APOLLO 10 1/2: A SPACEAGE CHILDHOOD
(director/writer: Richard Linklater; cinematographer: Shane F. Kelly; editor: Sandra Adair; music:Randall Poster; head of animation: Tommy Pallotta; cast: voices of – Milo Coy (Stan), Jack Black (grownup Stan), Glen Powell (Bostick), Zachary Levi (Kranz), Josh Wiggins (Steve), Lee Eddy (Mom), Bill Wise (Dad), Natalie L’Amoreaux (Vicky), Jessica Brynn Cohen (Jana), Sam Chipman (Greg), Danielle Guilbot (Stephanie); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers; Richard Linklater, Mike Blizzard, Tommy Pallotta, Femke Wolting, Bruno Felix: Netflix; 2022)
“An engaging and nostalgic animated Sci-Fi film on the tall tale that a 10-year-old schoolboy has about his trip to the moon.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The esteemed filmmaker, born in 1961, in Austin, Texas, Richard Linklater (“Before Sunrise”/”Boyhood”), presents an engaging and nostalgic animated Sci-Fi film on the tall tale that a 10-year-old schoolboy has about his trip to the moon. It’s an imaginative coming-of-age yarn that’s richly semi-autobiographical.
The film is narrated by Stan (Jack Black) when a grown-up and can review with maturity the childhood fantasy he experienced, as he guides us through the time of the Apollo Moon Landing.
Stan (Milo Coy, the young Stan) attends a Houston area school in the sixties and is in the 4th grade. He dwells in a family of six other brothers and sisters. His father (Bill Wise) works for NASA in Houston. Things build up in the area towards the Apollo Moon Landing in 1969. At school, Stan is told by NASA officials (Glenn Powell and Zachary Levi) that they have discovered that the dimensions for the Apollo Moon Lander capsule have been built too small and so they need a kid to fly a test Moon shot and have chosen him. Stan is put through NASA training and after trained will launch on a secret Moon mission.
The truth is Linklater only has two sisters rather than six, his father did not work for NASA and this tale is only a child’s fantasy.
The animation as done by animator Tommy Pallotta, called rotoscope animation, is wonderfully realistic with vivid characters that come to life in lucid shadings that are better than any animation I’ve ever seen.
The exceptional film, a tribute to Linklater’s unique voice, just delights in telling its fantasies as is. It lets the viewer take it in that way without trying to get political, or send any social messages, or embellish it with sentimentality. It instead wants you to be childlike again to see how much hope this space exploration gave the world at the time and what it might mean to you when viewed today. It offers us this colorful portrayal of those exciting times through the eyes of a child, something that’s quite enjoyable.
REVIEWED ON 5/9/2022 GRADE: A-