The space agency wants to make it clear that the horror film about zombies on the moon is not real.
As P.T. Barnum famously said, a sucker is born every minute. Still, the conceit that a film shown in a public movie house is actually footage from some terrible event is a compelling one. The Blair Witch Project was perhaps the first film that used fake documentary-style footage to garner widespread commercial success, but there were some viewers who believed that the story portrayed was real. The marketing campaign for Apollo 18 suggests that the film is cut from recently discovered archival footage of a secret mission to the moon that has gone awry. NASA contends that the last moon mission was Apollo 17, launched in 1972, and disavows all connection to the Weinstein-produced movie.
"Apollo 18 is not a documentary," said Bert Ulrich from NASA. "The film is a work of fiction, and we always knew that. We were minimally involved with this picture. We never even saw a rough cut. The idea of portraying the Apollo 18 mission as authentic is simply a marketing ploy."
NASA has worked extensively with Hollywood in the past to lend movies an air of authenticity, but ultimately had to back away from Apollo 18 due to its intentional misleading of the public. The space agency also chose to walk away from the film 2000 The Red Planet due to its shoddy scientific premise.
"The science was just so off the wall that eventually we felt, 'You guys go ahead and make your movie.' If there's something that's going to be so misleading to the public that we don't want to participate, then we'll say no," said Ulrich. "The big thing is, we want to make sure we're not misleading the public completely."
I'm glad that NASA finds it necessary to inform people that movies are not based in reality, proving that it's important for government agencies to state the obvious. While we're at it, zombies aren't real, cigarettes will kill you and taxes suck. Can I get a government job now?
By the way, if you read this story without singing Fingertips from the They Might Be Giants album, then we can't be friends.
Source: L.A. Times