I am not a fan of found-footage films because I can never be convinced they really are found-footage and therefore can’t suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy the poor camera work, etc. Nevertheless, I was intrigued by the description of Operation Avalanche as a found-footage film (supposedly filmed in 1969) that combines a conspiracy thriller with a dark comedy/satire. While the found-footage concept holds no interest for me, the skillful and often very funny attempt to create a found-footage film about a faked landing on the moon make Operation Avalanche an entertaining film to watch.
Matt Johnson (who also directed and co-wrote Operation Avalanche) and Owen Williams play themselves as supposed CIA agents in the 1960’s who infiltrate NASA to find a Soviet mole only to discover that NASA isn’t capable of beating the Soviet Union to the moon. Their solution: let’s fake it. On the way, they uncover other government secrets their CIA boss would not want released and soon their lives are in danger.
While often too silly (and sometimes poorly structured), this Canadian film offers lots of biting satire, with intriguing, and occasionally even convincing, scenes and ideas (often smarter than Capricorn One, a 1977 film about the same subject). I especially appreciated the frequent references to Stanley Kubrick (especially to Dr. Strangelove and 2001), who, according to the makers of the 2012 documentary Room 237, provided clues in his film The Shining to convey his own involvement in filming a faked moon landing. Lots of fun. Operation Avalanche gets a solid ***. My mug is up.