Man on a Mission


Man on a Mission
Directed by Mike Woolf
First Run Features
Opens January 13

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The man in the title is British-American multimillionaire Richard Garriott, who made his pile designing PC "virtual world" role-playing games, most famously the best-selling Ultima series. Garriott has since used his money to create his own virtual world, dressing in Renaissance festival duds, taking the alter-ego "Lord British," and constructing an eccentric mansion, "Brittania Manor," in Austin. The mission of the title is Garriott's most elaborate flight of fancy, a commercial trip on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in 2008, a 10-day voyage that included a visit to the International Space Station. This undertaking came with a $30M price tag and required a year of training, extensively documented here. The one possible point of interest in this, Garriott's vanity travelogue, is the footage that he brings back from his stellar cruise, but it's certain that enthusiasts of space travel will have seen finer, more professional versions of these images elsewhere. It is difficult, in fact, to discern who the intended audience is for Man on a Mission, save aspirant cosmonauts with a fortune to burn up in the atmosphere or perhaps the Garriott family. It should be mentioned that Garriott's father, Owen, was himself a Skylab astronaut, a fact of which much is made—but that only more obviously shows Man on a Mission for what it is: a puffed-up home movie.

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Heath Newburn
Heath Newburn

I apparently was the audience for man on a mission. Took my 11 year old son to see it and he was enamored with it as well. Here's a truly self-made man. A geek who had been around astronauts all his life, wanted to be one desperately but couldn't because of his eyesight. He starts his own company, makes a fortune, loses most of it in the tech bubble, keeps working and literally creates a path to space for himself. He then spends most of his fortune and puts aside a year of his life to follow his ultimate dream. I cannot envision a more American story than creating a way for the Russians to sell you a seat into space! It's a story of courage, conviction and capitalism at it's best. Richard has forged a path to allow our grandchildren to go into space. It's also a story of a bond between a father and son. Their reunion on Richard's return had me near tears. So who is the audience? Anyone who has ever looked at the moon or the stars, who has looked at something they perceive as unattainable and want it badly, any father who wants his son or daughter to see the potential in themselves - that's the audience.


Man on a Mission is absolutely an extraordinary story and journey captured on film. Richard was very articulate, and specific from his space traveling preparation to the experience in space and his thoughts of it afterwards. The film is inspiring,informative, and full on full hearted humor. The film was educationalbut never dry. I have also enjoyed the amazing story about twogenerations that share the same interests and pride in pursuing theirdreams and goals. Richard's determination and persistence captured myimagination.

Overall, this is an amazing film that motivate you(pump you up), and you can also watch with your children. It's educational, inspiring, and heartwarming.

I will watch it again on the second screening and it will be amazing to meet Richard in person.


Clearly this reviewer does not have kids - and most likely skipped science class. The intended audience for this film is every high school kid in America. This is a story about a “geek” who stayed up late in front of his Apple ii computer and basically helped create online gaming. With the fortune he made he pursued his next dream to follow his father to space. In doing so he showed that you can accomplish anything if you keep working towards your goals. I can’t wait to share this film with my son and daughter and hope everyone else does the same.


I agree with this take more than the actual review.

There's little doubt that the story is worth documenting, for both scientific and historical reasons. I feel like the filmmakers walked that fine line between journalism and puff piece quite well.


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