SXSW FILM 2010
By Dirk Sonniksen | March 16, 2010
Director: Mike Woolf
Featuring: Richard Garriott, Owen Garriott, Michael Fincke
Man on a Mission follows Richard Garriott, an Austinite who made millions by being at the forefront of the gaming industry and through a succession of very lucrative investments. Garriott, known for spending his money on adventure, has always had a dream of traveling in space, following in the footsteps of his father, NASA astronaut Owen Garriott. While NASA was less than eager to see Richard’s dream realized, the Russians were slightly more intrigued, as long as Garriott was able to put up the money for research and training, something he was more than willing to do. After months of training and planning, Garriott’s dream of traveling into space became a reality.
Man on a Mission will be an exhilarating documentary for anyone interested in space travel, and probably even for those who aren’t. Garriott’s journey is quite interesting and unique, beginning with his days as a young man when he came up with some of his first computer games, to his financial success investing in various companies, some of which are pioneering the idea of space tourism. If Garriott’s life had not been as interesting as it was, this documentary could have suffered, but what we end up with is a really well put together autobiographical snapshot of Garriott, and a captivating view of the Russian space program, from their intense training to the rituals they exact on Garriott before his liftoff into space.
This is a documentary that will ultimately appeal to a very wide audience. Man on a Mission should garner a fair amount of press in part due to the amazing footage of Earth Garriott captured while on his journey. Being a fan of space travel, I can’t recall seeing another documentary that so effectively captures the thrill of space travel. If you have children, I urge you to take them to see this little beauty, as it provides some of the most well-documented material on what astronauts go through during training and while in space, as well as the aforementioned footage. If you’re an adult, Garriott’s financial success story and taste for adventure should inspire you, and will hopefully encourage any naysayers in the United States that space travel is not a waste of tax-payer money, but a necessity that serves many purposes and can help to bolster the pride of a nation.