Now it's time for a review of the '70s feature, Capricorn One. It's getting a new blu-ray release tomorrow.
|"Look!!! It's the Aluminum Falcon!!|
I just love modern science!"
A favorite conspiracy in the American cultural zeitgeist – both among conspiracy theorists who actually believe it, and sane people who joke about it – is the idea that we never really made it to the moon, and the lunar landing was a hoax. Even Interstellar made a joke about moon-landing conspiracy theories, when its post-ecological-disaster government convinces the public to look to the earth rather than the stars by spreading false propaganda that the hoax theory was actually true. With the prevalence and semi-ironic popularity of the fake-moon-landing concept, it was only a matter of time before a filmmaker made a movie about it. And fortunately for all of us, that filmmaker wound up being cheese maestro Peter Hyams (Timecop, The Relic, Outland). Of course, Hyams' Capricorn One is actually about a near-future NASA faking a Mars landing... but it's no secret that the film just takes the moon-landing conspiracy theories and runs with them like crazy. The result is archetypal of that 70s-thriller sub-genre: short on believability, but packing plenty of thrills, suspenseful set-pieces, and camp appeal. And as usual for that type of film, it has one hell of a cast: Ellott Gould, James Brolin, Sam Waterston, Karen Black, Hal Holbrook, Brenda Vaccaro, Telly Savalas, James Karen... and in a bit of casting that history has made rather unfortunate... O.J. Simpson. Depending on your point of view, the presence of O.J. in the movie either makes the whole experience a bit uncomfortable, adds to the movie's camp appeal, or a bit of both, but either way it surely lends the film a bit of notoriety that is oddly appropriate for its bizarre conspiracy-theory theme.
With a running time of over two hours (again, in keeping with its post-Poseidon Adventure genre roots), the plot takes twists and turns which only add to the silliness of the already out-there plot, but writer/director Hyams takes that all in stride, and makes it part of the fun. The script is quite knowing about its over-the-top conspiracy-bait nature, and has just enough of a sense of humor about itself to make it all work, perhaps better than it should. And Hyams' direction just sells it even further: the thrills are strong enough that we have no problem going along for the ride and having a great time, even if we know in the backs of our minds that everything we're seeing is pretty silly. Actually, we go along for the ride and have a great time because we know in the backs of our minds that it's pretty silly: this is summer popcorn cinema of the purest kind, and Hyams knows exactly what he's doing in that area. This is, after all, the same guy who made Timecop such a fun and entertaining popcorn flick despite having possibly the most distractingly nonsensical time-travel logic of any sci-fi story ever. He has plenty of help from his strong cast as well: Gould, Brolin, and Holbrook in particular carry the film with strong performances. This is no Poseidon Adventure, mind you: the film definitely has its flaws, like a few pointless and meandering sequences that should have been trimmed to tighten up the running time. Nonetheless, it's a solidly entertaining entry in this unmistakable sub-genre which deserves to be better-known than it is. Anyone who enjoys this type of film will find a lot to like.
|"Maybe if I hide in this run down|
garage, OJ won't be able to find
me. But, this golf club will still protect me."