Review of “The Truth Behind the Moon Landings: Stranger Than Fiction” (2003/2019)

Moving picture, 50 minutes

Seen in 2019.

I saw the 2019 version, updated for the 50-year anniversary and mentioning the new era of fake news with a shot of a modern phone.

Apollo-program conspiracy theories.

Scientific-skeptic rebuttal. A risky proposition. The deniers (conspiracy theorists) and the skeptics (scientific authorities) get equal time and do not meet or follow up on one another’s counter-arguments. The narrator—Matt Kermode in the 2019 version—is too coy, and the title was changed from 2003’s bad “The Truth Behind the Moon Landings: Stranger Than Fiction” to 2019’s even more misleading “Moon Landings: Greatest Hoax?” Such clickbait can easily undermine the admirable effort to get people actually thinking about the landings. The director does not take the time to explain how dangerous the Van Allen belts actually are, how we know this, or how easy it is to verify the effect of the reflector left on the moon. A percentage of the audience will eventually remember only that some apparent authorities debated the issue on TV, not the substance of their arguments, and will then fall back to conspiracist narcissism.

moving picture non-fiction