I'll be entirely honest straight away and open with the blunt opinion/statement that "Capricorn One" isn't a very good movie. The script is often poorly written, with abysmal dialogues and unclear sub plots being the most noticeable painful shortcomings. There are also too many overlong and tedious sequences, underdeveloped characters and a downright ridicule climactic battle-sequence featuring an antique and ramshackle crop duster versus two hi-tech governmental helicopters! But guess what? All this doesn't really matter because "Capricorn One" also has one of THE most shockingly brilliant and uncomfortably disturbing premises of all times! I'll leave in the middle what came first: writer/director Peter Hyams' ideas for this film or the existing conspiracy theories around the 1969 Apollo moon landing. It's probably the latter, but fact remains that Hyams was the courageous man who turned the hypothesis into a big Hollywood story AND even managed to engage NASA as a sponsor and technical adviser for a tale that basically banters them.
I tell you, the premise is truly amazing! The moment is finally there after years of preparation and hard work. A not-so-large crowd has gathered to witness the launch of the very first manned US space mission to Mars, but literally seconds before lift-off, the three "hero"-astronauts are instructed to leave their capsule and subsequently get escorted to a secretive desert location. First they receive a long and depressing speech from NASA director James Kelloway, about how the American public - including the President - isn't interested in expensive space programs anymore and how potential failures aren't tolerated. The three astronauts (Brubaker, Willis and Walker) silently listen to their superior and immediately understand what is expected from them. They are forced to comply with the simulation of the whole prestigious mission. For months and months, they stay at the hangar where the Martian landscapes and a replica of their rocket Capricorn One have been recreated to fool the TV- networks and their wives. However, pretending to be circling around in outer space is easy, but what'll happen when the mission is about to come to an end? Meanwhile, a freelance journalist (Elliot Gould) becomes suspicious after a tip from an inside NASA collaborator.
"Capricorn One" is utmost powerful and compelling for as long as it remains a tense (and talkative) conspiracy thriller. Peter Hyams exploits the surreal but simultaneously plausible premise, but his film runs into trouble as soon as story-complexities arise or when the obligatory action/thriller footage has to be delivered. The second half of the film is quite boring, even though that is clearly supposed to be the exciting half, and the whole climax is a weak & desperate attempt to enforce a "happy/truth-will-come-out" ending.
Or perhaps the ending of "Capricorn One" is dumb and goofy because NASA only wants us to believe that such a large-scaled conspiracy is impossible and unrealistic! After all, yours truly isn't 100% convinced that the landing on the moon ever take place. Ha :-)
Action / Sci-Fi / Thriller
Action / Sci-Fi / Thriller
Charles Brubaker is the astronaut leading NASA's first manned mission to Mars. Seconds before the launch, the entire team is pulled from the capsule and the rocket leaves earth unmanned much to Brubaker's anger. The head of the programme explains that the life support system was faulty and that NASA can't afford the publicity of a scratched mission. The plan is to fake the Mars landing and keep the astronauts at a remote base until the mission is over, but then investigative journalist Robert Caulfield starts to suspect something.
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February 18, 2016 at 02:48 AM