By Sam Rubinoit, 15, Malibu HS
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After the recent discovery of water on the surface of Mars and the speculation of life abroad, space is in the headlines. Space has made its way into movie theaters as well. Fly Me to the Moon, a new animated film, is the story of three flies that hitch a ride aboard the Apollo 11 mission to the moon and must save the mission from disaster.

The film is making waves as the first movie shot in 3-D for 3-D, meaning that rather than being shot in 2-D and later converted into 3-D, it was shot entirely in 3-D. The effects made me feel like I was right there alongside the flies, entering space with the astronauts, and it was fun to see the younger kids in the audience reach out to try and catch the bugs zooming toward their heads. The movie had an amazing cast and great effects, but the storyline was for younger kids and didn’t hold my attention.

Backing up the effects is a cast including Nicolette Sheridan (Desperate Housewives), Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future), Tim Curry (Rocky Horror Picture Show, Scary Movie 2), Kelly Ripa (Live with Regis and Kelly), and Buzz Aldrin, former astronaut and the second man to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969.

I had the opportunity to attend the Los Angeles premiere of the movie, and despite the slew of actors walking around, one name stood out the most. “When I saw Buzz Aldrin, I was freaking out, and I was really excited,” said David Gore, who plays Scooter, one of the three flies. “When I saw someone who actually went to the moon … it was unbelievable.”

According to his own website, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin is the son of an Air Force Colonel. After graduating third in his class from West Point, Aldrin joined the Air Force during the Korean War as a jet fighter pilot. After flying 66 combat missions, Aldrin attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but returned to the Air Force, where he was selected in 1963 to be part of the third group of NASA astronauts.

But it was not all glory for Aldrin. Returning home after the Apollo 11 mission, he was thrust into the spotlight and became an instant celebrity. Finding his fame a burden too difficult to shoulder, he suffered from bouts of alcoholism and clinical depression and retired from NASA in 1972. Despite the problems, Aldrin has had quite an amazing entertainment career. He has given his voice to his cartoon character on the Simpsons, had the Buzz Lightyear toy named after him, and appeared in numerous films and television shows, earning himself a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Speaking of Aldrin, Sheridan observed, “Every kid dreams about going to the moon, I think, and most adults do too.”  Yet, almost 40 years later, Aldrin is one of only 12 people to ever walk on the moon’s surface. I dreamed of going to the moon when I was younger, and I remember sitting in an assembly during school, watching a video of the Apollo 11 mission take off and wondering what it would be like to be inside the shuttle.

Buzz Aldrin at the premiere of Fly Me to the Moon.

Photo by Seth Rubinroit, 17, Malibu HS

I had the opportunity to interview Aldrin and discuss his role in the movie and his experiences on the moon at the Los Angeles premiere of the film.        

How did your life change after walking on the moon?
Not so much by the flight itself; I think people had gone there before, we understood what was going to happen, and it didn’t really have that big of an impact. But then becoming a celebrity, and having free time with something that was a little difficult for me to manage, and I had to deal with some personal problems and putting my life back together.

It has been reported that you saw a UFO aboard Apollo 11. What do you believe it was?
It was one of the four panels that had separated from the rocket as we turned around and docked with the lunar module [the vehicle that transported the astronauts from the space shuttle to the surface of the moon]. It was not a UFO, it was not an alien, it was not Russian, and it was not some secret thing of ours. People want to jump at bizarre conclusions, and I feel sorry for people who get caught up in supporting people who are only looking for attention. They want to predict disaster, or predict something very bizarre like a conspiracy cover-up, but those things just aren’t happening.

Do you think there is life on other planets outside of Earth?
I think there most likely is. I have no firm belief; they don’t have the evidence. We might be getting some kind of basic indication of the inhabitability of the surface of Mars, or life that existed in the past, or maybe small remnants of it today.

How important is it to get the younger generations interested in space exploration and the Apollo missions?
I’m glad that other people decided to mix the wonderful technology of three dimensional high-definition animation in a marvelous way and then to be able to meld together historical events without deviating or trying to change the beautiful family type relationship [of the flies in the movie].