SPACE TOURISTS – Sundance Documentary Review
SPACE TOURISTS is a documentary from director Christian Frei that delves into the very recent phenomenon of wealthy people paying million of dollars to go in space as part of the Russian space program. The doc looks at this story from three major angles.
The first angle follows the story of Anousheh Ansari, the first woman to pay millions of dollars to go into space. Her story is one of a passion that is fulfilled, and we get to see her make it to the space station.
The second angle follows Charles Simonyi, the chief architect of Microsoft Office who is going through a rigorous training to also go into space. This is an interesting look into the arduous preparation that even millionaires have yo go through to make it in the stars.
The final angle focuses on the environmental impact of these privately funded space flights on the communities surrounding it. We get to see how shuttle debris has impacted the surrounding environment and even sparked a recycling industry of shuttle parts. There are other minor subplots that also include efforts from private citizens to conquer space travel as well but that’s not as interesting.
Although Space Tourists won The World Cinema Directing Award for a documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, it was not the most compelling documentary at the festival. Instead of just focusing on the Ansari storyline, which was the most interesting part of the documentary, the director decided to layer in additional storylines in an apparent effort to be as comprehensive as possible. This resulted in a somewhat diluted film that is boring at times.
I would not recommend you watch this at a movie theater but I think it’s TiVo worthy if it gets picked up by a cable network.
In the meantime, you can watch the trailer for Space Tourists below.