With its uplifting tale of tenacity and endurance, the new space documentary "Good Night Oppy" arrives in movie theaters today, Nov. 4, for a limited run prior to a universal streaming release on Prime Video later this month.
Directed by Ryan White ("Ask Dr. Ruth," "The Keepers") and produced by Peter Berg's Film 45 and Amblin Television, "Good Night Oppy" is the unbelievable space saga of Opportunity, NASA's indefatigable little rover dropped onto the Red Planet's surface back in 2004 for what was planned to be a 90-day mission, but against all odds lasted for nearly 15 years. This poignant film depicting the emotional bond created between stoic scientists and a finely-tuned aerospace robotic vehicle holds vital messages about technology and humankind that we can certainly all relate to.
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission launched twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, back in 2003 to study the Red Planet's atmosphere and geology. Spirit sadly conked out six years later but "Oppy" remained operational for another nine years providing a wealth of data to Earthbound engineers.
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Narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Angela Bassett, and showcasing the expertise and dedication of Steve Squyres, JPL's principal investigator for the MER mission, "Good Night Oppy" presents a compelling fusion of archival NASA footage, fresh interviews with the major MER team players, and sweeping CGI recreations from those talented SFX wizards at Industrial Light & Magic.
Space.com spoke with director Ryan White last month about the film's hopeful themes and how the best viewing experience for "Good Night Oppy" is to join fellow film enthusiasts in a large darkened room.
"It's incredible to get to see the movie in the theater," White told Space.com. "We built this for the big screen and that's why we worked with Industrial Light & Magic, so I hope people will go see it when it comes out in theaters in early November.
"I became a filmmaker because I grew up going to my local movie theater all weekend long and I love the group theatrical experience. The part that's been quite gratifying is the humor in it. When you're in an audience of hundreds of people and you hear a collective laugh, it's really rewarding."
"Good Night Oppy" wheels into movie theaters nationwide beginning on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, and will stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video starting Nov. 23.
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Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.