A while back, somebody–probably Scalzi, this seems like his sort of thing–published a list of science fiction movies that shouldn’t be missed by any fan of the genre. As I recall it included really good ones and really bad ones, and a significant percentage were older than I am. I can’t track the post down right now, but really it’s not that important; I’m just telling you this so you understand why I opted to watch Destination Moon.
It actually came from Netflix almost two months ago, and it languished on top of my television as so many classic movies do, but I was up early this morning for no particular reason and decided to check it out. I was barely even awake until I saw “Robert A. Heinlein” in the credits. Turns out he was involved in the screenplay and the technical details. There’s some argument in the various Internet sources over whether his novel (novella?) of the same name came first or immediately after, but the agreement is that it was always intended to be made into a movie.
First, let me say that this is a great movie. The visual effects were remarkable for 1950, and aside from some very choppy stop-motion animation on the spacewalk, it’s all very smooth. Considering the tech they had to work with–and the fact that (according to my admittedly limited knowledge of relevant history) they were just guessing on what it should look like anyway–the low- and zero-gravity scenes are incredibly well done.
What’s really interesting is the view of Earth. We have this understanding of what the planet looks like now. The iconic image of blue and green, hanging over the mountains of Luna–this is what the Earth looks like in our mind. They don’t have that in this movie. Because they didn’t have it then. But they came damn close, and that’s remarkable.
I don’t have a lot else to say about it–truth is, I’m still waking up–but I’d recommend it for anyone interested in science fiction, space travel, or–since I imagine there’s a lot of crossover there–both.