Stirring salute to human ingenuity
Frankly, a documentary like Emer Reynolds’ “The Farthest” is exactly what the world needs right now. A look back at NASA’s two Voyager probes — launched in 1977 yet still flying through deep space — the film is a stirring salute to human ingenuity.
Reynolds takes a thorough and direct approach to the Voyager story, weaving together insightful and unexpectedly poetic interviews with several of the people who worked on the project, illustrated with a mix of archival footage and artfully shot re-creations.
At just over two hours, “The Farthest” could’ve used more context, getting more into the history and future of space exploration, and there’s a surprising lack of explanation of the astrophysics. But it seems ungenerous to complain about what’s missing when “The Farthest” contains such a wealth of fascinating detail about Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 — from the amazing pictures the probes have sent back over the years to the planning and work that went into the “golden records” of human civilization that were stowed on the crafts.
Mostly, Reynolds deserves credit for embracing the awe that the Voyager scientists still feel toward what they accomplished. Using mid-’70s technology, they built machines that explored the Milky Way and beyond. It’s astonishing, what we can do.
“The Farthest.” Not rated. Running time: 2 hours, 1 minute. Playing: Laemmle Playhouse, Pasadena.