Richard Linklater’s rotoscoped animation, set in 1969, is a low-key but “evocative” childhood story loosely inspired by the writer-director’s own, John Nugent said in rich. It is narrated by Jack Black as the adult version of the protagonist Stanley (Milo Coy), a dreamer living in suburban Houston whose father has an administrative job at Nasa. Like everyone else, Stanley is obsessed with what is to come Apollo 11 moon mission, but in his account of this year there was another secret moon landing days before that, a test run for which Nasa agents recruited him as an astronaut. The reason: They “built the lunar module a little too small”, so that only a child could fit in it. The rotoscope technique traces live-action footage, resulting in a “strange, hyper-real aesthetic” that goes well with the film’s blending of reality and fantasy.
Using “shrewd judgment in storytelling,” Linklater makes Stanley’s “lucid dreaming” only a small part of what is otherwise an “overwhelmingly real” but more or less plotless account of a 1960s childhood, said Peter Bradshaw in The guard. His memories of the time are “curated with passionate connoisseurship” – “the ice cream flavors, the TV shows, the drive-in movies, the schoolyard games, the parents, the eccentric grandparents, the amusement park rides, the neighbors, the prank calls.”
Linklater has made a number of “gloomy” films since then childhoodhis “masterpiece” of 2014, Kevin Maher said in The timesbut Apollo 10½ is a triumphant return to form. Rich in observational detail and saturated with “loving” references to the music, films, and television of the era, “as an American memoir, it feels as significant as Little house on the prairie“.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/arts-life/culture/film/956362/film-review-apollo-10-a-space-age-childhood Apollo 10½ film review: dreamy memories of a space-mad childhood in the 1960s