Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood, an animated coming-of-age sci-fi film, is now out on Netflix. Directed and written by Richard Linklater, the film stars Milo Coy as young Stanley, Jack Black as adult Stanley, Glen Powell and Zachary Levi as Bostick and Kranz (NASA Officials). It also features Josh Wiggins, Lee Eddy, Bill Wise, Natalie L’Amoreaux and many others. The film was shot in live-action and was animated during post-production using the rotoscoping technique.
The synopsis reads, “A man narrates stories of his life as a 10-year-old boy in 1969 Houston, weaving tales of nostalgia with a fantastical account of a journey to the moon.”
Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood Review Contains Mild Spoilers
In the Netflix film Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood, adult Stanley narrates his story as a young Stan growing up in the 1960s in Houston, Texas. During the 1960s, people were obsessed with everything related to space, especially those in Houston who lived close by to NASA base. After all, it was the time when NASA worked on its Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
Two NASA Officials contact young Stan as they are impressed with his projects in school. These officials want Stan to be a part of their mission to the moon as they failed to achieve something. However, Stan’s involvement will be a secret from his family, friends and anyone he knows. By using the lie of summer camp, these officials hire Stan unofficially to complete their Apollo 11 mission.
Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood Review – Discussion
Using the story of Stanley, writer-director Richard Linklater had presented us with a story of what was the life of kids during the times when space was just getting explored. It was also the era of various historical events after the World War when the world was re-adjusting to the new life. Through Stan’s life, we see how the kids would play together in the neighbourhood and how the punishments for kids in school and at home were harsh.
The film also highlights the change in the political atmosphere of the 60s; the kind of TV shows kids would watch, the transition from black and white TV to coloured ones, and the phone call pranks because no one could trace the caller IDs and much more. But one thing the narrator of Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood often kept stressing was how everyone was obsessed with anything related to NASA’s Apollo program.
The story appears interesting from the start itself when we meet young Stan. But what also fascinates you is the animation. It was a smart idea of shooting the film in live-action and add the animation effect of rotoscoping in post-production. From the characters’ expressions, body language to lip movements, everything appears sharp and perfect. As the film is set in the 60s, the music is used from the same era. The peppy and feel-good songs from the 60s add a refreshing touch to the story.
Milo Coy has done an incredible job as Stanley. Jack Black’s narration builds curiosity to know what’s next. He also adds humour, excitement and emotions when he talks about how life was for kids in the 60s.
Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood Review: Final Thoughts
Overall, Richard Linklater’s film is an impressive watch. The great animation and storytelling will take you over the moon. It was amazing to see the simpler days of the 60s being shown on screen in an animated format. We also find out what the Apollo missions meant to everyone in Houston during that time.
The film is now streaming on Netflix.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.