Glad to have you back. This is the second part of the Top Ten list of movies I really love, that represent the unique cinematic attraction that is the Moon. The second list of five of the Top Ten will also focus on the moon as a location – a physical place of action, a real place where heroes go on crazy adventures and anything can happen… So, here we go – get ready for lift off:
Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon (2011). Director: Michael Bay
I’m not a huge fan of the “Transformers” movies (the animated series from the 1980’s was much better in my opinion…), but same as everyone else, my eyes were glued to the screen during the opening scenes of the third movie in the franchise, that showed how the historic landing on the Moon in 1969 was just a cover-up story for a secret mission (taking over the remains of a spaceship from Cybertron, of course. Like, duh!)
Note the special cameo appearance by none other than Buzz Aldrin, an astronaut from the Apollo 11 mission, who is the second man to walk on the Moon (just moments after Neil Armstrong).
Wallace and Gromit: A Grand Day Out (1989). Director: Nick Park
The clay animation artist Nick Part is responsible for several box office hits, in both film and television (“Shaun the Sheep”, “Chicken Run”), but Wallace and Gromit – a well-mannered British inventor and his loyal dog – are his masterpiece. In their very first adventure on the big screen, the duo travel to the Moon in a hand-made spaceship… The goal: to have a picnic. Because the Moon, as we all know, is an excellent source of cheese.
Picnic on the Moon:
Did you know? Starting as early as the Middle Ages, there are fables and fairy tales about the Moon being made of cheese… Even in the writings of the medieval Torah commentator, Rashi!
The Adventures of Tintin: Destination Moon / Explorers on the Moon (1991).
Still in the world of animation: Tintin is the hero of a successful series of comic books by Belgian artist Herge – I recommend his wonderful books to everyone. At some point in the 1950s he sent his heroes – Tintin, the drunken Captain Haddock and Snowy, the sensitive dog – to the Moon. Even though it’s just meant as entertainment for children, Herge researched the subject of space flight in depth before writing his books, and to this day it’s astonishing to see the accuracy of his technical details – despite the fact that in those days, we hadn’t even sent a person to space yet!
Here are some clips from the animated series “The Adventures of Tintin”:
And – Explorers on the Moon:
Both Tintin’s journey to the Moon and the film by Méliès that opened our list, drew a lot of inspiration from the novel “From the Earth to the Moon” by French author Jules Verne. It’s a must-read! There will be a test in the next article. Just kidding, don’t worry…
Apollo 13 (1995). Director: Ron Howard
Are you familiar with the phrase, “Houston, we have a problem”? Well, this is its origin: a thrilling action movie starring Tom Hanks, which tells the true story of the astronauts of that momentous flight in 1970. Spoiler alert: They didn’t make it to the Moon. There were some problems on the way.
Houston, we have a catchphrase:
A large portion of the filming was done on a special NASA airplane that is called the “Vomit Comet”. Why is it called that? Because it ascends to a very high altitude, and then dives quickly, over and over again, in order to simulate weightlessness (to cancel out gravity). You can imagine what that does to the passengers… (yuck).
La Luna (2011). Director: Enrico Casarosa
Here’s a little treat for dessert – an Oscar-winning short film (only seven minutes!) which gives us a completely different angle of this whole topic of the Moon. “La Luna” (“The Moon” in Italian) was made by animator Enrico Casarosa for Pixar studios, and received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It was shown to millions of viewers around the world right before the movie “Brave”.
Here is the full film: “La Luna”
That’s it! This has been the second list of five movies in my Top Ten Moon Movies. I hope you’ll enjoy watching them as much as I did.
And, please stay tuned – very soon I’ll be telling you about a few more things you might really want to see if you’re interested in space. Don’t forget to test your knowledge with the quiz below. Come on, Moon Kids, make me proud!
To the Moon!
Click here to go to Yonatan Gal’s first column: the first list of 5 movies featuring the moon
Five more greatest moments of the moon in the movies
In which movie is the moon made of cheese?
Which film coined the phrase "Houston, we have a problem"?
Which film featured a cameo appearance from Buzz Aldrin, the second astronaut to ever walk on the moon?
In which film were the actors in an actual environment that simulates weightlessness?
Which movie about the moon won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film?
Five more greatest moments of the moon in the movies
When he was a child, Yonatan dreamt of being an astronaut, but something went wrong along the way and he found himself serving in the army at Galei Tzahal (IDF Radio), as an editor and broadcaster of culture shows. Later he studied screenwriting at Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in Jerusalem. Nowadays, Yonatan is the “movie man” – he recommends new content in the description window of HOT VOD (cable television), he edits the news of the movie industry for the show “Shover Kupot” (“Blockbuster”) on YES cable channel for Israeli films, and he presents the movie review show on Tel Aviv Radio station 102FM. He also teaches film and media at the IDC (Interdisciplinary Center) Herzliya, and has been a staff member at the entertainment show “Erev Tov Im Guy Pines” (“Good Evening with Guy Pines”) for over a decade. There have been some rumors that he’s the voice behind the animated character “Hamevaker” (“The Critic”), but there’s been no official confirmation as of yet. Yonatan is still waiting to fulfill the promise he read in Bazooka Joe’s comic strip to go to the moon – even though it’s been a long time since he was 21. Father to Shaul and Ruth, married to Einat, lives at Givat Nili.