90% indecipherable. I greatly appreciated hearing the original transmissions, but I would have liked this segment to have been captioned – I really wanted to know these quotes, but was frustrated that I could not.

Overall, the production successfully maneuvers through 2D and 3D nearby-space with a playful spirit of curiosity, experiment and wonder.

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  • Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon. Copyright © 2005.
  • Narrated by Tom Hanks.
  • Directed by Mark Cowan.
  • Produced by by Mark Cowan, Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks at NASA/LockheadMartin/IMAx.

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:03:02 PDT