Egad, it’s even worse than I remembered. They get this rocket fueled and our heroes briefed in maybe a couple of hours. There’s no sense of time at all. Director Michael Ferguson brings a lot of visual flair to this story, but he can’t salvage this for adult viewers. I can more easily believe a machine traveling in time and space than this rocket getting launched so quickly. That’s doubly true since they spent almost as much screen time on two old men yelling back and forth about whether it can be done. The lying old coot who built the rocket could have just said “It’s actually been completely ready for months. I run a four-hour diagnostic systems check every day. We just need to program the navigation. Let’s get this show on the road!”
But then again, I’m not the target audience. This went over extremely well with our son, who was literally hopping with excitement during the countdown. And he lives in a world without any real media attention paid to rockets. Imagine the kids of 1969, when Apollo launches were television events, watching this. We’ve seen glimpses of this past when we watch the original Thunderbirds, and see how in that show’s 2066, worldwide TV audiences tuned in for hours in the buildup to Sun Probe or Zero-X taking off. At this point, the Ice Warriors are secondary to the story. This is about a rocket to the moon, four months before we landed there.
The thrilling launch was bookended by two scenes of real suspense and terror as an Ice Warrior searches the moonbase for a technician who is hiding in a storeroom building weapons and a radio to call Earth. This had his teeth on edge and a blanket held high for safety. It’s not that he was necessarily concerned for that guy’s welfare; it’s just that he knows how mean Ice Warriors are.