Directed by: Mark Craig
Starring: Gene Cernan, Gene Kranz, Jim Lovell
by Nick Winfrey
We all know the story of Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong’s historic first steps on the Moon — so poetically immortalized by the astronaut as “one giant leap for mankind.” But what of the other men and women of the Apollo program? Between 1968 and 1972, NASA launched nine lunar missions, successfully landing twelve men on the Moon; however, most of these incredible stories have fallen from public memory in the decades following the Space Race. One such forgotten hero is Gene Cernan, who on December 13, 1972 became the final astronaut to step foot on the lunar surface. His story is retold in the captivating new documentary from Mark Craig, “The Last Man on the Moon.”
Following Cernan from his childhood in suburban Chicago to his final ascension to space flight fame, “The Last Man on the Moon” tells the tale of an astronaut dedicated to his craft, hungry for adventure and forever in search of the unknown. Through the story of Cernan, who was first enlisted as an astronaut for NASA’s Project Gemini in the early 1960s, we are given a glimpse into the insular world of the space program, from the secretive selection process, to rigorous training regimens, to the ups and downs of family life in Cape Canaveral. Cernan’s final mission — and the final mission of Project Apollo — is appropriately told with an aura of bittersweet nostalgia. As a lunar expedition, Apollo 17 was a great success; however, Cernan and his crew were well aware that the flight marked the end of an era.
Exhibiting a natural instinct for storytelling, director Mark Craig weaves Cernan’s experiences into a compelling narrative through the use of archival footage, CGI animation and the astronaut’s own colorful commentary. Although reportedly hesitant to contribute to the film, Cernan recounts events with a lively, humorous voice that belies his 80 years of age. His lust for life is inspiring, as are his many achievements as an astronaut.
For more information on “The Last Man on the Moon,” visit the official website