Parents' Guide to

First to the Moon

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Informative docu on Apollo 8 is too slow for younger kids.

Movie NR 2018 121 minutes
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This documentary is a worthwhile supplement to The Right Stuff and For All Mankind, even if it lacks the narrative drive of the former and the Brian Eno soundtrack of the latter. Through contemporary interviews, archival footage, and animation, First to the Moon takes a look at the Apollo 8 mission, the first manned orbit of the moon, and the first exploration of space beyond Earth's orbit. It presents Apollo 8 against the backdrop of the Cold War political realities of the time that drove the space race, and the divisiveness and unrest of American society in 1968. It discusses the hope and perspective that the mission gave the world at the time, via both the mission's success and the iconic "Earthrise" photograph, taken by astronaut Bill Anders.

While the story is inherently interesting and deserving of documentation, the movie might seem a bit slow for younger viewers, or for those less interested in rocket science. There's also a constant "rousing" soundtrack that wears thin after the first 30 minutes. However, the documentary serves as a reminder of what is the best in the human spirit, and also that America's desire to be the first country to get to the moon in the 1960s is as much rooted in beating the Commies as it was in more noble reasons.

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