No documentary has ever won the Oscar for Best Picture. In fact, no documentary has ever been made. nominated If ever there was a chance to change that statistic, at least in terms of a nomination could be the remarkable, emotional and uplifting good night oppy that transcends genre to become a richly rewarding cinematic experience, a kind of cross between e-wall Y The Martian. this all really happened, but it’s quite unusual because it really makes you feel good, and it’s all been given new life in a compelling new movie that in a moment of division and negativity will remind you of the best of us. .
Debuting tonight at the Telluride Film Festival, this Amazon Studios and Amblin Entertainment production is the story of a fantastic journey, that of two rovers sent to Mars on what was expected to be a 90-day mission, because that is the usual lifespan for these rovers, but it turned into a 15-year adventure, mostly due to the dogged determination and sheer will of a true survivor named Opportunity, a robot that performed wonders far beyond its expiration date and forged an unforgettable relationship with the humans who built it. For several years, he took her and her companion Spirit into space on a six-month trip to the Red Planet, and in return, created a bond that has to be seen to be believed.
of course I was seen, not only by the scientists and engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the mission’s base of operations, but by many who followed the mission for a long time since January 2004 and lasted 14 and a half years, improbable, magical, mind-boggling and seductive.
Using cabinets full of archive footage provided by NASA that had been kept intact, plus state-of-the-art real photo special effects and animated recreations of live action on Mars thanks to the wizards at Industrial Light & Magic, along with some convincing humans . Interviews with people close to the project, director Ryan White and his film crew have crafted a love letter to space exploration, but also a heartwarming family film with true emotional undertones that won’t leave a dry eye in the house when it’s over. .
The mission idea was for these rovers, Opportunity and Spirit, to land on the surface of Mars and collect geological and atmospheric samples to transmit back to Earth to the eager team, numbering in the thousands over time, who created for this purpose. What no one imagined was the connection that was also created, from musical wake-up calls sent from JPL every morning to following every move, sometimes dangerously, as the rovers go about their business. Even before they set out on the adventure, it became clear that Opportunity, or Oppy as she was known, a Wall-E lookalike, was the smartest girl in the class, while Spirit was the troublemaker. That dynamic would play out once they reached Mars, and Spirit’s charm would eventually wear off, but not for an unprecedented six years. That was nothing compared to Oppy’s endurance in all kinds of weather and unforeseen situations as she continued without her partner.
White, whose previous papers include Ask Dr. Ruth, He also managed to sift through the endless boxes of stock footage taken over the years to identify key players who could help tell the story. We are with them over time as they explain everything in very human terms, which is what makes this film so compelling. Chief among them is Principal Investigator Steve Squyres, now gray-haired but no less enthusiastic as he lives to tell the story, and Project Systems Engineer and Mission Manager Jennifer Trosper, among the literally generations of scientists involved during the period of 15 years. One of them, Abigail Fraeman, was a high school student at the start of the mission and is now a lead scientist at NASA, and the list goes on. The script (by White and Helen Kearns) is designed to introduce us to the humans who were an integral part of the success, their ups and downs over the years, the changing of the guard but never the end goal, all for Oppy’s sake. .
A special thanks not only to the visual effects team at ILM, but also to the editors, Kearns and Rejh Cabrera, who did a herculean job of making this into a cohesive whole over the course of 105 minutes. There’s also a good score by Blake Neely aided by a great soundtrack of those “waking up” songs. Expert sound design is by Mark Mangini, with Angela Bassett providing understated narration. Producers are Jessica Hargrave, Brandon Carroll, Matthew Goldberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank and White. Amazon is giving it a theatrical run in November, which is good because it really should be seen on IMAX screens or the biggest they can find, and then it will start streaming later in the month. It’s a space odyssey worth tackling.