When rockets to the moon get out of the science fiction stag and become actualities, the George Pal Production people will be prepared. In "Destination Moon," they have shipped a squad of four engineers off 24,000 miles into space in order to "claim the moon for the United States and for the benefit of mankind."
Based on a Robert Heinlein novel and filmed in technicolor, "Destination Moon" picks on a theme s unique that the move, almost by definition is highly incredible. This is to be expected, since heading for the moon at a clip of seven miles a second is a sensation no man has yet experienced. But the producers of the picture sometimes carry things to absurd extremes. For instance, when the rocket lights on the moon, the participants must first of all take part in a walky-talky interview via New York, for they are now celebrities.
One would think that the main purpose of a safari to the moon would to take photographs and collect certain scientific specimens and data for the folks back home. But after moseying around the moon for a while, this delegation finds it must dispense with all expendable gear so that it can make the return trip. Thus, cameras and all sorts of equipment are jettisoned right there on the moon and one of the group even considers jettisoning himself to insure the safety of his fellows.
There are no familiar names on the cast and none which are likely to become very familiar either. Most of the actors read their lines as if they were reciting from a script. Nor is the photography unusuall7y spectacular, although some clever camera techniques have been employed to film those scenes which take place in areas where there is little or no gravity.
"Destination Moon" is partially documentary, since a cartoon within the picture itself explains what this rocket business in all about.
About all that can be said for the movie in that it is quite different from the ordinary motion picture in its weirdness, but it does not capitalize on this to create any kind of tense atmosphere. When one of the pioneers drifts off into the stratosphere while clambering around outside the rocket, the tendency is to snicker rather than become alarmed over the fact that he may not come back, because you are quite sure that he will. The remarkable rates of speed which George Pal's vehicle attains do not keep "Destination Moon" from begin a pedestrian movie.