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The K-Files



::A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon::
Review: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon (2001)
Directed by Bart Sibrel
Runtime 47 minutes

The Movie

Of all the conspiracy theories to subscribe to, few will destroy your reputation and credibility faster than the moon landing hoax. Even heavily criticized esoteric theorists like Richard C. Hoagland--despite having made a career of trying to expose NASA conspiracy--refuse to believe that we faked the Moon landing. But not so for documentary filmmaker Bart Sibrel. Sibrel laid it all on the line in his first of two films, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon. Although I admit that I am by no means an expert when it comes to this subject, and thus may not have been able to spot inaccuracies in Sibrel's data as other, more qualified, viewers have, I must say that after viewing this film, my mind is now more open to the prospect of the Moon landing hoax theory.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon (or 'A Funny Thing...' for the purposes of this review) opens quite irregularly. With the reciting of a few Bible verses and a mini history lesson about the Tower of Babel dominating much of the prologue, I had to double check that I was indeed watching the intended movie. But sure enough, Sibrel was trying to make some kind of connection between man's ambition--and God's subsequent irony in keeping it in place--and the moon landing. I can see what he was trying to do, but in practice I think it was ultimately the wrong choice to make. Right off the bat, he succeeded in muddying the waters by grouping both politics and religion to what should have been a straightforward, factual investigation. Not a good start, at all.

Though what followed was probably the high point of the documentary for me. Having little to do with anything, there's about a five minute montage of failed rocket launches and massive explosions set to some jazzy song that was far too reminiscent of the ending to Dr. Strangelove. But really, nothing says 'fun' like a gag-reel of failure and igniting rocket fuel. The movie then goes on to document the volatile state of the Cold War arms race and how America was slipping fast when it came to space travel. By first creating a foundation of motive for the US to perpetrate "the greatest government conspiracy of all time," Sibrel does at least a good job at explaining perhaps why we would hoax such a monumental event.

The first (and probably one of the most convincing) bit of evidence covered is the complications to NASA's official story caused by Van Allen belt radiation. The astronaut's shuttle, Sibrel argues, was nowhere near shielded enough to protect them from the dangerous radiation bombarding them on the way to the Moon. He goes on to say that the amount of lead required would have been impractically heavy. I don't know just how dangerous these Van Allen belts are to space travelers and, unfortunately (coincidentally?), Sibrel really doesn't delve too deeply into the science of it, but on the surface, it seems like a valid point.

Over the next 15 to 20 minutes, A Funny Thing... goes on to cover everything from photographic inconsistencies to the guilt faced by astronauts such as Neil Armstrong; who, as Sibrel points out, has never agreed to do a one-on-one interview regarding his first historic steps. The Armstrong bits were none that interesting, but the photographic stuff was pretty intriguing. I've heard most of this covered in other mediums in the past, but it was particularly powerful to see the actual pictures as the various errors and inconsistencies were narrated. The most convincing of this photographic proof for me was the analysis of the shadows cast on the lunar surface. If, as the official NASA report claims, the astronauts brought no artificial lighting units with them, then why is it that several shadows can be seen perpendicular to each other? Moreover, despite some photos showing that the shadowed regions of large rock formations are pitch black, how is it that detail could still be made out on images capturing the side of the lunar-lander facing away from the Sun? Then of course the mysteries of the superimposed cross-hair being shown behind objects and the US flag supposedly blowing in a non-existent wind were covered to good effect. All in all, I'd say that it was a pretty successful body of evidence leading to the possibility that, at the very least, images and video of the mission were altered by NASA.

To bring A Funny Thing... to a close, Sibrel tries to present the smoking gun of the Moon landing hoax. He shows a series of videos that, if taken at face value, show the astronauts essentially deceiving the Houston technicians and faking the shots of the Earth to make it appear that they were further away from it than they really were. It's unfortunate that Sibrel didn't just let the footage play, however, as the frequent cuts and imposed narration during this segment leads me to think he wasn't presenting the whole story. But suspicions aside, it was definitely a 'holy crap!' moment for me. Likewise, a video shown that contains what sounds like a mysterious voice transmitting instructions to the crew on how to deceive Houston was troubling. If true, this pretty much blows the lid off the whole thing. It's just too bad this relatively short documentary doesn't focus more on this subject.


Bart Sibrel is what you would call an amateur filmmaker. Fittingly, A Funny Thing... shares a markedly amateur feel to it. Although the DVD cover itself is sufficiently eye-catching, the main menu once you get the movie going is definitely barebones. Moreover, except for a well-done animation showing the location of the Van Allen belts, A Funny Thing...'s effects and title work are nothing to write home about.

Comprised entirely of stock video footage and still images, there's really not much to be said regarding video quality. The vast majority of the video clips are of the Moon landing itself or from news coverage at the time so, suffice it to say, are pretty low quality. But where it counts, i.e. when analyzing shadows on still images, clarity is at an acceptable level. As far as audio quality is concerned, the crisp narration track provided by Anne Tonelson is great. Her British accent, if nothing else, adds some subliminal credibility to the movie as a whole. The understated, mainly instrumental soundtrack is also quite fitting.

Though as far as DVDs go, A Funny Thing... is pretty much as lacking as possible when it comes to special features. Frankly speaking, there are none. The scene selection is a welcome addition (though not entirely necessary for a film less than 60 minutes long), but the only other option on the main menu besides 'Play' is a useless link to Sibrel's website.


Final Thoughts

Although creator Bart Sibrel takes the risk of coming out as a Moon hoax theory supporter--and provides more than a few eye-brow raising pieces of evidence in the process--I found it disappointing that he didn't actually appear (in voice nor image) at all in his movie. Likewise, I found the closing comments that the Apollo astronauts will come clean before they die to be in bad taste. It seemed to me that an anti-astronaut undertone permeated much of the movie.

But director baggage aside, the facts do speak for themselves. For uninformed viewers like myself, A Funny Thing... will certainly be an eye-opening experience. And although I'm not totally convinced, I do indeed have a new outlook when it comes to the Moon hoax theory, as well as its key proponents. Maybe this stuff isn't as crazy as everyone wants me to believe...?


Information: 7
Editing: 8
Audio/Video: 7
Special Features: 1

Overall (not an average): 7.5

~Khyron, 2007

:: Final Cut ::

Well, that's all for this week. I trust you enjoyed your trip into this shadowy nether-realm known only as the K-Files.

For the latest updates on the world of Khyron, bookmark http://www.khyron.net/. With content updated regularly, you're sure to find your fix for all things entertaining and paranormal. As always, feel free to send any questions/comments/suggestions to KFiles@khyron.net.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next  K-Files, arriving sometime next week. Later.

~Khyron, 2007.


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