"Apollo 18" – possibly the worst science fiction film of the 21st century

I suppose it has come to this. We have no manned space program anymore, Muslim outreach is a NASA priority according to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, and a recent paper from a NASA postdoc suggests aliens will kill us because they can detect our global warming from light years away and think we are a threat.

After watching this video trailer for the movie, Plan 9 From Outer Space seems almost plausible now.

Plot fail – I suppose nobody in Florida noticed nor any of the thousands of NASA employees and contractors said a peep when the Saturn 5 rocket lifted off for Apollo 18. Yeah stuff like that is easy to keep under wraps. Though I haven’t seen the full movie, the trailer makes it pretty clear that I’d never want to. Originally scheduled for release in the spring, it has been delayed and now has a planned release Sept 2nd.

Hollywood, like NASA, has lost its mojo.

I feel for the crew of Apollo 17, including my friend and fellow skeptic Dr. Harrison Schmitt. This film makes a mockery of the the Apollo program and the true final mission.



newest oldest most voted
Notify of
John Carter

Good grief – chill out – it’s a movie.
It’s entertainment, not history!


“In the years following there was unconfirmed intelligence of an 18th mission”
I think the intelligence would be maybe out of a job if they and half of Florida missed the sneaky launch of a Saturn V

Anthony, I love your site here and all the commentors that come here, been reading pretty much
daily for the last 4 years or so. I have a great deal of respect for you and what you do. I am,
however, going to disagree with you here. It’s a science fiction horror movie and I’ve heard of
Hollywood coming up with much crazier premises than this. Just a flick and your entitled to your
opinion but you also haven’t even seen it and no one can make you do so.

Great. The Blair Moon Project.

Oh you spoil sport! You’re just like my daughter who sat through an entire movie complaining that it wasn’t realistic. One of my favourite moves is groundhog day … is that realistic? Oh you spoil sport! Do you ever get Deja Vu? One of my favourite moves is groundhog day … is that realistic.


Maybe this is proof that Buzz really did walk on the moon and it wasn’t a Hollywood fake.
In any case, NASA was bound to lose it’s “mojo.” It’s a government program.

The continuity department took their cue from the IPCC. Inconsistencies don’t matter. And No, “it’s just a movie” doesn’t cut it.


Lighten up, it’s just a film. I didn’t see you commenting on Pirates of the Caribbean III – which is also an unbelievable film.

Well, wasn’t it directed – if the term even applies – by Michael Bay?

Adam Gallon

Not worth getting steamed up about.
After all, they never really went to the moon, it was all a big hoax filmed in a warehouse! 😉


“Houston I think we have a problem.”

Roger Longstaff

Aw c’mon – it’s a bit of fun. I am looking forward to it.
And I, for one, believe that Apollo was the greatest single achievement of humanity.

I’ll skip this one. Thanks.

Commander Bill

Being an Apollo aficionado I look at the program as one of the high points of American achievement. Having said that I nonetheless admit that virtually all science fiction is riddled with technical errors and implausible leaps of logic and realism. Imagining that a Saturn V rocket could be launched without anyone noticing is a bit much. Nonetheless this movie seems like good fun and as about as possible as any other main stream science fiction big screen effort.

Joe Lalonde

Chick Flic???

> This entry was posted in GLOC and tagged NASA, Science fiction.
What does category GLOC mean? General Looniness or Confusion?
Inquiring minds want to know. Okay – one inquiring mind wants to know, but at least I didn’t lose my mind over the earthquake. I might lose it over Irene.
(I asked this a few days ago, apologies if I missed the answer.)

Fred G

Dude, come on. It is a cheesy horror flick, Blair Witch in space. Just a movie, it might be entertaining. Especially if it can roll in some realish science and history, other than the secret launch bit (suspension of disbelief?)


It’s not very original; there was a movie that already covered the aliens on the moon. “Moontrap” starred Walter Koenig as an American astronaut. It had Leigh Lombardi in it, which was it’s only saving grace.

Peoples taste in movies are not the same.
But I dont think you are supposed to view the film as an actual documentary.
It is a kind of horror-suspence entertainment flick, but I think most viewers understans that it is fiction and not real footage.

Paul R

The flag moved.


I was watching Apollo 13 the other day. I felt depressed after watching the launch sequence. It occurred to me that the Apollo project might very well have represented the height of the civilization of the United States. We are simply not like the serious, honest, hard working people who put man on the moon. Our culture, behavior, finances, and yes, even our scientific institutions are quickly becoming a joke.
Reading your post brought back that same feeling. We’ve traded the scientists and engineers of Apollo for silly PC inclusion programs and ridiculous bedtime stories from global warming alarmists. And our accomplishments are now fodder for Hollywood B movies involving killer moon monsters or giant robots.
And we now have to depend on Russia to even get a man into low Earth orbit! Apparently NASA’s $18 billion budget just isn’t worth it to a nation which loses more money then that any time there’s a rounding error in the budget.
America has gone from King to court jester in a little over 40 years.

Alan the Brit

Oh dear, how sad, never mind. They really have sunk beneath the waves with this little gem, me thinks! From what I saw, I am jolly pleased Jim Lovell et al refrained from highly emotional outbursts when their minor irritation occurred in the real world! As said elsewhere before, I watched Apollo 13 as it happened with millions of other 12 year olds, plus the adults. I watched the whole Apollo shooting match, had books on the Apollo programme, was a nut about it back then, this really does make a moccery of what really took place, the race, the courage, the struggles, the triumphs, the failures, the courage in the face of those failures, the engineering marvels of what man can really achieve when he puts his mind to it! Who was it amongst those giants who pioneered space travel, who said something along the lines of “imagine sitting in a steel coffin sitting on top of hundreds of tons of high expolsive, all put together by the lowest bidder!” . Honestly, I know we Brits did contribute a little more than tea & porcelin to the programme, but you Colonials must never quit going into space, it shameful in my view.

Isn’t it the point to mock the program. After all, the Anointed One thinks that space development is not all that important. Fundamentally transforming or lives into a socialist state and making nice with the most antitechnology group on the planet is much more important. Remember, only the special are allowed real educations in muslin cultures. Education in the hands of the non-indoctrinated people or women is discouraged. Once indoctrinated, all is good.

J Storrs Hall

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

Pull My Finger

The down side is that I feel like I just saw the whole movie in under 3 minutes. Blair Witch meets Alien meets Forrest Gump.
Too bad, love good SciFi, but bad SciFi is usually really bad. Had high hopes for this one, disregarding the whole no one noticing a Saturn rocket launch bit.
On the bright side, Netflix has all the Star Trek series available for streaming as of July. Been watching Next Generation season 1, at least the episodes that are not Diana Troy centric. Really, how worthless of a charachter is she? “I sense the Pherengie are deceptive!” “I sense a presence, but no more than that”. Well great Troy, why don’t you make yourself useful and go wait tables in 10 Forward.

What is behind this, of course, is the long popularity of movies that evoke the helpless feeling in nightmares (I too have only seen a few seconds of this movie in commercials). I had nightmares growing up (and “Plan Nine From Outer Space” was, for me, not the schlockiest but the scariest movie of all, as a kid), and I deliberately set out to kill any monsters I encountered in them. I found that they literally disintegrated, or changed into helpless mewling embryos themselves, when determinedly attacked. So I have been immune to “nightmare” movies ever since, and I look down upon those who relish them (sorry, but my personal experience makes such fans seem only pathetic in their failure to confront their inner demons). I would not even bring all this up, except that I think the people of the world (especially the Old World, or those encumbered by the sense of long-past injustices) need especially to defeat their own inner demons now, not project them upon other people in the real world. If you are troubled by nightmares, I will tell you how to stop them: With anger, not fear. Hit them as hard as you can (even if they are a thousand feet high and made out of solid rock, or hardest steel); they will disintegrate before your determined blows. Then, be open to new-found confidence, and respect from others, in the real world, and really live your life.

Coach Springer

They had to do something with all that left over equipment from Hanks’ Earth to the Moon. Oooh! I know, Andromeda Strain meets Zombieland.
Holding “18” to the lowest B-movie standard possible, it makes more entertainment sense than Hansen makes scientific sense.

Ex-Wx Forecaster

Yeah. It looks pretty awful.

Ex-Wx Forecaster

On the other hand, I just saw “A Sound of Thunder”, loosely (and I do mean loosely) based on a classic short story by Ray Bradbury. Apollo 18 would have to work very hard to be worse than that steaming pile of…


I wasn’t aware of this film, however James Michener’s epic novel Space centres around a fictional Apollo 18 mission and was a great read.

The reason for the film is obvious. Hollywood has no imagination, they’ve run out of ideas. That’s why they keep doing remakes.

Let’s be clear on the alien paper.

So here’s the thing. This isn’t a ‘NASA report.” It’s not work funded by NASA, nor is it work supported by NASA in other ways. It was just a fun paper written by a few friends, one of whom happens to have a NASA affiliation. […]
Is such a scenario likely? I don’t think so. But it’s one of a myriad of possible (albeit unlikely) scenarios, and the point of the paper was to review them.

I don’t know about worst of this century, I’ve seen Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, a movie partially filmed in my very own city of Port Coquitlam, B.C.
What Hollywood needs to do is create more movies about cllimate change, that will bring in the crowds. 😉


I don’t see what the big deal is…it’s just a movie and the documentary style for fictional movies is certainly not a new concept. I don’t think they are ‘mocking’ the crew of Apollo 17 — I think they were just making what they thought was a cool “what-if” movie.


Let’s quit calling it science fiction … it’s just fiction.

stephen richards

John Carter says:
August 24, 2011 at 3:14 am
Good grief – chill out – it’s a movie.
It’s entertainment, not history!
You are missing the point of hollywood. It is there as a platform for the socio-communists such as Moore to indoctrinate and educate the masses in their/his beliefs. This s not just a movie. Try to find out who paid for most of it. That maybe more telling.

Pull My Finger

“Moon”, a little 2009 film starring Sam Rockwell was excellent if you’re looking for a good SciFi flick you probably haven’t seen.
Unfortuately, as cool as manned space flight is, it is not how man is ever going to explore the galaxy. Physics just won’t allow it. We could get to Mars, which would be cool, but there is nowhere else in the solar system where we could explore barring a massive leap in technology. Man couldn’t survive a few minutes on Venus, couldn’t even land on the gas giants. The amount of knowledge we have gained from Hubble, Swift, Chandra, etc absolutely dwarfs the information we gained from landing on the moon.
However an observatory on the moon, that would be both useful and ambitious, and likely within our grasp.

Richard S Courtney

Shaun Dunne:
At August 24, 2011 at 5:32 am you say;
“Let’s be clear on the alien paper.

So here’s the thing. This isn’t a ‘NASA report.” It’s not work funded by NASA, nor is it work supported by NASA in other ways. It was just a fun paper written by a few friends, one of whom happens to have a NASA affiliation. […]”
Yes, let us be clear. IT IS A NASA PAPER. Only NASA can repudiate a paper published in NASA’s name by a NASA employee. NASA has not done that.

Roger Longstaff

Figured it out – NASA secretly developed a “stealth” Saturn V.


I dunno, I can think of some really bad SciFi films.


I don’t know, hard to tell how bad or good it is from that trailer. I don’t understand such a harsh reaction from only a trailer… And remember, it has to be really, really awful to beat An Inconvenient Truth 😉


. . ..if you wonder how he eats and breathes, and other science facts, repeat to yourself ‘Its, just a show, I really should relax!'”

Tom in Florida

The sad thing is that a large gaggle of people will actually believe this to be a documentary.
Having been to the launch of both Apollo 12 and 13, there is NO way a Saturn V could be launched without notice. Seismographs as far away as Jacksonville Fl were set off during these launches.

Pull My Finger

Score! Lots of MST3Ks on Netflix too!

. . ..if you wonder how he eats and breathes, and other science facts, repeat to yourself ‘Its, just a show, I really should relax!’”

Some of us need to release anger from time to time by having a go at things. Today Anthony had a go at a B movie. Good luck to him, it’s better than kicking the cat.


I don’t think Anthony is part of their demographic. Old guys like us go to a movie, what, .5 times a year?

Captain Profit

If you’re going to do a movie about a hidden moon menace, do it right:


Very rare to not be disappointed by Hollywood’s stab at “sciency fiction”. This one will join a long list of discredits: The Core, Volcano, The Day After Tomorrow, Deep Blue Sea…
On the other hand, waiting till you can rent them and holding your own living room version of MST3k can be fun, too.

Doug in Seattle

Have to agree on the plot fail regarding who would miss a Saturn V lift off. My wife and were discussing just this problem yesterday after watching the trailer. Even if they lifted from Vandenberg instead of the Cape, someone would have noticed it. That rocket cannot be mistaken for a sat launch vehicle.
I doubt however that this movie can possibly be as bad as Plan 9 from Outer Space. That movie is just plain horrid and in a special class all by itself.


“Tom in Florida says:
August 24, 2011 at 6:11 am
The sad thing is that a large gaggle of people will actually believe this to be a documentary.”
Exactly right Tom. That is what I fear too.
Apocalypse Now was seen as representative of river boat duty in VN. Having been there and done that I was annoyed my GFs daughter thought it was accurate.