Australian Council on Children and the Media

In the Shadow of the Moon

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8 due to lack of interest and scenes of violence and accidental harm.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for In the Shadow of the Moon
  • a review of In the Shadow of the Moon completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 6 March 2008.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended - may lack interest for this age group and contains images of violence and accidental harm.
Children over the age of 8 OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: In the Shadow of the Moon
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 96 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The documentary, In the Shadow of the Moon focuses exclusively on the men and achievements of the Apollo space missions between 1968 and 1972 in which nine Apollo space craft visited the moon and twelve men walked upon its surface. The film’s story is told via the personal stories and reminiscences of the remaining Apollo astronauts including Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Eugene Cernan, Michael Collins, Jim Lovell, Edgar D Mitchell, Harrison Schmitt, Dave Scott, and John Young. The documentary opens by discussing the space race between the Americans and the Russians, and how in the early stages of the Apollo program failure was more common than success, with rockets blowing up on the launch pad almost a daily occurrence. The film depicts how the various engineers and astronauts designed developed and constructed the Apollo technology and training program.

The Apollo astronauts talk about their roles as test pilots and explorers, and how the higher and faster and more dangerous the experience was the more exciting it became. The astronauts talk about the guilt they suffer in relation to the Apollo 1 disaster, in which fire killed the three-man crew of the Apollo One space capsule. They reflect about the Vietnam War, and the guilt they felt when friends were shot down while they remained safe. They discuss their fears and concerns, their devotion to the program and their perseverance. The near disastrous mission of Apollo Thirteen is discussed and depicted. And the Apollo astronauts talk about what they gained and learnt from their experiences, how the Apollo missions changed their perspective of life, humanity and the universe.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Risk taking; Death; War; Life-changing experiences

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

In the Shadow of the Moon contains some briefly displayed archival footage of violence, talk about violence, and accidental harm including:

  • Early rocket attempts exploding in flames either on the launch pad or in flight.
  • American warplanes dropping bombs and bombing Vietnam fields and countryside with the fields exploding in balls of flames.
  • A brief image of a man holding his finger to his head as if shooting himself in the head. 
  • The coffins of President Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King are seen being carried and we hear about the assassinations.     
  • We hear about the Apollo One disaster, and how the three men were burnt alive due to bad wiring (the burnt-out remains of the Apollo 1 capsule are shown).
  • There are images of Neil Armstrong ejecting from a flying machine used to simulate lunar landings and parachuting to the ground seconds before the flying machine exploded into flames.
  • We hear the astronauts talk about their fears and concern, and the real life dangers they face. One astronaut talks about how, “If something happened to that motor, they were dead men.”  
  • We see brief images of soldiers holding and pointing rifles, and images of baton wielding riot police clashing with the American public.
  • We hear astronauts talking about the Vietnam War and friends being shot down over Vietnam and their associated feelings of guilt.        
  • We hear about an explosion and the loss of oxygen reserves aboard Apollo Thirteen  (we see the actual images of oxygen being vented) and how this jeopardised lives of the astronauts aboard Apollo Thirteen.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Some of the above mentioned scenes may disturb children in this age group.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Some children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the content described above.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Some children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the content described above.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

There is some brief use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Brief images of people handing out and smoking cigars.
  • One astronaut talks about giving up smoking his pipe and drinking alcohol.
  • One astronaut mentions going out and getting roaring drunk.

 

Coarse language

In the Shadow of the Moon contains infrequent low level coarse language including:

  • Thank God, sucker
  • what a hell of a ride
  • God only knows
  • you dumb arse

 

In a nutshell

In the Shadow of the Moon is a documentary that tells the story of the Apollo space missions (1968-1972). The story is told through interviews with the actual Apollo astronauts and digitally remastered archival film. The documentary reminds older viewer and informs the younger viewers just how awe inspiring and life changing the achievement and experiences of the Apollo missions were.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Humanity is not a single unconnected entity, but part of a dynamic interconnected universe. That there is a feeling of connection or oneness with the universe, and that there is something out there that is much larger than us.
  • That we need to cherish and protect our environment.
  • That when people put their minds to a task we can accomplish things that seem impossible. 

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Perseverance through adversity
  • Courage and a spirit of exploration.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The achievements and successes of the Apollo missions were viewed as an achievement by the whole of humanity rather than just America. Could this attitude assist humanity to overcome the effects of global warming?
  • The Apollo missions were life changing. What was it about the experience that caused the astronauts to gain a greater perspective of life, Earth and the Universe?

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