Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.


    No Rating Available

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

In 1969, the United States sent a couple of guys to the moon. And for the next few years, high-powered rocket ships trundled back and forth between here and there, lightening the lunar surface of about 800 pounds worth of rocks.

Then, in 1972, the pilgrimages petered out.

Why, you ask, did NASA shut down the missions?

Are you sitting down? 'Cause this is really shocking.

OK. The reason NASA stopped shooting ships at moon was … budget considerations.

Apollo 18 emphatically disagrees with that notion, crossing out the words budget considerations and inserting hostile aliens.

Maybe director Gonzalo López-Gallego will address the Social Security shortfall in his next movie.

But I'm meandering off point.

The movie claims to be a compilation of secret footage from a secret mission to a sorta-secret spot on the moon. The mission was so secret that they put silencers on the Saturn rocket, told all the hundreds of folks involved that they were just "pretending" and forced everyone along Florida's space coast to turn the other way when it took off. It was so secret that the Feds confiscated countless home telescopes, worrying that casual star gazers might home in on their super-secret work and post the results to TMZ. It was so secret that one can only assume that the special commemorative patches created for the mission—prominently displayed in the film—were promptly incinerated when someone realized that creating commemorative patches to honor a secret mission was a really, really bad idea.

It was so secret that even the astronauts themselves didn't exactly know what their mission was—until they started digging around in all that lunar dirt. Once they did that, they uncovered ….


Really. They dug up rocks. And they hooked up some spy equipment. And they took some pictures. And then they—

Hey, is something moving over there?


Positive Elements

Growing up in the 1970s, every kid wanted to become an astronaut. Those astronauts were considered to be real-life heroes back then, and Apollo 18, thankfully, doesn't dispel that heroic aura. The astronauts here embody personal courage, compassion and self-sacrifice.

It takes a lot of gumption to fly to the moon, given the fact that if something goes wrong up there, there's not much you can do about it. But mission commander Nathan Walker goes above and beyond even that, walking around the lunar surface when he knows full well that alien baddies might be lurking behind any ol' rock. And when he has an encounter of the far-too-close kind and becomes infected with some sort of lunar virus, he tells his astro-companion, Benjamin Anderson, that it'd be best if he just saved himself.

Ben's having none of that, of course, and does what he can to save his friend and commanding officer. And when word comes down (up) from Houston that the United States plans to leave both guys on the moon's surface—thinking that they might bring back whatever's bothering them—John Grey, who's piloting the orbiting capsule, will have none of it. He goes against direct orders, in fact, knowing that following them would be a death sentence for his fellows.

Spiritual Content

Curiously, the Christmas carol "We Three Kings" plays during the credits.

Sexual Content


Violent Content

[Note: Spoilers are contained in this section.]

During their moonish escapades, Nathan and Ben stumble upon the corpse of a Soviet Union cosmonaut, who was also apparently sent up in secret. (I'm sure a lunar lander from Lichtenstein was just out of sight over the horizon.) The guy didn't look like he had much fun his last few hours: His face is horribly disfigured, and when Nathan and Ben visit his lander, they see that the place is spattered with blood.

At first, our astronauts think that's the big secret the government's been keeping from them. But it turns out that it's the moon's rocks that are the real deal. You see, they're alive, and Nathan somehow gets one in his suit—where it turns into a crab-spider-like thing and burrows into his body. We see the large wound it makes in his side while he feels it inside him and then gorily removes it with a pair of forceps. Ben tries to examine the moon-walking rock, but Nathan smashes it into smithereens with a hammer. I guess you could call that "first contact."

Alas, removing the rock doesn't do much good for Nathan. Bits of the alien get into his bloodstream, causing nasty splotching on his skin and making his eyes bloodshot. They also make him moody, so he takes out his frustration on the cameras located in the lunar module—leading to a big fight with Ben. And then to another violent conflict while they're trying to escape. Ultimately, Nathan, screaming all the while, is claimed and captured by the lunar residents.

He comes back—just as Ben's about to push the Soviet lander's ignition button. Nathan tries to bash his way inside with his hammer; and Ben sees creatures swarming around his friend's face inside his helmet … shortly before Nathan's head explodes.

Blood drips. Spaceships crash.

Crude or Profane Language

One f-word and four or five s-words. A smattering of other terrestrial crudities include "b‑‑tard," "d‑‑n," "h‑‑‑," "d‑‑k" and "pr‑‑k." Jesus' name is misused nearly 10 times, and God's is abused about a dozen—most of the time paired with the "d‑‑n."

Drug and Alcohol Content

An astronaut mentions that he had a few beers at a cookout. "Maybe more than a few," he says.

Other Negative Elements

Nathan talks about pepper juice burning his nether region.


In real life, our National Aeronautics and Space Administration has seen better days. Its shuttle program has wrapped, its budget has been cut and interest in its programs—that so captivated America in the '60s and '70s—is dwindling. To prop up public enthusiasm for space exploration, then, NASA is partnering with almost every movie that knocks at its door, up to and including Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

But after some initial discussion and aid, NASA backed quickly away from Apollo 18. "The science was just so off the wall that eventually we felt, 'You guys go ahead and make your movie,'" said Bert Ulrich, NASA's liaison for multimedia, film and television collaborations.

Did I mention that the agency willingly worked with the makers of Transformers?

I think that's an important point to remember here.

Apollo 18 is a strange, silly bit of cinema that peppers us with violence and serious profanity while offering just three small moon pebbles as compensation: 1) Astronauts are brave. 2) Never trust the Department of Defense. 3) Always check your space suit for rocks.

Beyond that, there's not much to recommend this mission. To anyone. For anything. This is one trip to the moon that should've stayed secret.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!