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Siskoid's avatar


I'm afraid that for me, Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood is a rare crash and burn for Richard Linklater. The premise could have been adventuresome and amusing - a boy of 10 is asked to go on a secret Apollo mission because the first lunar module was accidentally built too small - but as soon as it's set up, we get a full 45 minutes of over-narrated (making full use of Jack Black) nostalgia about being a kid in Houston in 1968-69. Linklater (if these are his memories, they might be composites) name checks every TV show and movie he saw, every game he played, everything in his diary, until you're stamping your feet, impatiently waiting for him to return to the story. The second half intercuts between Apollo 10½ and Apollo 11, by which point you realize the boy is really seeing himself as one of the astronauts, imagination as memory, but that's an idea that could have been done as a short. My particular interest in the Apollo missions means I didn't learn anything new either. We're left with an animation style I like - Linklater helped develop this process of drawing on video frames in Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly; these images are much less gooey - capturing well the actors' expressions. The family has a lot of fun characters. But ultimately, for long stretches, it just feels like an itemized list of childhood memories. I guess it's right there in the title, but what a waste of a neat premise.
1 year 2 months ago
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