REVIEW: ‘Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood’ is Pure Nostalgia

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Apollo 10 1/2 - But Why Tho

is a Texas icon. A writer-director known for his experimental and auteur style, Linklater has turned his eye to rotoscoped animation again with the Netflix Original Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood. Written and directed by Linklater and stars  Zachary Levi, Jack Black, Glen Powell, Lee Eddy, Josh Wiggins, Milo Coy, and Mona Lee Fultz.

In Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood, audiences see the first moon landing in the summer of 1969 from two interwoven perspectives – the astronaut and mission control view of the triumphant moment and through the eyes of a kid growing up in Houston, Texas who has intergalactic dreams of his own. Taking inspiration from  Richard Linklater’s own life, the film is a snapshot of American life in the 1960s that is part coming of age, part societal commentary, and part out-of-this-world adventure.

We see the film through memories of childhood. One where drinking and driving were legal, teachers hit students, kids inhale who knows how many chemicals, and somehow all these moments don’t feel terrible to watch. Instead, they feel like a string of memories that sound horrible when you say them aloud but also feel extremely special to you.

They’re the things that bring you joy, but others don’t need to hear them all. In this way, there is an absolute sweetness to the film that radiates from its core. The humor, the Wonder Years-style voice-over, the little moments between characters, all of it work to make a stellar film.

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood is unique not because of its rotoscoped animation but rather because of how personal it feels. The film is a snapshot of time and life sure to resonate with those who grew up in that time period. That’s the true demographic, those who can tap into the deep-running nostalgia that the film is entirely focused on.

Narratively, Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood feels almost like a journal entry or a story told to your kids about the time you were a kid. The film doesn’t feel too structured or buttoned up. Instead, it’s about the imagination and magic that comes from memory, especially in a time when as romanticized as the Space Race.

A crisp 97 minutes, Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood is an animated film that brings the 60s to life. While it’s about the awe-inspiring nature of space and NASA, the film is a love letter to Houston, to the Johnson Space Center, and to people growing up in that time. The banal becomes wonderous. This isn’t a film about space, it’s a film about how it affected kids at the time, the families built around it, and it all becomes a wholesome lens to look back on the 1960s through.

While I’m most certainly not the film’s demographic (white middle-class 60-somethings), the caliber of animation and storytelling in Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood still makes it a fantastic watch.

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood is streaming now exclusively on Netflix.


Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood
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    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

While I’m most certainly not the film’s demographic (white middle-class 60-somethings), the caliber of animation and storytelling in Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood still makes it a fantastic watch.