Go moonwalking with Tom Hanks

September 11, 2005

They were the greatest adventures ever undertaken. Between 1969 and 1972, a dozen men flew hundreds of thousands of miles across space and landed on the Moon. For the first and only time in history, people walked on another world.

But these out-of-this-world experiences are now about to be shared by cinemagoers, thanks to the astronautical obsessions of Hollywood's biggest spaceflight enthusiast, Tom Hanks.

The star has produced, written and narrated a 3D spectacular, Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D, filmed for Imax theatres, that opens in London and the United States next week.

The aim of this lavish production is simple, he says. 'It is to give the audience a never-before-seen chance to stand on the Moon right next to Neil, right next to Buzz.'

At one point, using actual footage of the moon landings, audiences 'find themselves' with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin inside the cramped cabin of Apollo 11's Eagle lander, the first lunar module to settle on the moon. On another, they are on a lunar rover vehicle as it zips past craters and rocks.The film has taken four years to make and can be traced to Hanks's starring role as astronaut Jim Lovell in Ron Howard's film, Apollo 13, which dramatised the story of the lunar mission that was wrecked by an exploding fuel tank. It was a great film, says Hanks, but it lacked a true sense of actually placing the viewer on the surface of the Moon.

'What was still lacking was the tactile experience of going to the Moon: what the actual vista looks like, how the Sea of Tranquillity goes off into infinity,' he added.

'Our aim, with this film, is to bring along anyone who wants to take that giant leap for themselves.'

By Robin McKie

Source : The Observer