NASA Disavows APOLLO 18

The space agency would really, really like you to know it’s not a documentary. And that they had pretty much nothing to do with it.

Times is tough for NASA. The Space Shuttle program has been ended, there’s no political will to send Americans to Mars, and we’re stuck hitching rides with the Russians to the International Space Station. Somehow the agency that represented the future when I was a boy has turned into something staid and boring (it’s probably related to the fact that they just kept doing samey Shuttle missions for decades, to be honest). And so they’ve been turning to Hollywood to help sell the sexiness of space.

Except there’s a line even a beleaguered agency like NASA won’t cross, and that line appears to be Apollo 18. The found footage movie, which opens tomorrow without screening for critics, originally started with NASA’s marginal cooperation, but they’ve even backed away from that in the light of a marketing campaign that clumsily claims the film to be a documentary.

“Apollo 18 is not a documentary,” Bert Ulrich, NASA’s liaison for multimedia, film and television collaborations told the LA Times. “The film is a work of fiction, and we always knew that. We were minimally involved with this picture. We never even saw a rough cut. The idea of portraying the Apollo 18 mission as authentic is simply a marketing ploy. Perhaps a bit of a ‘Blair Witch Project’ strategy to generate hype.”

It isn’t the Moon conspiracy nonsense that made NASA back away - they gave full cooperation to Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which has the exact same conceit. It seems they’re just afraid it’s kind of a turd.

Find out for yourself tomorrow.