"Capricorn One" DVD
One" DVD cover
So Lions Gate, for
reasons that baffle me to this very second, apparently decided
they were running out of direct to video horror titles to release
into the marketplace and instead started digging around in their
vaults. They then found Capricorn One, a development that I'm
actually glad for.
The plot is actually
fairly complex--a space capsule meant to carry three astronauts
has a major mechanical failure. True to life, this failure means
bad news for NASA, whose funding is hanging on by a thread as
it is. This failure may well mean the end of the space program.
So in a last-ditch effort to save a whole bunch of cushy government
jobs, the head of the space program stages a Mars landing set
and attempts to convince the astronauts involved to work with
him. And by "convince", of course, I mean "threaten
to kill their families". The only way the space program can
ensure that their ruse will go unnoticed is to arrange for the
deaths of the astronauts upon the space capsule's "re-entry".
The astronauts aren't terribly interested in cooperating at that
point, and stage a desperate escape attempt while an investigative
journalist pieces together the clues that something is gravely
wrong from outside the whole thing.
It may be one of the
deepest and most complex movies I've seen in a while--in fact,
it's almost TWO movies packaged together in one. You have the
astronauts on the one hand trying desperately to escape various
assassination attempts, and you have the journalist trying desperately
to figure out what's going on while dodging various assassination
attempts. By the time the two stories coincide, you've got a real
barnburner of an action flick here with just a little schmeer
of science fiction.
Remember all those
tinfoil-hat types that swore up and down the moon landing was
faked? Well, here's a fair idea of how it may have went down.
It's doubly interesting seeing the effect get staged with a Martian
surface, and is sufficient to make you wonder: with all our CURRENT
technology, what could we fake right this second if we were sufficiently
inclined to do so? I bet we could CG-up a spectacular fake Martian
landscape. Bet we could land on Pluto next month!
But my own tinfoil-hatting
aside, Capricorn One is a fun and action-packed look at government
chicanery, especially welcome in these times.
The ending, however,
is a little hackneyed and running a bit toward cheesy--I would've
liked to see more aftermath of the whole affair than I did. Still,
not terrible, and not much of an impediment to the rest of the
The special features
include English and Spanish subtitles, audio options, audio commentary
tracks, a behind the scenes featurette and a trailer for Capricorn
All in all, this blast
from the far-distant past shows us that, even back then, people
suspected the government of malfeasance enough to make a movie
about it. Kinda nice to get a bit of touchstone into the past,
especially one so downright entertaining.
Directed by Peter Hyams
Written by Peter Hyams
Starring Elliott Gould, James Brolin, O.J. Simpson, Sam Waterston
Produced by Paul N. Lazarus III
1978 / 2008
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