The Last Man on the Moon ★★★★

This is an excellent little documentary. I read Gene Cernan's autobiography of the same name a couple of years ago, and this is a beautiful addition to that project.

There is inherent awesomeness (in the literal sense) to the Apollo Program and manned space-flight missions. The footage alone is spectacular enough to make excellent documentaries from (see "For All Mankind" and, more recently, "Apollo 11"). But "Last Man on the Moon" really benefits from having Cernan as a narrator. He is such a lovely voice. He is a gentle, wise, reflective, and humorous guide through a turbulent subject, combining all the right elements of humanity, psychology, scientific terminology, and storytelling to craft an honest, timely, and human portrait of something we all know, yet is now so distant from us.

I wish there had been a little bit more of Gene discussing his problems with current space-flight projects, and how he felt about the legacy the Apollo Missions left behind, as is hinted at toward the back half of the film. But that is a minor quibble. What is really astonishing about the film’s back half is how the crew (and Gene himself, in some respects) manages to make the post-Apollo era of his life just as exciting and compelling as the era in which he was strapping himself to rockets.

For whatever reason, manned space-flight has always been a topic that hits close to my heart. I don't think I'll ever get tired of hearing these stories, these voices, seeing this footage. It lights real wonderous awe inside of me that few things do, and makes the potential for far-out dreams coming true seem more tangible. There's a childhood obsession in me that has never let go of this. And I hope it never does.

I hope when I reach the age Gene was when this was filmed (around 80) that I am just as spirited, excited, and jubilant as he was.

Godspeed, Captain. I hope you're finally finding time to take it easy.