Some movies fall by the wayside both at the time of release and through the years as time goes by and that does not necessarily mean that said films are bad by any means, merely overshadowed. The same year in which this film saw distribution saw The Time Machine, Village of the Damned and The Lost World among others being released, so it is no wonder that 12 to the Moon, a movie with a much smaller budget and B-list stars could not compete, but it is a picture that is just as interesting and just as entertaining as any one of those previously mentioned.
As evidenced by the title of the film, the story is indeed about a trip to the moon by a group of twelve astronauts, each one from different countries of the Earth. They have come together in the spirit of cooperation so that they might land on the moon together, instead of it being a battle between nations. A good idea in theory and in this film, it works. While on the celestial body, they discover a hidden civilization beneath the surface, are given an ultimatum, head back to Earth to find North America somehow frozen and undertake a suicide mission to thaw it out by letting off a bomb inside a volcano.
A lot of this film is slightly ridiculous, but the writers, the actors and director David Bradley take the material seriously and as such, it never really seems all that silly. What it ends up being is a completely engrossing piece of cinema, one that most will hardly be able to tear their eyes from. The special effects are not that bad and are few and far between, thus making it easier for the viewer to believe in what is happening than if it had been packed with subpar creatures or what have you. The best part of it all is the cast which includes Tom Conway, Ken Clark, Robert Montgomery Jr. and Michi Kobi among others. While some might say the movie is all about the trip to the moon, the faceless aliens and the mission to save the Earth, it is in fact more about the relationships between the crew than anything else. In fact, it was much like Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek long before Star Trek even existed – a film that focused upon its crew and what made them tick. There was enough drama to spare and it was balanced perfectly with the more outlandish elements that permeated the movie.
Overall, the film is set further into the realm of science-fiction than most would have thought in the year it was released, for even now, fifty years later, cooperation between the nations of the Earth are still not as congenial as they should be, the movie more of a fantasy than an honest look forward. Be that as it may, there is some good action present, a little betrayal, quite a bit of suspense and a happy ending which makes 12 to the Moon a package well worth seeking out for those that enjoy good science-fiction.
4 out of 5