Article

CAPRICORN ONE


STARRING: Elliot Gould, James Brolin, Brenda Vaccaro, Sam Waterson, OJ Simpson, Hal Holbrook

1978, 127 Minutes, Directed by: Peter Hyams


Description: James Brolin, Sam Waterston, and O.J. Simpson star as three astronauts who agree to spare the government embarrassment by faking their historic landing on Mars after their spacecraft is determined to be unsafe for blastoff. When a scheming mission controller (Hal Holbrook) plots to kill the astronauts in a staged capsule fire, the trio embarks on a dangerous mission to expose the truth. Elliott Gould costars as the journalist determined to crack the conspiracy.
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A cash-strapped NASA fakes a manned landing on Mars for general public consumption in order to get more funds. Trouble begins when the spaceship in which the "astronauts" were supposed to have "returned" in burns out in the Earth's atmosphere and the astronauts on it are supposed to be "dead". Suddenly the astronauts are very expendable and this film becomes a chase movie set in the Nevada desert.

How no-one could see that the landings were a fake is a mystery - especially when one of the astronauts' mother talks to him (while he is supposedly on Mars) and there is no visible time lapse in their conversation. In reality there would be a lapse of about twenty minute since that's how long it would take a radio signal from the Earth to reach Mars!

Glaring plot-holes aside, Peter Hyams (who would later on direct Van Damme in Time Cop) knows his stuff and spins an otherwise believable action thriller yarn without any of the over-the-top Die Hard-type heroics that usually destroy credulity. Trivia fans might be interested to know that this film stars the one and only O.J. Simpson!

Trivia fans might also have deducted that Capricorn One was without a doubt "inspired" by conspiracy theories that the moon landings were actually faked by NASA. What is surprising however is that the film was made with the full co-operation of NASA - especially when there are no second guesses as to who the bad guys in the movie are!

 


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