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‘Good Night Oppy’ Review: Doc on Mars Rovers Gets Lost in Emotional Terrain

‘Good Night Oppy’ Review: Doc on Mars Rovers Gets Lost in Emotional Terrain

This review originally ran September 12, 2022, in conjunction with the film’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

It’s hard to articulate, let alone recreate, the feelings of camaraderie and wonderment that spontaneously arise from the participants of any discovery, formal or otherwise. The makers of “Good Night Oppy” try anyway in this new documentary about Spirit and Opportunity, two robotic Mars space rovers that outpaced everybody’s expectations.

Writer-director Ryan White uses a mix of talking-head interviews, expository voiceover narration (provided by Angela Bassett), and computer-animated reenactments (produced by Industrial Light and Magic) to relate some of the unexpected successes and challenges met by the NASA team members when they oversaw Spirit and Opportunity’s surprisingly long trip to Mars.

Unfortunately, White’s presentation — making its premiere at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals — fails to make the most of his primary pieces of dramatic evidence, making

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